The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has partnered the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to enhance wildlife conservation by revamping the country’s largest game reserve, Hwange National Park.
The United States-based animal welfare and conservation charity has been working with Zimparks to promote wildlife conservation, animal rescue, rehabilitation as well as research on elephants and other species.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Zimparks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo said the tie-up underscores international confidence in Zimbabwe’s wildlife industry.
“Through our partnership with IFAW, we have managed to rehabilitate the road which links Hwange main camp and Makona, one of the park’s most exciting places.
“Before the rehabilitation and maintenance of the road, you would need at least five hours to travel a 90km journey, but now you can do that within two hours.
“IFAW are also assisting us in building houses for our rangers and they have also donated vehicles for patrol.
“Further, they are assisting us in de-silting our water holes, especially the popular Nyamandlovu pan in Hwange Game Park.”
IFAW programmes director for landscape conservation, Mr Philip Kuvaoga, believes infrastructure development can transform Hwange Game Park’s appeal as a tourist resort.
“Infrastructure development enhances the tourism product of the park as it opens access to exciting parts of the park which were previously inaccessible.
“We have invested about US$112 000 towards road rehabilitation and to date we have done 32km of that stretch. We are investing in the transformation of Makona sub-camp and the target is to build 10 houses for rangers. We also want to cater for the recreational needs of rangers who are so far away from any form of civilisation.
“Over US$280 000 has been invested in the houses. In fact, since the beginning of this partnership, IFAW has invested US$500 000,” said Mr Kuvaoga.
Meanwhile, Zimparks has concluded its annual game count and the authority is expected to release the results in the coming weeks.
“The annual game count was meant to ascertain the type of species and the numbers in Hwange. This is an annual game count we do with assistance from our partners.
“We have always said the problem we have is overpopulation of animals, which end up in conflict with humans,” he said.
Zimbabwe is host to the world’s second-highest elephant population and also boasts of 180 mammal species that include the endangered black and white rhinoceros, lion, buffalo, wild dog, brown hyena, cheetah, leopards and hippopotamus.