THE war on poaching has been given a record $14,750 boost by a fundraising golf tournament, coordinated by Africa Albida Tourism, in which an all female team took out the top prize for the first time.
The 14th annual fundraising Golf Day for the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU), was won by Fi Ranby and Linda O’Toole, who narrowly beat runners-up Ian De Grandehomme and Sally-Anne McDonald.
A total of 136 players, making up 34 teams, teed off for charity at the Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club on September 5, before taking part in a prize-giving function and auction.
Teams included the Zimbabwe Special Olympics Golf team, and the African Belles, who took the best dressed team prize in matching leopard print outfits.
VFAPU was established by local safari operator and conservationist Charles Brightman and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, the flagship property of the Africa Albida Tourism group, in 1999, in an effort to fight the alarming levels of poaching.
Africa Albida Tourism chief executive Ross Kennedy said he was proud of VFAPU’s achievements, which included removing 22,000 wire snares in the area in which they patrol, arresting 580 serious poachers and saving 175 mammals injured by poachers.
“The positive difference that Mr Brightman and his dedicated scouts make 365 days of the year are invaluable and should be recognised by all involved in tourism around Victoria Falls,” he said.
Mr Kennedy said Africa Albida Tourism would continue to support their efforts, and all proceeds from the Golf Day would go directly to VFAPU, with the costs of more than $5,000 to be covered by Africa Albida Tourism.
“In our 14th year, in a tough economic environment for most Zimbabweans, just short of $15,000 was raised, which is a record and we applaud all supporters for this magnificent effort.”
Mr Brightman said the funds would go towards the operational costs of the unit, which included salaries, fuel and vehicle maintenance.
“One of the stresses of running the unit is making sure there is enough money to keep it in operation, and this fundraiser is a huge help,” Mr Brightman said.
VFAPU, which operates in a 50kmsq area around Victoria Falls, and has 17 scouts, tackled everything from wood to ivory poaching, Mr Brightman said.
“Bush meat poaching is probably the commonest form of poaching in our operational area, and this is not people starving, but gangs and syndicates operating and selling bush meat for profit,” he said.
“VFAPU is very grateful for the opportunity to work together with the National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
“It just shows what can be done when you join forces and work together for a common goal in saving Zimbabwe’s wildlife heritage.”
“Thank you to all of our supporters in the past and present, without them we wouldn’t be able to carry on this work, and this again echoes what can be done if we all work together.”
He appealed to the public to support the unit by donating money or equipment, such as uniforms, flashlights, sleeping bags, tents, two-way radios or new tyres for the vehicles.
For more information visit Vfapu or to donate contact Charles Brightman on firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release by :
Africa Albida Tourism l Group PR Officer
Email: email@example.com l Skype: pr4africaalbida
Phone: +263 4 885200 l Cell: +263 778 386 202 l Fax:+263 4 860106
15 September 2014