Two Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) rangers who went missing over a week ago have been found dead in Lake Kariba, an official said on Tuesday.
Officials said the rangers, who are yet to be identified, went missing after an encounter with four suspected poachers believed to be from Zambia while patrolling the lake.
Preliminary investigations show that the rangers arrested the poachers, but were later overpowered as they transported them to Kariba town.
The matter only came to light when the rangers’ patrol boat was found floating on the shores of Lake Kariba on the Zambian side with its engine removed.
Zimparks spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo told New Ziana the rangers’ bodies were found floating in Lake Kariba after days of searching by joint police and parks teams from Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“It is with sadness that (we announce) our two missing rangers have been found dead in Lake Kariba,” he said.
“The two rangers are indeed conservation heroes. Zimparks family and conservation partners are in deep mourning.”
The bodies will be flown to Harare for post-mortems.
Cases of clashes between rangers and poachers in protected conservation areas have been on the rise in recent years.