HomeBusinessZim moves to generate more revenue from wildlife

Zim moves to generate more revenue from wildlife

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FIVE countries have shown interest in buying live animals from Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) has said, as the country moves to generate money for conservation purposes.

NDAMU SANDU
CHIEF BUSINESS REPORTER

The move comes amid restrictions placed on the local wildlife industry after the United States United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) suspended imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Tanzania over alleged questionable management practices.

ZPWMA acting director conservation Geoffreys Matipano said the authority was considering the requests from France, China, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He said the requests would be considered with the need to preserve the country’s wildlife in mind.
“It’s only this year that we are considering live sales. Seriously 4 to 5 years going back was like a self-imposed moratorium,” he said.

Matipano said South Africa wants sables and buffaloes, China, UAE and France are interested in elephants while the DRC wants to buy ostriches.

The confirmation of pending sales is likely to send the authority on a collision course with the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force that is against the sale of the animals saying the country is selling the future generation’s natural resources.

Matipano said the interested buyers have also approached private players and the authority would facilitate the transaction. This involves sending officials to the potential buyers’ countries to vet whether or not the environment would be suitable for the animals.

He said the sale would achieve two ends: raise revenue for conservation and growing new population. Government is failing to support the authority to do research and human wildlife management among others.

The authority has been on its own and did not get any seed capital when it was weaned from government in 2002.

He said the authority was working on partnerships with the private sector and other donor agencies to stay afloat.

To date, two partnership arrangements have been established in Gonarezhou and Mupfurudzi.

“This is a new concept in Zimbabwe when we started with Gonarezhou where we are partnering with a non-governmental organisation [Frankfurt Zoological Society] which is not interested in profits.

We have been together for five years now,” he said.

“They don’t expect any profit. The profit we are ensuring is making sure that biodiversity is conserved.”

In Mupfurudzi, the authority has partnered with Pioneer Africa Corporation.

“Pioneer has invested not less than $3 million. They have invested in roads, build some lodges and five are currently operating,” he said. Matipano said the authority’s approach was co-management and is lobbying government “to give us something to support statutory obligations in anti-poaching and research”.

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