Government has received a major boost in efforts to curb poaching, with a South African company yesterday donating modern drones worth more than $150 000. The drones, donated by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Drone Solutions (UDS) (Pvt) Ltd, would be used for surveillance in the country’s national parks.Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the forging of partnerships with private companies emanated from the need to protect the country’s vast resources.
“I am excited that Zimbabwe is taking the right step in piloting the use of drones to protect her natural resources,” she said.
“The dream to integrate drone systems in our law enforcement strategies has been made possible through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between my ministry and UDS Private Limited.”
She said wildlife resources were a national heritage that needs to be guarded jealously.
“Success in their upkeep depends on contributions from other players and that these new technologies do not work in isolation hence we appealed for the involvement from other stakeholders in supporting teams or starting similar projects,” Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
“The country cannot afford to lose valuable wildlife since it is the basis and cornerstone upon which tourism is anchored. As a country, we cannot afford to continue losing our valuable wildlife as it is our heritage, and is the basis and cornerstone upon which tourism is anchored.”
She added: “We would have failed as a ministry to contribute to the economic blueprint (Zim-Asset) if we do not arrest the poaching menace. My ministry has taken a zero tolerance approach to poaching and therefore is aiming at eradicating wildlife crime in key wildlife areas.”
The South African company is expected to transfer knowledge and skills to locals.
The country has of late been losing a lot of revenue from poaching syndicates. The syndicates now use sophisticated methods such as chemical tranquillisers, deadly poisons, firearms with silencers, air transport, night equipment and mobile communication system.
Last year, the country lost about 317 elephants with most of them succumbing to cyanide poisoning.