The Wildlife Ecological Trust seeks to raise $50 million required to avert ecological disasters that have affected most national parks in the country, an official said.
Some of the money will also go towards de-toxicating the salt licks which were poisoned by poachers in Zimbabwe’s vast game reserves.
The Trust has so far managed to raise about $1,7 million cash, field equipment and vehicles.
Speaking at a press conference in Harare yesterday WET chairman Mr Phibion Gwatidzo said the Wildlife Management Authority needs to be fully resourced to effectively execute its duties.
“We are confident that we can raise $50 million for wildlife management considering the support that we are getting from our corporate friends. WET is going to approach international monetary institutions and well wishers to help us raise the targeted capital,” said Mr Gwatidzo.
Last year Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority indicated that it needs $5 million for the welfare and training of game rangers, transport and communication equipment to effectively bust poaching rings that are threatening the elephant population and other endangered species.
Mr Gwatidzo said the fight against poaching requires collective effort between Government and the private sector. The problem came following cyanide poisoning by poachers which killed over 110 elephants. Out of the 23 vehicles pledged, 12 vehicles have already been delivered and deployed to the field. The first of the fund- raising campaigns that were lined up managed to raise $76 000 with $18 000 going towards expenses while the balance of $58 000 would be used for game water rehabilitation.
“The country is facing enormous wildlife conservation challenges hence the need for all sectors to join hands in averting this calamity,” he said.
Wildlife Ecological Trust Fund is going to use an SMS platform where all Zimbabweans throughout the country can join hands to support wildlife conservation.
Environment, Water and Climate minister Saviour Kasukuwere said a lot still needs to be done to avert poaching.
“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,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
He, however, urged park rangers and officers to shun corruption and deal decisively with poaching because it has the potential to divide the authority.