Mashonaland West – Zimbabwe
SUPPORT FOCUS: Wilderness Conservation
IAPF assisted in the 2013 fundraiser for the anti-poaching unit by flying in keynote speaker Gary Albyn, helping to raise much needed funds for the area. More assistance will be coming to Gache Gache from 2014 as IAPF supports Nyaminyami Rural Council with anti-poaching operations throughout the 450,000h area.
The Wildlife Environment Protection Unit (WEPU) provides anti-poaching in the Gache Gache Wilderness Area (GGWA) – ‘’I am encouraged by the dedication & passion of this community anti-poaching team & amazed at how fast wildlife & fish have come back into this area over such a short time. Please, I encourage you all to support the protection of the GGWA because if we cant afford to carry on, OVERNIGHT it will go back to being a disaster area… that’s how bad the poaching is, if left to fester…’’ – Ray Townsend: Director
The Nyaminyami Rural District Council (NNRDC) controls some 450,000 hectares of land and forms 3 boundaries of the world famous Matusadona National Park (1,410 km2), making it a combined wildlife area of nearly 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres). To the north lies Lake Kariba, another 5400km2 of Recreational Park and aquatic wilderness area with 1,800km2 falling within the proposed area.
What should be acting as a buffer to Matusadona NP is being used as a corridor to access the Park for commercial poaching activities, and to harbour battle-ready poaching elements transiting through and exploiting the region. Poachers are operating with impunity in many of these areas.
The NNRDC forms part of the Sebungwe region, which consists of a mosaic of protected areas and communal lands comprising: the National Parks of Chizarira and Matusadona, the Safari areas of Chirisa and Chete, set within in the communal land districts of Binga, North Gokwe and Kariba. Matusadona National Park is situated on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, which is also the northern limit of the region.
The region is a ‘closed’ system for wildlife where, to the south, east and west, human settlement prevents movements of wildlife to and from other regions, as does Lake Kariba to the north. This area is well known and important as a tourist destination in the Sebungwe region, harbouring significant mega-fauna including, elephant, buffalo and a spectrum of other large and small wildlife. It used to hold a large number of black rhinoceros until numbers were poached to the brink of local extinction over recent years. Matusadona National Park was formerly one of a number of Intensive Protection Zones (IPZ) for rhino in Zimbabwe’s protected area (PA) network.