In just three years we have made a real difference supporting the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and reinforcing the efforts of several implementing partner organisations.
ZEF has, in collaboration with our partners, built an anti-poaching reaction ranger base, conducted multiple aerial surveys, supplied equipment and rations, trained rangers and held collaborative workshops.
There is still so much more we can do.
Here are the projects we are currently focusing on and need your help in supporting.
PATROLLING FROM THE RIVERS AND SKIES
It’s estimated that nearly 50% of these poachers come from Zambia, crossing the Zambezi River to get to the elephants in Mana Pools. To help reduce these numbers, ZEF has secured funding for a patrol boat to intercept the poachers and prevent them from even reaching the shore.
One of our partner organizations, Flying for Wildlife, fly personally owned small aircrafts looking for signs of fires and carcasses, giving us coverage in the most inaccessible areas. We are looking to fund a dedicated light wildlife aircraft for their use.
This aircraft will assist with wildlife operations and wildlife surveillance – where it will monitor the Zambezi Valley wilderness landscape of approximately 240km by 80km for anti-poaching activity, dry and wet season poaching “hot spots”, known poacher ingress and egress areas in the rugged hills and hinterland perennial springs.
PATROL DEPLOYMENT VEHICLE
A third vehicle is also required to supplement two existing Toyota Land Cruisers, which cover some 3,500 km of rugged 4x4 Zambezi Valley terrain per month. One vehicle deploys or uplifts at least 40 anti-poaching ranger patrols per month. The vehicle will need to be fully equipped to carry patrols. We aim to employ a dedicated driver, and carefully-screened volunteers will replace the driver when on leave.
COMMUNITY-DRIVEN INFORMER PROJECT
We have set up an anonymous tip program that enables witnesses to use messaging apps to send anonymous tips about who might be poaching, or hiding ivory before it’s shipped. If this leads to the arrest of people involved in illegal wildlife crime, then a mobile payment is sent as a reward to the informants. This is proving to be a very successful program proving to be as important as direct anti-poaching activities.
SALARIES/FUEL/MAINTENANCE/REPAIRS FOR VEHICLES, BOAT, AIRCRAFT TO KEEP “BOOTS-ON-THE GROUND"
Reliable and safe transport logistics and air cover support are major factors in reducing poaching. It is vital to sustain high standards and efficiency of logistics for vehicles, boat and aircraft in order to ensure that gains made to date are not lost. We provide all our equipment with trained drivers. All vehicles are fitted with tracking devices for safety and monitoring purposes. The terrain is rugged. The monthly cost covers driver’s salary, fuel, repairs and maintenance of equipment..
Proper equipment for each anti-poaching ranger is essential in the harsh conditions of the Zambezi Valley. Some basic equipment is supplied by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, but rangers lack the following:-
- Poncho tarpaulins to sleep under with eyelets and cord
- Water resistant sleeping bags without padding
- Mosquito headnets, to use in conjunction with the sleeping bags
- Sleeping mats
- Assault vests in the most suitable material
- 3 liter hydration bladders
Park rangers require food and basic supplies while on patrol or rapid reaction deployment in pursuit of poachers. The following supplies are required:-
- 3 day rapid reaction ranger food packs
- Monthly dry food supplies for ranger patrol support
- Women ranger sanitary supplies
RANGER COMMUNITY WELFARE
Crèche for pre-school children of Park rangers - pre-fabricated building
Park rangers and families’ recreation facility - equipment
COMMUNITY WELFARE PROJECTS
Orphan family-care food support
Paint a school
The traditional community leader for settled lands adjacent to the middle Zambezi Valley is Chief Chundu. He is well known to the Zambezi Elephant Fund and is in total support of elephant protection. His wife Portia has placed 200 disadvantaged children in households in the community. The entire community is in survival mode, but these “safe” homes for disadvantaged children need extra support.
The Zimbabwe Parks Area Manager and the Chief are fully in support of getting selected children into Mana Pools for a three day wildlife educational trip.
Every school needs refurbishment. Just a coat of paint will raise morale.