Whilst Zimbabwe is home to a large number of Zambesia’s iconic National Parks including Hwange and Mana Pools the country also has some large and successful privately owned game reserves. These include a large private estate on the border of Gonarezhou National park situated in the South of the country, known as Malilangwe. This property is home to Zimbabwe’s only Singita luxury Safari lodge – Pamushana. The property has the largest viable population of white and black rhino in the country. In 2015 you may remember that this conservancy exported several rhino to Botswana as the numbers in the private reserve were nearing capacity.
Whilst Malilangwe is a successful private reserve that focuses on ecotourism and photographic tourism the larger Bubye Valley Conservancy depends on hunting. Like Malilangwe, Bubye is also situated in the Southern part of Zimbabwe, further to the West of the country. The Bubye Valley Conservancy hosts hunters travelling from countries around the world to hunt elephant, lion, buffalo and plains game. The reserve is around 3000km2, second in size to the controversial Save Valley conservancy.
The Conservancy is a tribute to the value of carefully managed commercial hunting as the sheer number and variety of wildlife in the park prove. The management of the park is overseen by a professional team that includes Dr Byron Du Preez, who runs the “Bubye Valley Conservation Research Initiative”
In 2015 the lion population in this conservancy reached five hundred animals and this coincided with a ban on lion trophy imports into the US. The result was that the conservancy had to look to other measures to reduce the lion population as the holding capacity of the property had been reached and the numbers of plains game and buffalo were beginning to decline. At one time it seemed the likely solution was going to be a lion cull.
In a recent interview with a SA based news portal Dr Byron du Preez said that “the possibility of a cull has been discussed but “[we] have agreed that for now, this is not necessary yet and we will continue to try and translocate these animals until our hand is forced.”
A delegation of US elected representatives led by Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona is on a three day fact-finding mission to better understand wildlife conservation and regional security issues, the US Embassy in Harare has announced
The mission is aimed at enabling the visitors to “learn about issues of importance in the US-Zimbabwe bilateral relationship, including the protection and conservation of wildlife”
Vf24 Editor – 5