Elephants in Hwange National Park

Elephants in Hwange National Park making their way down to the waterhole

Exciting times lie ahead as Zimbabwean Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko made his speech on the 20th of March 2015 at Hwange Main Camp. The announcement was that the EMA (Environmental Management Agency) has been awarded funding of $6.4 Million for its Hwange Sanyati Biodiversity Corridor Project (HSBC) by the Global Environmental Facility over a period of 5 years. The project is funded by the World Bank and has the overall objective of initiating sustainable development for the communities involved as well as dealing with the issues of biodiversity conservation, climate change and land degradation. The WWF goes into more detail about the project, outlining the following challenges that are to be tackled –

• inadequate water supplies for wildlife;
• destructive wild fires;
• poaching of wildlife and timber;
• human wildlife conflicts;
• land degradation;
• limited livelihood options;
• food insecurity; and
• inadequate institutional capacities to address environmental and livelihood challenges.

The focus of the project will lie in the improvement of Hwange National Park. Being Zimbabwe’s largest, roughly 15 0002  km in size, it faces major issues of anti-poaching, a shortage of staff and funding as well as road and infrastructure maintenance. The park  lies within the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Trans-frontier Conservation Area (TFCA ). The initialisation of the project promises to bring about a much needed change for the people and ecosystems of the area. The WWF will be backing up the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Zimbabwe’s authority on the matter and they are in coordination with Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, CAMPFIRE Association, Environmental Management Agency and the Forestry Commission.

Editor, VF24

24 June 2015