THE United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has provided over $300 000 this year for elephant and rhinoceros conservation in Zimbabwe.
This means that the agency has donated $1,25 million since 2002.
This year’s contributions were matched with funds from other donors and non-governmental organisations for a total of over $750 000 for conservation activities in Zimbabwe.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton said his country was proud to assist Zimbabwe’s wildlife protection programmes.
“Zimbabwe’s wildlife resources are irreplaceable, and if managed sustainably, can provide a long-term source of tourism revenues, jobs and economic opportunities throughout the country,” he said.
In accordance with the US African Elephant Conservation Act of 1989 and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994, these funds were awarded to support anti-poaching activities in Gonarezhou National Park, home to one of Zimbabwe’s largest elephant populations, as well as to support monitoring and management of rhinoceros populations in the lowveld region and Matopos National Park.
These projects are complemented by USFWS programmes throughout Africa supporting law enforcement activities in all elephant and rhinoceros range states, as well as demand reduction efforts targeting elephant and rhinoceros products in consumer countries.
With only $1,4 million available for all 37 elephant range states and $700 000 for all rhinoceros in Africa, the USFWS prioritises funding in places that are both biologically important and under threat.
Zimbabwe has significant populations of elephants and rhinoceros, both of which are under unprecedented threat from poaching throughout Africa.
In Zimbabwe, rhinoceros and elephant populations are under threat from poaching. Last year, at least 105 elephants, along with other wildlife species, were killed in Hwange National Park by poachers using cyanide.
Wildlife trafficking is one of the most profitable types of transnational crimes, with annual revenues estimated to be as much as $10 billion.
Meanwhile Zimbabwe will today join the rest of the world in celebrating World Rhino Day.