Scientific Services

ROLE OF THE SCIENTIFIC SERVICES DIVISION

  1. The primary role of the Scientific Services is to carry out the necessary research to underpin this policy and to provide technical advice to the Director General for the implementation of policy.
  2. The major responsibility of the section is to maintain biodiversity through conservation of ecosystems, species and ecological processes so as to enable natural selection to operate on wild populations. This involves planning management, research, monitoring and extension throughout Zimbabwe, with the primary emphasis on the Parks and Wildlife Estate. These activities take place along continuum ranging from total preservation to full scale sustainable use for economic gain. All are interlinked and entail responsibilities for both Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecologists.
  3. The section should be prepared to undertake problem-orientated research in any area or to secure the necessary inputs from outside its ranks if unable to do so. Of necessity, this role implies a broad range of skills and training, and considerable flexibility and adaptability amongst the staff.

THE SCIENTIFIC SERVICES TEAM
Scientific_Team

RESPONSIBILITIES

The following inventory includes requirements of both aquatic and terrestrial Ecologists and it is clear that many of the research requirements require additional disciplines;

1. Assist in the preparation of Park Plans

  • Define, describe, delineate ecosystems
  • Produce inventories of species
  • Design adaptive management systems for species, habitats and tourisms
  • Define permissible limits to change in ecosystem components
  • Develop methodologies for habitat assessment
  • Monitor those essential variables which will provide the data to assess sustainable carrying capacities of protected areas for various uses and users

2.   Environmental protection

  • Integrated environmental management
  • Environmental impact assessments

3.  Species protection and management

  • Recommend schedules of species which should be legally protected
  • Establish criteria and controls for utilisation of protected species (including plants)
  • Develop a crisis action programme for black and white rhino
  • Recommend on protection measures

4.  Ecological research and management

  • Develop a research programme for elephants
  • Develop a national ornithological programme incorporating research, conservation and utilisation which includes collaboration with other individuals and organisations locally and internationally
  • Improve veterinary aspects of  and develop appropriate regulations for capture and movement of wildlife
  • Examine genetic implications of wildlife translocation for small populations and captive breeding systems
  • Develop biological research programmes for capture fishers that are responsive to the needs of local communities
  • Develop breeding and stocking programmes for exotic and indigenous fish species for angling where appropriate
  • Improve management and controls on sport fisheries
  • Carry out production oriented research and set up demonstration units for aqua culture
  • Conduct appropriate research for intensive wildlife industries such as crocodile and ostrich farming and the indigenous silk moths (Gonometa spp)

5.      Sustainable utilisation

  • Delineate areas and allocate quotas for sport hunting in the Estate
  • Assess and approve quotas in areas where hunting is legally restricted
  • Develop methods for setting communal area quotas
  • Develop methods for improving data collection systems in capture fisheries and analyze existing data

6.      Economics

  • Carry out basic research in land use economics
  • Evaluate efficiency and cost effectiveness of protected area management
  • Public use of the Parks and Wildlife Estates
  • Advice on issuance of permits related to wildlife trade and other activities
  • Develop pricing policies and marketing systems
  • Assist in the development of tourism standard
  • Monitor and evaluate relative values of different wildlife management systems
  • Evaluate economic potential of sport fisheries

7.      Develop institutions which:-

  • Provide equitable economically sound opportunities for allocation of access to the Parks Estate
  • Provide appropriate authority and resource rights to local communities for both aquatic and terrestrial resources on their lands and waters
  • Ensure that landholders are beneficiaries of their wildlife management
  • Assist producers in international marketing
  • Develop tourism in communal areas
  • Address problem animal control
  • Recover costs from polluters, particularly in areas of water pollution

8.      Monitor the following and establish databases (including Geographic Information Systems) where appropriate:-

  • Soil erosion in the Parks and Wildlife Estate
  • Key ecosystem components in Protected Areas
  • Key species throughout Zimbabwe
  • Rare or threatened species throughout Zimbabwe
  • Status and trends in rhino populations
  • Captive breeding programmes
  • Law enforcement effort and illegal activity
  • Economic status and trends of the wildlife industry throughout Zimbabwe
  • Tourism (trends, income, impacts)
  • Access to areas of all resources (e.g. contracts, leases, agreements)
  • Ecological status and trends of the wildlife industry throughout Zimbabwe
  • Translocation of wildlife
  • Problem animal control
  • Utilisation of wildlife throughout Zimbabwe
  • Sport hunting (off take, economics)
  • Trading wildlife and wildlife products
  • Ivory and rhino horn stock
  • Other wildlife products
  • Performance of other appropriate authorities
  • Catch and effort data and biomass of existing stocks and capture fisheries
  • Sport fisheries catches
  • Water pollution including pesticides and nutrient levels and sources of pollution
  • General limnology of water bodies in the Parks and Wildlife Estates

9.      Control

  • Examine alternatives to conventional methods of problem animal control
  • Devise appropriate methods for quelea control
  • In conjunction with other agencies, devise and implement methods to control water pollution in the waters of Parks and Wildlife Estates and relevant watersheds
  • In conjunction with other agencies, devise and implement methods to control aquatic weed infestations in all water bodies

10.  Extension

  • Provide extension advice
  • Prepare reports, manuals, guidelines
  • Prepare interpretative material on rare and endangered species
  • Collaborate with department of Agritex to provide extension services for aquaculture and game ranching

11.  Collaborate with, cooperate with and coordinate:-

  • Other land use agencies
  • Non-governmental organisations
  • District councils
  • Producer associations
  • International conservation organisations
  • External researchers

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Zimparks guns down hippo in Nyanyadzi

August 31, 2017August 31, 2017
Inset from Zimpapers. THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last week shot dead a hippopotamus that was damaging winter wheat in Nyanyadzi. The hippo, which had a calf, is believed to have escaped from Save Conservancy. ZPWMA ordered the shooting of the hippos after traditional leaders in the area reported that it was damaging crops and endangering lives. ZPWMA officer, Mr John Danfa, said they were still hunting for the calf which is believed to have found habitat along Save River. “Usually hippos move up and down rivers during the rainy season. We believe the two escaped from Save Valley Conservancy. They were both females and they do not usually click if there is no male. “They are believed to have separated. We received reports from traditional leaders in Hot Springs and Nyanyadzi that these hippos were feeding on wheat and crops in their fields.” “People’s lives were endangered so the authorities ordered its killing. The first time we attempted to kill it, it was in the company of so many cattle and could not do anything. Our officer teamed up with villagers to track it until last week when it was shot down in Nyanyadzi”. The officer is said to have fired 12 shots before the hippo died. The meat was shared by villagers. One of the villagers in Dirikwe village, Mr Tapiwa Munyati, said: “This hippo was becoming a threat to human lives in the area. It was being spotted near homes at night. “There are vegetable gardens along one of Save River’s tributaries where it was being spotted.“We were told that hippos do not like light and the danger was that lives would have been lost.” “A villager survived death by a whisker recently when the hippo strayed into his homestead.“He went out of his house to investigate when his dogs were barking. He had a torch and the hippo advanced towards him. “Fortunately he managed to escape the attack and notified other villagers and the village head. We are appealing to the responsible authorities to make sure that the remaining one is also killed,” said Mr Munyati.