mapMATUSADONA ANTI-POACHING PROJECT (MAPP) NEWSLETTER No 3

MAPP celebrates one year of operations this month and herewith are some statistics for your perusal:

  • We have conducted in excess of 150 lake patrols
  • 43 Zambians have been arrested, 35 of whom received jail sentences ranging from 8 to 14 months
  • 62 Zimbabwean fish poachers have been arrested and an additional 70 warnings and fines have been issued. This includes Kapenta rigs operating out of their jurisdiction.
  • 126 boats have been impounded and / or destroyed
  • Approximately 80 km (80 000 meters) of illegal netting has been recovered.
  • 1 ivory poacher has been shot dead
  • 2 ivory poachers have been arrested; one receiving a jail term of 9 years and the other awaits sentencing.

These results demonstrate that, given the capacity, The Department of Parks and Wildlife Management Services (DPWMS), together with the Police, Border control, the Judiciary and CID, will deal with transgressors of the law efficiently and effectively. As far as MAPP is concerned, we have and continue to achieve our objective which is to provide the authorities with the capacity and logistical support that they need to achieve these results, and of course those of you who have given to the cause one way or another are equally deserving of praise.

Our water based activities are ongoing and despite our regular patrols, the Sanyati Gorge is still a hot spot. Those of you who follow our Facebook page will have seen commercial quantities of tiger fish recovered from a well-established fishing camp recently discovered at the southernmost extremity of the gorge. The occupants were arrested, and the camp destroyed. What is fascinating is the sheer volume of tiger fish that travel up this river to spawn, it is no wonder that the poachers have become ensconced this past 10 years or so, and even more of a wonder is the tenacity of the tiger fish following years of abuse. This all goes to show that gorge patrols are a necessity for the foreseeable future, hopefully on a waning scale.

Zambian fish poachers have been conspicuously absent from Hydro bay and the lakeshore between Kings Camp and Fothergill, we believe that they are venturing further afield. Sadly we have received reports and evidence of a surge in fish poaching activities in and around the Ume River. Again this is a tiger fish spawning ground and a reputable bream fishing destination for sporting anglers. Ideally we need to deploy an additional operative in that area under the MAPP umbrella and we are looking at ways to fund this.

We have been waiting on the necessary documentation and protocol before launching our land based activities, and we are pleased to announce that operations commenced 1st March 2014. Our focus of course is elephant poaching which has reached alarming levels in Africa, and The Matusadona has not been spared. We are still discovering elephant carcasses on a fairly regular basis and this includes cows and sub-adult animals. Every elephant with tusks is at risk. The Tashinga Initiative (TTI)has very kindly facilitated the donation of a land cruiser to this cause which will be used for the deployment of field personal. This operation is far more onerous than the water based activities, in fact it is more of a military style operation and therefore more difficult to report on. What we can tell you is that it can be credited with the last of our recorded successes above, and that came after only one week of operations.

Funding all of this is of course our greatest challenge and an absolute necessity if we don’t want to lose one of Zimbabwe’s trademark images – an elephant bull on the shores of Lake Kariba.

We are delighted to report that one Good Samaritan has very generously donated two fully equipped boats (Pelican’s) to MAPP. They will be ready for use in April and come with all the bells and whistles, including GPS tracking devices, and Lowrance navigational equipment. The Matusadona National Park has a very poor network of roads, a limiting factor when MAPP has been called upon to react to situations. We do have 50+ kilometers of shoreline though and these boats will give us the ability to deploy reaction groups swiftly and effectively when necessary. The boats are going on public show at the end of March and we plan to brand them with the names and logo of those who have contributed to the cause.

We are in the process of printing raffle tickets to be sold at $20.00 each and they will stand you a chance of winning one of the following fantastic prizes:

1st Prize                1 x 150 cc trail bike kindly donated by SKM motorcycles & 1 x 150 cc on-road / off-road motorcycle donated by Eaton and Young Insurance Brokers.

2nd Prize               2 nights for 2 at Changa Safari camp (Full board)

3rd Prize                2 nights for 2 at Spurwing Island resort (Full board)

4th Prize                2 nights for 2 at Rhino Safari Camp (Full board)

Tickets will go on sale at the end of this week so please contact me by e-mail if you would like to purchase some.

In addition to this, we are holding a fund raising event in Kariba over the Easter Weekend. This promises to be fun for the whole family and we do hope that you will be able to attend if you are in that vicinity. We would like to thank all those good folk in the Kariba community who have so willingly committed their time and effort to organizing this event, and we hope that they are rewarded for their efforts with a successful day

Thank you for supporting MAPP. Spread the word and if you have any contributions or suggestions to make, please feel free to contact THE MAPP TRUST on either of these addresses:

kevinh@ccsales.co.zw

matusadonantipoachingproject@gmail.com

 

THE MAPP TRUST & TTI

“We have not inherited this land from our ancestors; rather we have borrowed it from our children”

–          African Proverb –