Patrick Chitumba Victoria Falls Reporter
THE newly established Board of Trustees for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) is looking at raising $10 million between now and April next year to fund programmes to fight poaching at Hwange National Park.
In a telephone interview on Monday, the acting chairperson of the ZPWMA Board of Trustees, Mr Major Mahlangu said in response to the ecological disaster at Hwange National Park where more than 100 elephants and other species succumbed to poacher-induced cyanide poisoning, the Board of Trustees was embarking on a fundraising campaign to raise money to fight poaching.
He said already lined up was a fund-raising dinner in Harare next week.
“The Board of Trustees has established a Wildlife Ecological Trust aimed at raising funds for the protection and conservation of the wildlife at Hwange National Park. In this light, we are going to have a fund-raising dinner on 13 November in Harare. We call upon members of the public and the corporate society to support this noble initiative aimed at fund-raising money to protect our wildlife,” he said.
Mr Mahlangu said well-wishers could donate in cash or kind to the cause.
Mr Mahlangu said they had opened a bank account for well-wishers to deposit money.
The ecological disaster at Hwange National Park has been blamed on the West’s illegal economic sanctions that affected Zimbabwe’s once-vibrant wildlife management system.
Hwange National Park — Africa’s third largest wildlife sanctuary after Kenya’s Serengeti and South Africa’s Kruger national parks — covers roughly 14 650 square kilometres, roughly the size of Switzerland and therefore demands vast resources to effectively police and manage it. At present it is manned by 50 rangers against a requirement of 500.
Prior to the imposition of the West’s illegal economic sanctions, the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had an effective management underpinned by an elaborate National Conservation Strategy introduced by Government in the mid-1980s.
The latest survey conducted by Parks in conjunction with the World Bank, found that the authority needed at least $40 million to get back on track.
The world standard space for each elephant is one beast per square kilometre yet in Hwange National Park alone there are 45 000 elephants against a holding capacity of 14 600.