Meet two of the VFAPU scouts who peform an hard task each day fighting wildlife poaching. Left: Tanyala Ncube and on the right is Goodwin Tchuma - I thank them for their great efforts in the bush.

From Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Dear Supporters

At the close of another year in our mission to combat poaching, VFAPU must thank all our supporters for their valuable contributions throughout the year. I cannot emphasise enough just how vital it is that we all make a stand together to save our wildlife, not just for us but for the benefit of generations to come.

Since the unit was founded it 1999, VFAPU has removed nearly 21000 wire snares from the bush, has apprehended over 560 serious offender poachers and has treated and released over 150 mammals that were injured through poaching activities. The unit currently has 16 scouts working seven days a week, patrolling an area of 50 square kilometres surrounding Victoria Falls, as well as large parts of the Zambezi National Park. VFAPU works closely with and in support of the National Parks and Wildlife Management of Zimbabwe in a collective effort to fight poaching in the region.

Please refer to a break-down of statistics for the year listed below. Should you require any additional or more detailed information, please contact me on the contacts listed above. Let us look forward to a successful year ahead and VFAPU looks forward to working with you all in 2012.

Thanks also to National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Victoria Falls Municipal Police and the Tourism Police.

SUMMARY OF STATISTICS FOR 2011:

Snares located: 388

Persons apprehended within National Park estate: 291 – (13 x mammal poachers, 18 x illegal miners, 152 x wood poachers, 36 x Illegal vendors, 7 x Illegal entry into parks estate, 1 x drug dealers, 1 x selling game meat illegally, 4 x fish poachers, 1 x smuggler)

Mammals darted: 11 (4 x warthog, 4 x elephant, I x kudu, 2 buffalo)

Mammals poached: 34 (6 x eland, 4 x kudu, 3 x elephant, 1 x hippo, 7 x buffalo, 1 x waterbuck, 4 x warthog, 1 x porcupine, 2 x impala, 1 x sable, 2 x baboon, 1 x spotted hyena, 1 x bushbuck.

January 2011February 2011March 2011

Snares located: 35

Persons apprehended: 29 (17 wood poachers, 9 illegal miners and 1 drug dealer))

Mammals darted: Nil

Mammals found poached: 2

Species: 1 kudu, 1 elephant bull

Location/s: The kudu was found in the valley beneath the helicopter pad at Elephant Hills. The elephant bull was discovered by the Fuller Forest ridge, with the tusks removed and taken.

Other: A carcass of a young buffalo was located by the farm school – cause of death unknown. One female warthog was found dead along the railway line by Sekuti’s Drift and the cause of death is unknown. A female kudu was killed by a pack of wild dogs along the Masuwe River, east of Masuwe Lodge.

Snares located: 6

Persons apprehended: 31 (14 wood poachers, 17 curio vendors)

Mammals darted: 1

Species: Warthog male – with wire snare around its snout.

Location: Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Mammals found poached: 0

Species: 0

Location/s: 0

Other: The scouts came across a large African Rock Python in the Chamabonda area. The pack of wild dogs killed a male kudu on the sand ridges north of Sekuti’s Drift.

Snares located: 10

Persons apprehended: 37 (20 wood poachers, 1 curio vendor, 3 people found in the park in possession of sable and buffalo horns, 2 illegal entry to Zambezi national Park, 5 illegal miners)

Mammals darted: 1

Species: 1 elephant bull – had a three strand wire snare on the rear right leg.

Location: Big Tree area

Mammals found poached: 1

Species: Hippo

Location: Close to Number 21 picnic site in the Zambezi National Park. %t had been shot 7 times with what looked like AK47 rounds. It had been skinned and lost of the meat was taken.

Other: A female kudu was hit and killed by a speeding vehicle along Wood Road. One spear found hidden in the bush between Wood Road and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge boundary.

A wounded buffalo was shot by National Parks staff in the Masuwe Lodge area.

April 2011

_________________________________

Snares located: 14

Persons apprehended: 12 (1 wood poacher, 2 illegal entries to the park, 1 selling illegal buffalo meat, 8 curio vendors)

Mammals darted: 1

Species: Kudu female

Location: Bog Tree area

Mammals found poached: 2

Species: 1 buffalo, 1 female eland

Location: The buffalo was snared off Wood Road and the eland was snared in the Chamabonda Vlei salt pan.

Location/s: The kudu was found in the valley beneath the helicopter pad at Elephant Hills. The elephant bull was discovered by the Fuller Forest ridge, with the tusks removed and taken.

Other: One impala died from natural causes in the golf course.

May 2011

Snares: 27

Persons apprehended: 18 (17 wood, 1 illegal entry to the park)

Mammals darted: 1

Species: Elephant female

Location: Zambezi Drive/Ilala Lodge area

Mammals found poached: 2

Species: 1 Waterbuck bull and 1 buffalo female

Location: both mammals were poached at the small dam by the Busy Island curio market

Other: By Masuwe Lodge, 2 buffalo were shot by National Parks staff and Lion Encounter staff, after the buffalo were showing aggressive behaviour during lion walks.

An elephant bull was hit by the train south of Sekuti’s Lodge.

One sub adult male impala found dead on the golf course, with no apparent signs of poaching.

The scouts found a piece of ivory (35cm in length) 2km west of the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and handed this over the National Parks staff.

June 2011

Snares: 13

Persons apprehended: 13 (9 wood, 2 curio vendors and 2 mammal poachers)

Mammals darted: nil

Mammals poached: 6

Species: 2 warthogs, 2 kudu, 1 impala and 1 porcupine

Location: all mammals were poached in the vicinity of the Sekuti’s Drift sand ridges and this has been done by people from Chidobe Commual area entering the park on poaching raids.

Other: One male bushbuck was snared in front of the Victoria Falls Hotel but was able to break free as VFAPU staff approached it.

July 2011

Snares: 18

Persons apprehended: 14 (9 wood, 5 hunting with dogs)

Mammals darted: Nil

Mammals poached: 02

Species: 1 x Warthog, 1 x Sable

Location: Warthog – By Masuwe Lodge, along the river. Sable – near Kalisossa Pan

Other: 9 Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) logs were discovered cut and piled for collection on the Sekuti Ridges. Unfortunately, the culprits spotted the VFAPU scouts who were waiting in an ambush and fled the scene.

August 2011-10-04

Snares: 33

Persons apprehended: 31 (25 wood poachers, 2 fish poachers, 2 curio vendors, 1 illegal quarry stone miner, 1 for collecting manure in the park without a permit)

Mammals darted: nil

Mammals poached: 02

Species: Baboons

Location: Gorge No. 6

Other: We have noticed an increase (mainly at night) of cutting of Zimbabwe Teak trees along the Vic Falls – Bulawayo Road. Some arrests were made, but this situation needs to be monitored further.

3 black men and one white man were spotted inside the Chamabonda Vlei drive and it is suspected that they were carrying out an illegal hunt. Several days of follow-up operations provided evidence and investigations are in progress. An incident report and meeting was held with National Parks and Wildlife Authority, who are also continuing with investigations.

One female warthog was found dead by the jetty sites near the Crocodile Farm. It is suspected to have been poisoned – tissue samples were taken and sent for testing and we are waiting for the results.

One elephant bull was reported to be injured with signs of bleeding by the Masuwe Lodge and after follow-ups, we failed to locate this elephant thereafter.

September 2011

Snares: Nil

Persons apprehended: 16 (9 x wood poachers, 1 x fish poacher, 1 x illegal entry to the park, 1 for collecting manure

within the park without a permit, 1 x stealing copper wire for telephone lines to make snares, 3 x suspected mammal poachers)

Mammals darted: Nil

Mammals poached: 01

Species: Elephant bull

Location: +/- 1km South-west of Sekuti’s Lodge

Other: One buffalo bull was destroyed by National Parks by Masuwe Lodge, as it was determined to be a threat to the lion walk operation.

October 2011

Snares: 148

Persons apprehended: 30 (26 wood poachers, 1 smuggler (a Zambian smuggling rolls of copper wire), 2 fish poachers, 1 mammal)

Mammals darted: 2

Species: 1 x Elephant 1 x warthog

Location: The elephant was darted 1km south of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge – the warthog was darted on the western sand ridge by Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Mammals poached: 10

Species: 5 eland, 1 buffalo, 1 spotted hyena, 1 impala, 1 kudu, 1 warthog

All these mammals were poached by a new gang that is operating in several parts of the Zambezi National Park. VFAPU scouts have discovered two previous poacher camps, on with cooking pots and clothing.

Other: One man was found dead in the Masuwe River and was it is believed that he could have been murdered and his body dumped in the river.

VFAPU scouts found another anti-personnel land mine by the gorge close to Victoria Falls Hotel.

Two elephant tusks were found (one south-west of Sekuti, one by the old kazungula road) by scouts and handed over to National Parks.

November 2011

Snares: 65

Persons apprehended: 8 (all wood poachers)

Mammals darted: 2

Species: Buffalo

Location: Game corridor between the golf course and the Zambezi River

Mammals poached: 3

Species: 2 buffalo, 1 bushbuck

Location: The buffalo were poached in the game corridor between the golf course and the Zambezi River. The bushbuck was poached very close to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

Other: Several ambushed were conducted for the new bush meat poaching gang and VFAPU scouts made contact with members of this gang twice – unfortunately, the poachers were able to escape, having seen the VFAPU scouts waiting inn ambush.

One adult elephant bull was hit and killed by the train by the railway loop between Ilala Lodge and the Zambezi Drive. This incident was reported to National Parks, who removed the tusks.

December 2011

Snares: 19

Person apprehended: 16 (6 wood poachers, 3 illegal miners, 4 illegal vendors, 2 fish poachers, I man entering the park with bow saw)

Mammals darted: Nil

Mammals poached: 3

Species: 2 x Buffalo and 1 x elephant bull

Location: The buffalo were poached with cable snares by the old mine field road and Mukukubuyu area. An elephant bull was shot and wounded by poachers by the Chundu area and it died later after running some distance. The ivory was taken by National Parks.

Other: One buffalo was hit and killed by the train close to Sekuti’s Lodge.

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