PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT ,WATER AND CLIMATE HON SAVIOR KASUKUWERE ON THE PROGRESS MADE BY WILDLIFE ECOLOGICAL TRUST IN RAISING FUNDS FOR CONSERVATION ON 14TH OF APRIL 2014:HARARE.
The Deputy Minister of Environment Water and Climate Hon.S.Musanhu.
Secretary for Environment Water and Climate Mr P.Mupazviriho.
The Wildlife Ecological Trust Members chaired by Mr .P.Gwatidzo
The Director General ZIMPARKS Mr E.Chidziya
Senior Government and Parastatal Official here Present.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to deliver this statement today on the progress that has been made by the Wildlife Ecological Trust in sourcing support for wildlife conservation. I am satisfied with the manner in which the Board of Trustees of the Wildlife Ecological Trust (WET) chaired by Mr Phibion Gwatidzo has executed its mandate to raise resources for the conservation and protection of wildlife in Hwange National Park after the Hwange wildlife disaster late last year. The Board of Trustees has done a wonderful job to raise close to US700 000.00 worth of cash, field equipment and vehicles. Out of the 23 vehicles pledged, 12 vehicles have been delivered and deployed to the field.
Let me inform you that 10 of the vehicles donated and delivered are already in Hwange National Park. I am reliably informed that the money raised will be used to meet game water supply and provide field equipment in Hwange National Park. Indigenous Zimbabweans have therefore been challenged to have an appreciation of conservation needs and contribute towards the protection and management of our wildlife heritage.
Significant change has been witnessed in Hwange National Park as a result of the donated vehicles. But on the other hand poachers are also devising ways of illegally gaining entry into the protected areas. Recently there was a report that close to 30 poachers, in two groups, had gained illegal entry into Hwange and Zambezi National Parks.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an indication that, although we are moving in the right direction towards sealing off the poachers’ illegal points of entry, protected areas such as Matetsi Safari Area, Kazuma National Park and Zambezi National Park have remained relatively vulnerable to the poaching menace. In Hwange National Park, rangers now enjoy being deployed quickly and responding to poaching threats received through intelligence gathering.
Let me take this opportunity to implore our Parks rangers and officers to shun corruption and to decisively deal with it as it has the potential to divide the Authority apart and to scare conservation partners away. Appropriate disciplinary measures should be taken on those found engaging in corrupt activities .But on the other hand, let me also urge the public not to aide corrupt activities but instead report any such individuals to the Police or Parks Authority using it toll free lines which are 08003222347 or 08003222344.
Our behavior and use of donated equipment and money should in itself continue to attract sympathy and support from would be donors.The fact that some donors who used to fund Parks are no longer doing so presents an opportunity for Zimbabweans to fill the gap.
Ladies and gentlemen I challenge those who fund raise in the name of wildlife in Zimbabwe and abroad to ensure that the funds raised benefit wildlife in this country. Let us join the Authority in managing and protecting the country’s protected areas as safe havens of our wildlife heritage.
It is the very wildlife which when conserved and protected will ultimately see the growth of tourism in the country contributing significantly to the economic growth of the country. Wildlife is a resource which requires to be protected but the fiscus is unable on its own, therefore, I challenge the nation not to just harvest wildlife but to also direct efforts at managing this renewable resource for future generations.
I THANK YOU.