$26k boost for anti-poach­ing ac­tiv­i­ties

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Leonard Ncube in Vic­to­ria Falls

HO­TEL and tour op­er­a­tor-Africa Al­bida Tourism (AAT) has raised $26 000 for use in anti-poach­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in Vic­to­ria Falls.

The ini­tia­tive is aimed at wildlife con­ser­va­tion in the coun­try’s prime re­sort town to pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble by pro­tect­ing wildlife to con­tinue lur­ing tourists.

Vic­to­ria Falls is sit­u­ated within Zam­bezi Na­tional Park, while Cham­abondo Na­tional Park, Fuller For­est, Ng­amo Forests and others are prime wildlife ar­eas that gen­er­ate con­sid­er­able rev­enue through game drives.

The money was raised through a golf tour­na­ment or­gan­ised by AAT in Harare re­cently and has been handed over to Vic­to­ria Falls Anti-Poach­ing Unit (VFAPU).

AAT chief ex­ec­u­tive Mr Ross Kennedy said all the $26 300 raised from the golf tour­na­ment will go to­wards anti-poach­ing.

“Once again the spirit and com­mit­ment of Zim­bab­weans was on show when a sum of $26 300 was raised. We’re over­whelmed by this show of care in this chal­leng­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment with so many de­mands on busi­ness and com­mu­nity as well as con­cern and shared com­mit­ment to anti-poach­ing and con­ser­va­tion,” Mr Kennedy said.

He said be­sides cash, 17 two-plate gas stoves and cylin­ders and en­gine oil were also do­nated to VFAPU for use by rangers while on pa­trol.

VFAPU works in part­ner­ship with Zim­babwe Parks and Wildlife Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity and po­lice in fight­ing poach­ing.

VFAPU head of op­er­a­tions Mr Charles Bright­man said the funds will be chan­neled to­wards op­er­a­tional costs.

“I would like to thank every­one in­volved. It is tremen­dous to see so much sup­port for such an im­por­tant cause. The funds will go to­wards the op­er­a­tional costs of the unit where $7 500 is needed per month for salaries, fuel and ve­hi­cle main­te­nance,” he said.

VFAPU has 17 scouts who pa­trol game parks around the re­sort town to quell poach­ing.

The unit ar­rested nearly 700 poach­ers since its es­tab­lish­ment in 1999.

It has re­moved more than 22 000 wire snares and res­cued 183 in­jured mam­mals from snares, some of which have been re­ha­bil­i­tated and sent back into the jun­gle while some are tourist at­trac­tions in cap­tive cages.

The do­na­tion comes at a time when ef­forts are be­ing made to fight ram­pant poach­ing of ele­phants, li­ons, vul­tures, hip­pos and others. — @ncubeleon

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