May 2016 – The Wilderness Wildlife Trust has committed significant funding to the Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit to help combat poaching in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
“The Wilderness Wildlife Trust and Wilderness Safaris have a long legacy of supporting Zimbabwe’s ecotourism industry, dating back nearly 20 years. For this reason, we are extremely proud to play a role in ensuring this critically important Anti-Poaching Unit is able to continue protecting Zimbabwe’s precious natural resources for the benefit of local communities, as well as for the many tourists that visit this beautiful part of the world”, says Russel Friedman, a Trustee of the Wilderness Wildlife Trust.
The Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit, which works in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) and Wilderness Safaris in Hwange, provides manpower and resources to remove snares and arrest poachers along the boundary regions of the park. In just the last four years, the Anti-Poaching Unit has removed 1 719 snares and conducted 787 patrols.
With this much-needed funding from the Trust, the Anti-Poaching Unit will be able to continue providing logistical support to ZPWMA so that patrols can cover a wider area, while at the same time collecting essential data on the impact of poaching on wildlife populations and on the benefits of anti-poaching operations.
Continuous community engagement is also a priority, with a Guest Interaction and Educational Centre planned so that visitors to Hwange National Park, including school groups and tourists, can learn more about the Anti-Poaching Unit’s work and the important role ecotourism plays in enhancing communities’ livelihoods. The Centre will house educational material and displays, and members of the Anti-Poaching Unit will give presentations on the impact poaching has on wildlife.
“All large species in the Hwange area have increased over the last 16 years, even rare antelope such as roan, sable and eland, and predators like lion, which is testament to the success of the Scorpion Anti-Poaching unit and ZPWMA’s efforts. By providing a more sustainable alternative to poaching through ecotourism, and continuously clamping down on any poaching activity, we believe this positive population trend will continue for many years to come,” concludes Friedman.
The Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit has removed 1719 snares to date in Hwange