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Gonarezhou to reintroduce rhinos

Gonarezhou National Park is set to reintroduce over 20 rhinoceros into the vast wildlife conservancy next year, after the last of the 200 rhinos that were kept in the park were gunned down by poachers more than 30 years ago.

Director of the Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership, Hugo van der Westhuizen, confirmed the development at the weekend.

Gonarezhou Conservation Partnership is a partnership between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FSZ).

Hugo told Southern Eye that Gonarezhou was now a safe haven for rhinos after a vast improvement on the park, which included the recruitment of well-trained guards from a miserly 23 in the 1980s to about 250 presently, communication and the acquisition of over 30 surveillance trucks.

“We are likely to acquire more than 20 rhinos next year from Malilangwe Trust, Bubi or Save Conservancy. We have well-trained armed guards, mostly from Shangani communities around the park with modern day communication systems as well as an efficient fleet of trucks,” he said.

“We have over 11 000 elephants in Gonarezhou, according to the 2011 census. Very few elephants were shot dead by poachers since then. We had another census this year, but we haven’t finalised on the actual figures. But we assume that the figure has risen drastically.

“The park is constantly engaging with the Shangani community which is now providing us with manpower, so the issue of subsistence poaching is dropping to manageable levels. We are also expecting to deal with commercial poaching,” Hugo said.

He added that they were also implementing various projects to improve the livelihoods of surrounding communities, which he said were marginalised and poor.

Zanu PF Chiredzi South legislator Kalisto Gwanetsa welcomed efforts by Gonarezhou to engage the locals and encouraged them to work with the park as well as live in harmony with nature.

“I am so happy about the efforts being made by Gonarezhou and I would like them (locals) to embrace developmental projects,” Gwanetsa said.

Headman Masimavele said the projects were helping locals in various ways.

Jocylene Mukungulushi, one of the women who benefitted from projects implemented by Gonarezhou, said: “My husband passed away 10 years ago and I was left to look after my four children on my own. I am happy now I can manage to send them to school, buying uniforms and paying school fees for them.”

Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry donates goods to Cyclone Idai Victims

Ministry of  Environment Tourism and Hospitality Industry donated goods to victims affected by Cyclone Idai. The donations were joint efforts by entities falling under the ministry which include ZimParks, ZTA and Allied Timbers supported by the Tourism Council. The donations will be taken to Chimanimani.

Click on the following video link https://twitter.com/i/status/1110464860557590528 to see The Honorable Minister of Environment Tourism and Hospitality Industry Priscah Mupfumira and Zimparks Director General Mr Fulton Mangwanya handing over the donations to Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Dr S. Nzenza.

Govt to set up anti-poaching unit

Government is in the process of setting up a multi-stakeholder anti-poaching unit as it steps up efforts to reduce poaching and promote conservation of wildlife.

The unit comprising the ZRP, Central Intelligence Organisation, Zimbabwe National Army, rural district councils, National Prosecuting Authority, Judiciary, non-governmental organisations and hunters’ association also seeks to help minimise human-wildlife conflict.

Communities would be represented through the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources — CAMPFIRE — project operated by rural district councils.

In an interview, Zimparks director-general Dr Fulton Mangwanya said although poaching was on the decline there was need to eradicate the scourge.

“As Zimparks, we realised that alone we cannot achieve much in terms of wildlife conservation and what we are trying to do is to rope in others to assist us,” he said.

Dr Mangwanya said the crime prevention unit involving multi-stakeholders would involve everyone working on wildlife or those who could contribute to the reduction of wildlife crimes.

The unit is expected to be operational in the next six months.

He said they had apprehended several criminals who were found in possession of ivory and the unit would go a long way to ensure that wildlife crimes were minimised.

The judiciary and National Prosecuting Authority, Dr Mangwanya said, were roped in to expedite the handling of wildlife crimes.

“The judiciary will help to expeditiously deal with wildlife crimes and we have had engagements with them which have seen someone being arrested with ivory today and tomorrow they have been sentenced to nine years in jail,” he said.

“There has been an improvement and we want that to continue. That is the efficiency we are talking about and we would like to applaud the Judiciary. Some of the poachers would be arrested and released on bail several times and eventually they are killed after contact with rangers.”

The police would be involved in gathering watertight evidence to ensure successful prosecution of culprits.

Zimbabwe has an impeccable record of wildlife conservation which has seen the population of elephants growing to around 85 000, which is above its carrying capacity of 55 000 elephants.

This would be complemented by training of youths in communities bordering national parks such as Doma in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central, Tsholotsho and San communities in Plumtree.

“We are working closely with communities so that they appreciate that the wildlife resource belongs to them and they should help in protecting it,” said Dr Mangwanya.

“They should benefit through things like setting up lodges on the boundaries of our Game Parks.

“Projects are already ongoing like in Tsholotsho and Doma where we have recruited about 10 unemployed youths from the communities. We train them and they will graduate soon and go back to the community to assist in conservation.” Former Victoria Falls mayor Sifiso Mpofu was recently arrested after being found in possession of eight pieces of ivory weighing 120kgs in one of the prominent case reported this year.

Ex-Vic Falls mayor languishes in remand prison

FORMER Victoria Falls mayor Sifiso Mpofu and two of his alleged accomplices are languishing in remand prison pending a High Court decision on their bail application, which they filed last week.

Mpofu and his co-accused were locked up following their arrest for allegedly possessing 11 elephant tusks weighing 120kg.

Mpofu (42), Milton Sibindi (47), and Phathiso Sibanda (49), who reside in Mkosana suburb, initially appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje upon their arrest. Hwange regional magistrate Collet Ncube had advised them to apply for bail at the High Court pending their appearance at the Regional Court.

They were not asked to plead to the illegal possession of ivory and were remanded in custody to March 22.

Yesterday, their lawyer Thulani Nkala of Dube and Nkala Legal Practitioners told Southern Eye that his clients filed an application for bail at the Bulawayo High Court last week.

“I applied for their bail at the Bulawayo High Court last week. We may know the outcome later on Friday. Their trial will be in Hwange,” he said.

Anti-poaching drive pays dividends

Government efforts in curbing poaching in the Zambezi Valley – complemented by various parties – continue to yield positive results with crime going down significantly since 2016.

In its quarterly bulletin released recently, the Zambezi Society said the volunteer anti-poaching initiative to support the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) had seen number of elephants killed by poachers dropping in the past three years

The number of elephants known to have been poached dropped by 61 percent in 2017 before going down by a further 36 percent last year.

The initiative also saw 11 cases of ivory being concluded with criminals receiving nine-year sentences while another two cases had 10-year sentences.

In an interview, Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo paid tribute to the relationship between the wildlife authority and its partners including the new strategies introduced by management.

“The most important thing is the partnerships we have built over the years with our partners while the coming in of our director general has boosted cooperation with partners.

“Since the coming in of Mr Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya as the Zimparks director-general, we have recorded a positive trend on anti-poaching especially on law enforcement,” Mr Farawo said.

He said the new management had introduced various courses including intelligence and information gathering, and use of weapons among others which have been very effective.

“This has also helped us in that if one is found in a protected area, our rangers will not hesitate to shoot and the same applies when they are shot at,” he said.

Mr Farawo said while more resources are needed in law enforcement to protect animals from poachers, Zimparks had increased patrols, and radio communication.

“The new management has increased the vehicle fleet for patrols; more are needed,” he said. In curbing poaching along the Zambezi Valley, two poachers believed to be foreigners were shot dead and there has also been increased joint patrols with regional counterparts in Zambia.

Meanwhile, the Zambezi Society said the volunteer anti-poaching drive was driven by an adaptive Elephant Management Plan headed by Zimparks with input from conservation support organisations and other stakeholders.

“This has built a valuable degree of trust between the public and private sector and has received very positive feedback,” the society said.

This, the society said, has resulted in a significant reduction in elephant poaching, a sharp change upwards in wildlife crime prosecutions and successful convictions for poaching and a major improvement in collaboration and trust the public and private sector.

Victoria Falls to host international wildlife summit

THE Environment and Tourism ministry will in June host a major international environment and wildlife summit in Victoria Falls, minister Priscah Mupfumira told Parliament yesterday.

Mupfumira told the Consilia Chinanzvavana-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment and Tourism that the country had made major strides in the tourism sector, where it has been recognised as one of the top 10 must visit countries in the world by National Geographic, as well as the third best country to visit after Sri Lanka and Germany at the just-ended tourism fair in Germany.

She said although the Chinese have been the country’s major all-weather friends, Zimbabwe has not been marketing aggressively to lure them into the country, which is a must-do.

“In June, we will host a major international environment and wildlife summit in Victoria Falls, and at the just-ended tourism fair in Germany we got three awards — Women Achiever of the Year, Zimbabwe as the Best Sustainable Tourism Destination award and Tourism Minister of the year 2019 award,” Mupfumira said.

“Tourism arrivals in Victoria Falls show an improvement, but our challenge is accommodation and connectivity, whereby when a tourist comes to Zimbabwe to see the Victoria Falls, they also want to visit other places like Great Zimbabwe, the Eastern Highlands, but there are no connecting flights to those places,” she said.

She added that although the country was experiencing fuel problems, her ministry managed to ensure that it was adequately available at tourism resorts like Victoria Falls and Kariba.

She said her ministry was currently promoting community-based tourism by ensuring that each province has cultural villages, where tourists can stay in huts and experience rural life and local cuisine.

“We already have the Karanga village, and are in the process of forming the Korekore village, and in Tsholotsho we have another cultural village. We want a cultural village in all the country’s 10 provinces. To ensure it is a reality, we see women playing a key role as women in tourism. We also have youths in tourism and we are going to support them.”

There were also plans to have an animal sanctuary in every province, so that locals can also see wildlife for free.

“At Chinhoyi Caves we have already introduced two lions. We have set up a dedicated director’s desk for domestic tourism. In China, 70% of tourism is by locals. We have also resuscitated the Campfire project, so that people that live in wildlife areas also benefit,” she said.

VACANCY – INVESTMENTS & CORPORATE SERVICES INTERN GRADE B1

 

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for the below position which is based at Head Office under ParksMed Health Fund department.

Job title                                                          – Investments & Corporate Services intern

Grade                                                              – B1

Reporting To                                                  – Investments and Corporate Services Executive

Job Type Classification                                – Temporary

Location                                                         – Country/ Zimbabwe – City/ Harare

 

Job Purpose: Parksmed Health Fund is looking for an Intern to join its Investments and Corporate Services Section. The main purpose of the role is to assist in coordinating and managing cross-function Investments and corporate services within budgeted costs.

 Qualifications and skills

  • The suitable candidates sought are recent graduates from reputable institutions with a Bachelor’s Degree or Diploma in a business related discipline or equivalent.
  • Project management is an added advantage
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Computer skills
  • Maturity, honesty and reliability
  • A clean class 4 driving license
  • Ability to work independently
  • Organized, dependable and detail oriented
  • Team Player and Quick Learner
  • Able to work well under pressure
  • The candidate should be 26 years and below

Key Result areas

  • Assisting in developing project management plans that guides the implementation of the projects
  • Assisting in identifying and develops project requirements to establish project deliverables, using techniques (e.g. planning sessions, brainstorming, and focus groups) and the project charter
  • Assisting with economic environment and business analyses to resolve issues promptly
  • Assisting in Budgeting
  • Assisting in maintaining effective records of the Fund’s statutory books and administration and supporting the General Manager to ensure management are effectively organised and minuted

Interested candidates should submit their written applications together with detailed CVs to:

The General Manager

            Parksmed Health Fund

            P.O box CY 140

            Causeway

            Harare

            Email: echitiyo@zimparks.org.zw

 

Or hand deliver to Head Office’s Parksmed Section on or before the 27th of March 2019.

Ex-Victoria Falls Mayor arrested

Former Victoria Falls Mayor Sifiso Mpofu has been arrested after being found in possession of 8 pieces of ivory weighing 120 kilogrammes.

Mpofu was arrested with two others for illegal possession of 120 kilogrammes of ivory.

ZimParks Public Relations Manager Tinashe Farawo confirmed the arrest and warned would-be poachers.

The trio is expected to appear in court soon.

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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.