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Zimbabwe sentences foreign ivory poacher to 10 years in jail

HARARE, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A Zimbabwe court has sentenced a Zambian poacher to 10 years in jail for illegal possession of raw ivory.

Walbita Lindunda, 38, was arrested by Zimbabwean authorities in March last year after being found with 94 kg of raw ivory worth 14, 100 U.S. dollars.

Hwange Provincial Magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa this week convicted Lundinda and sentenced him to 10 years in prison for illegal possession of ivory and three months for illegal entry into the country, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Thursday.

Zimbabwe has one of Africa's prime elephant sanctuaries, home to about 100,000 elephants. But in recent years, lack of conservation funds and resources led to a surge of ivory poaching, most of which involved collusion of local and foreign perpetrators.

Hwange National Park, located in the western part of the country, is hit hardest by poaching.

In 2013, poachers killed more than 100 elephants in the park and countless other animals by cyanide poisoning. Despite the arrest of several local perpetrators found dosing the water pans with poison, the alleged foreign master-head who engineered the large-scale crime remains at large.

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