Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park is one of Southern Africa’s most remote and idyllic wildlife destinations. It is an acclaimed UNISCO world heritage site. Being so remote and secluded on the borders of two countries makes it an attractive target for wildlife poaching. The Covid 19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of poor communities and individuals who rely on tourism as a source of income to feed their families. This has a knock-on effect on wildlife as animal poaching is steadily increasing. We are seeing more wildlife shootings in our parks for meat supplies as the community is actively poaching animals in a desperate attempt to feed their families.
This spike in poaching activity in the area is having a devastating impact on our wildlife population and ecosystem.
As part of our ongoing commitment to tackling wildlife poaching in our parks, we will be launching an anti-poaching unit in the area that will actively patrol the park and implement prevention measures that will help us bring an end to animal poaching. The scope of work for this unit is regular patrols, ensuring that no wildlife is hunted or killed for consumption or sale, and implementing the necessary arrests and fines. This unit will also collaborate with the community to provide regular training and education on wildlife conservation and promote wildlife co-existence programs and practices in the community.
We have built an additional fully equipped and resourced anti-poaching operation base, as well as adding eight additional anti-poaching rangers to boost operations and combat the rising wildlife crime in National Parks.
Alongside this anti-poaching unit, we are also supporting the local community with meat supplies as a preventative measure so that the community will not poach the animals for food.
We anticipate seeing a significant reduction in animal poaching in the first year because of this program and a steady decline over the coming years.
The training and education provided to the community by the anti-poaching unit on conserving wildlife and co-existing wildlife will increase awareness amongst the community and encourage collective responsibility to protect the wildlife in the parks.
The Ranger Protein Supplement program is currently supporting 80 Rangers and their families who live and co-exist alongside the wildlife. This is already contributing towards a reduction in animal poaching in the parks.
Through the implementation of the anti-poaching unit, conservation awareness, and education in our communities and parks, we can preserve our wildlife for future generations. This project has the potential to drive attitude and behavioural changes in the communities and instil respect for wildlife and the environment, which will be passed down to the next generation.