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Harare, Zimbabwe -
A consortium of wildlife ranchers says a new wave of land takeovers and hunting licenses granted to loyalists of President Robert Mugabe is threatening a massive wildlife preserve in southeastern Zimbabwe.
The Save Valley Conservancy group said Friday the takeovers, labeled as black empowerment, benefitted “a few greedy individuals who care only for what they can take for themselves” and have no interest in protecting an array of endangered wildlife - including the rhinoceros.
The conservancy of about 1 000 square miles (2,600 square kilometers) is unsuitable for anything but wildlife tourism, the group said.
It said two thirds of its small-scale operators are already black Zimbabweans, but concessions given to 25 “connected political individuals,” including a local governor and a Mugabe Cabinet minister, are set to destabilize the region's ecosystem. - Sapa-AP