600 dangerous poachers netted

THE Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) has removed 22 000 snares and apprehended more than 600 animal poachers in the resort town since its formation in 1999.

Pamela Mhlanga

Charles Brightman, a local safari operator and conservationist together with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, established the VFAPU in an effort to fight high levels of destruction that were taking place.

Since then, VFAPU a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of the country’s local wildlife and natural resources, has been working to rebalance the area in favour of both the people and animals.

The US embassy in Zimbabwe revealed that since the formation of the organisation in 1999, VFAPU had removed 22 000 snares and arrested over 600 poachers.

An official at the embassy, Sharon Hudson-Dean said the organisation had successfully lobbied for more stringent laws against poaching and helped destitute locals, who might otherwise have become poachers, find other means of survival.

She said VFAPU also conducted scout training and reached out to schools and tourists with education programmes.

“Though these efforts have made a great difference, the long-term answers to this problem are sustainable development, education and community involvement,” she said.

“US embassies throughout sub-Saharan Africa are working with African authorities to build effective, integrated approaches to wildlife conservation. Fighting wildlife trafficking which is directly tied to transnational crime is a US Foreign policy priority.

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