2019 ANNUAL REPORT
Our intelligence officer was awarded top Investigator for Zimbabwe by the Director General in October of 2019. He has been working well with informers on the Park boundaries. On at least three occasions poachers were ambushed at their entry points into the Park using intelligence gathered by informers. This is obviously an effective way to prevent poaching. If they can’t get into the Park, they can’t poach.
Other information gleaned from informers resulted in the following:
- three live pangolins recovered and four individuals arrested
- five fishing vessels confiscated in the Kariba area
- bush meat poachers arrested
- individuals arrested for illegal possession of 7.62 ammunition in the local community
- one poacher killed in a contact situation and a .375 rifle recovered
- one large tusk recovered and two arrested
- two arrested for shooting an elephant, bags of meat were recovered but no ivory was recovered due to its small size
Our list of vehicles includes:
- three boats
- seven land cruisers for anti-poaching and research
- two SUV’s for intelligence operations
- two vehicles in Harare responsible for providing spare parts, food, fuel and supplies
We have a team of mechanics who work on site in Mana Pools on the vehicles. Occasionally, we have to outsource major repairs.
During 2019, Zimparks started engaging with the surrounding communities. BSUT facilitated three initial meetings with the local chiefs, as well as the inauguration of a young chief at Kazangarare. The goal is to build relationships with the villagers so they stop poaching. In order to do this, we are looking at various projects that can help the community and negate the need to poach. Projects include borehole drilling, irrigation projects, livestock rearing, improvements to schools, and a young ranger club. We are closely looking at human-wildlife conflicts and working toward solutions in this area.
Aerial Survey- not completed
We looked at doing an aerial survey to conduct an elephant count. We were told by Zimparks, however, that a count was being funded by GEF 6 ( Global Environment Fund ). Unfortunately, this count did not take place. We are hopeful that we can do this at a later date to obtain a more accurate count of our elephants and identify a population trend.
BSUT undertook a feeding program in 2019 in response to the severe drought that hit the area. We trucked in 160 tonnes of grass from 500 kilometers away. This feeding was done over a 4-month period. The area we supplemented with feed had a zero elephant mortality count. Total known elephant mortalities were 40 due to the drought.
- Continued boots on the ground patrolling the valley and the escarpment region
- Installation of two new remote bases and improvements in old bases
- River patrols – we hope to have two boats out at any one time
- Carnivore project – collaring and research
- Elephant project – collaring and research
- Community projects implemented as identified in this report
- Road works – continue with further road development, especially in the far south
- BSUT “tracker” unit
- Park rangers seconded to BSUT
- Firearms training programs
Bushlife Conservancy (President)
Bushlife Support Unit (Chairman)