Massive transformation for Hwange National Park partner pumps in US$5
The New Zimbabwe
May 4, 2022
The 2019 five-year agreement between International Fund for Animal Welfare
(Ifaw) and Zimparks, committed to funding conservation efforts in the giant
Hwange National Park for US$1 million per year, is bearing fruit as
witnessed by the massive transformation going on in the reserve.
So far, Ifaw has poured US$2 million for projects at Hwange National Park,
including the rehabilitation of the 100km road from Main Camp to Makona
The development implies that its is now easier for authorities to respond
to cases of poaching and problem animals.
For animal health, the Nyamandlovu Pan – the largest watering hole in the
park – was scooped of mud to ensure a reliable source of water at the
popular game viewing platform.
As such, it is now teaming with aquatic life, with crocodiles and hippos
which has deserted it returning home.
Water pumps within the over 14 000 square kilometre park have also been
powered with solar after replacement of diesel-powered generators.
The park has 102 watering holes.
The Nyamandlovu Pan has also been refurbished as it is a popular platform
where tourists can view wild animals coming for a drink and is also
conveniently located close to the Main Camp.
Through the agreement, Zimparks has also been enabled to furnish its
veterinary laboratory situated at Mtshibi Camp with the facility being
equipped with a PCR machine.
Previously it was difficult to take samples from carcasses as they had to
be taken to Victoria Falls and sometimes South Africa for testing.
Costs were also being incurred through hiring an external veterinarian
whenever there was need but all this has been addressed through the
partnership and they now have a resident veterinary doctor.
Zimparks communications manager, Tinashe Farawo, said the deal has brought
efficiency in managing the massive wildlife reserve.
“We are very grateful to Ifaw for the funding they have provided to enable
us to become more effective in our conservation efforts. We have since been
able to construct houses for our rangers and reaction units at Makona
Camp,” Farawo said.
“We have generally been struggling to effectively manage our conservation
efforts because before the construction of these houses, our people had to
travel from the main camp to Makona Camp but now they can live within their
area of operation,” he said.
Farawo said the agreement has also enabled the authority to improve its
response to human-wildlife conflicts and poaching.
“This is cost effective for us and also helps us to better manage conflicts
between local communities and wild animals,” Farawo added.
He said after years of financial challenges, Zimparks’ partnership with
Ifaw has ensured it is able to fulfil its mandate of securing the country’s
wild animals, especially the growing elephant herd.
Zimparks’ Matabeleland North regional manager, Sam Chibaya said as a result
of the initiative, the park has not lost a single elephant to poachers in
the last two years.
“As far as we know, we have not had an elephant die because of poaching in
the last two years although we have had mortalities, we believed to be due
to natural causes,” Chibaya said.
This year, Zimparks is set to conduct animal census. The last one was
carried out in 2014. The exercise is expected to begin in July at the peak
of the dry season.