Africa Albida Tourism has intensified the battle stop poaching in Zimbabwe.
Poaching has emerged as the greatest threat to Zimbabwe’s tourism industry, which is battling to recover from a slide that shook the markets at the height of political and economic turmoil between 2000 and 2008.
The decimation of wildlife for their trophies and tusks has been worsened by the emergence of sophisticated methods of killing rhinos, elephants, lions and other endangered species.
Hundreds of poachers roaming the southern African wildlife estates are now using modern equipment that game rangers are yet to acquire.
So far, 26 elephants have been poisoned by cyanide in Zimbabwe; this was two years after poachers went on a rampage, killing over 300 jumbos in a frenzy of senseless destruction in the giant Hwange National Park.
Reports said three elephants were recently killed in Matusadona National Park, while 11 more were discovered by rangers rotting in Hwange, the epicentre of the war for ivory that both authorities and the private sector have failed to crush.
This is the war that Albida, the operators of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, entered 15 years ago, drumming up support for resources to take poachers head on and save the tourism industry in which it plays a significant part.
Albida group chairman, Dave Glynn, said: “The Zimbabwean community never ceases to amaze me. The generosity and the level of support was outstanding on the day. There was a huge number of sponsors, 33 teams and a large amount of money was raised for an exceptionally important cause”.
The US$30 000 to fight this kind of poaching was raised at a golf tournament in Harare recently.
“It is an excellent event to support as every cent raised goes straight to VFAPU,” he said.
A total of 132 players, making up 33 teams, teed off for charity at the 15th annual fundraising golf day on October 2 at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club, before a prize giving function and auction.
Statistics released by Albida indicated that the VFAPU, collaborating with the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has removed more than 22 000 wire snares from its operational area.
VFAPU has arrested nearly 700 poachers since it was established in 1999.
“In addition, 179 mammals, including buffalo, kudu, eland and impala, injured by snares have been treated and released back into the wild. The unit is also supported by other tourism operators and members of the Victoria Falls community,” the statement said.
VFAPU, which was established in an effort to fight the alarming levels of poaching, operates in a 50 square kilometre radius around Victoria Falls with 17 scouts patrolling around the close to protect wildlife.