Chinese govt throws Hwange National Park lifeline

HWANGE National Park yesterday got a shot in the arm in its efforts to curb poaching activities, after it received various equipment worth over $2,5 million from the Chinese government.

By Obey Manayiti in Hwange

The equipment comprises eight Foton trucks, 10 Foton off-road vehicles, dump trucks, pick-up trucks, sleeping bags, climbing shoes among numerous other accessories.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Hwange yesterday, Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri described the donation as timely, as poaching had reached alarming levels with over 60 elephants poisoned in Hwange National Park two months ago.

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“Our conservation efforts are under threat from increased poaching, illegal trade, international restrictions and reduced community benefits from wildlife,” she said.

“These challenges have been exacerbated by our limitation as government to adequately monitor and enforce wildlife regulations due to limited resources and manpower.

“As we frantically try to protect our wildlife from organised gangs internally and externally, we are now confronted with increased illegal activity by our own people and organisations that connive to undermine Zimbabwean laws, international laws and CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] regulations.”

Muchinguri said government had started the process of strengthening Campfire projects so that more resources are channelled to communities.

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Haung Ping speaking at the same event, also said: “Zimbabwe is blessed with abundant natural resources and for a long time the Zimbabwean government and the people have made unremitting endeavours in the area of wildlife protection.

“However, Zimbabwe is also facing the challenges of protecting a number of endangered species.

“Against this backdrop, by providing equipment for wildlife protection, China is expressing its goodwill to co-operate with our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters to ensure the survival and prosperity of the wildlife here.”

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