The president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe (SOAZ), Mr Emmanuel Fundira, has been appointed a member of the world taskforce of the Advisory Council of Wildlife Trafficking (ACWT).
Mr Fundira was appointed at the ACWT meeting held in London on November 14 and 15 along with seven others representing different organisations.
The council’s term starts on January 1 and will end in December 2019.
The ACWT is charged with giving technical expertise to a host of member states and organisations across the world on issues of capacity building, reducing and curbing the illegal movement of wildlife.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Fundira said his appointment was a show of great confidence by the rest of the world on Zimbabwe’s conservation methods, where the illegal movement of wildlife was concerned.
He said pangolins and ivory were the most trafficked animals and animal products across the world, though the latter remained Zimbabwe and Africa’s biggest headache.
“It is a great honour to be accorded such an opportunity. This is recognition of the amount of work we are doing as Zimbabwe in terms of wildlife conservation.
“The opportunity comes with great leverage because the ACWT is well funded and that it very important for us as Africa. You will note that lack of resources is one of the stumbling blocks in our quest to combat illegal trafficking,” he said.
Mr Fundira said most member States viewed illegal trafficking of wildlife and other precious resources as a breeding ground for nefarious activities such as terrorism.
He added that Africa had become home to many traffickers due to poverty in some countries where people were enticed into engaging in criminal vices.
“The ACWT has a number of affiliates who take issue of wildlife conservation and capacity building for members seriously. We believe that as Zimbabwe, we can learn a lot from sharing notes and reducing trafficking in southern Africa and the rest of the continent.
“We are looking forward to increasing adequate coverage in all the grey areas for Africa,” said Mr Fundira.
Other members of the ACWT are; Judith Mchale (president, Canes Investments), David Hayes (Stanford Law School), David Barron (chairperson International Conservation Caucus Foundation), Cristain Samper (president, Wildlife Conservation Society), Patrick Bergin (CEO, African Wildlife Foundation), Carter Roberts (president and CEO, World Wildlife Fund) and John Webb (independent).