By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) has partnered the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) to heighten the fight against poaching of wildlife species along the Zambezi River.
This Tuesday, AWF handed over a Toyota Hilux GD6 double cab for use by the ZimParks conservation team combating poaching in the Marongora area of Mashonaland West province.
The Zambezi River Specialised Anti-Poaching Unit (ZARSAU) was established to undertake anti-poaching activities and has been under-resourced, hence the intervention by AWF, which also refurbished offices and housing accommodation at D Camp.
A vehicle workshop was also commissioned Tuesday under the auspices of ARW.
Addressing guests during the official handover and launch, ZimParks director-general, Fullard Mangwanya expressed gratitude to AWF for donating towards conservation of flora and fauna.
“You have witnessed the handover of a brand-new Toyota Hilux Twin Cab GD6 which we humbly received and will assign to our intelligence and investigations work. This is part of the ongoing support from CITES MIKE programme through AWF as the implementing partner and in addition, we have already received three new SUV Toyota Landcruisers for conservation support amongst other different types of support.”
“The resuscitation, refurbishment and retooling of the Marongora vehicle workshop comes at no better time than now when the region has received and acquired significant numbers of operational vehicles and equipment.”
He added: “These vehicles and equipment require constant services and repairs for prolonged life span during use. It is no hidden fact that the costs of offering these services through private workshops demand huge budgets from ZimParks.
Mangwanya rallied officers constituting the new ZARSAU Unit and all ZimParks employees to remain professional in the discharge of conservation mandate. “Please shun corruption and remain the good mouthpiece for the voiceless wildlife and remember you are not just staff, you are stewards,” said the director-general.
AWF country director, Olivia Mufute stressed her organisation’s continued support for ZimParks mandate.
“We are officially handing over new infrastructure to ZimParks, a manifestation of our undying commitment and support to the important conservation work they lead in this country.
“Today we give our dedicated rangers and parks authorities the keys to a new office block, operations room, entertainment center, ranger accommodation, new vehicle workshop as well as a new vehicle in order to shore up conservation efforts and help ease operations and logistics. The strategic and global conservation significance of this landscape, the Zambezi Valley, is huge,” said Mufute.
The Zambezi Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with teeming bird species, wetlands and rich biodiversity of religious significance.