Photo Credit: VFWT

Protecting Vulnerable elephants and the Biodiversity around Victoria Falls during the coronavirus pandemic

26.01.2021

CONSERVATION PROBLEM

Elephant conservation in North Western Zimbabwe faces two serious threats caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the one hand, it has brought about a collapse in the tourism industry, rapidly accelerating an economic decline that was already affecting this area. And on the other, local poverty is increasing, meaning that many people, including those that protect wildlife, are facing famine. They are turning to poaching, poisoning and committing wildlife crimes, which seriously threaten elephant populations in this area. 

Victoria Falls National Parks depends on tourism revenue to cover essential operating costs. Without emergency funding, the park cannot support rangers, investigators and staff that are essential to the protection of the habitats and wildlife.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  • Increase the arrests of illegal wildlife activity perpetrators
  • Increase the intensity of wildlife monitoring conducted by rangers and the anti-poaching unit.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

  • Provide 91 rangers and staff with monthly ration packs to ensure they can adequately sustain themselves and be active on duty for five months;
  • Carry out at least 3 workshops to train park staff on SMART CyberTracker software;
  • Conduct SMART software data and analysis training with at least 4 senior members of staff;
  • Give training courses to rangers on Wildlife Diseases, Poisonings, and Wildlife Crime Scene for First Responders;
  • Deploy at least 6 anti-poaching units for weekly patrols in Zambezi National Park;
  • Remove wire snares from the bush or from trapped animals.

This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.



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