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Zimbabwe's Wildlife Makes a Comeback: Conservation Efforts Bear Fruit

Zimbabwe's efforts to protect and nurture its wildlife are paying off, with the country seeing impressive results in elephant conservation and a decline in poaching. The African Wildlife Foundation has commended Zimbabwe's efforts in wildlife conservation, stating that most protected areas are recording positive results.

Wildlife comeback in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is celebrating a wildlife comeback, with impressive results being recorded in most protected areas, particularly in elephant conservation. The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) country director, Olivia Mufute, revealed that Zimbabwe has not received any incidences of elephant poaching in protected areas like Mana Pools. This is an encouraging development that highlights the effectiveness of Zimbabwe’s conservation efforts.

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) country director, Olivia Mufute
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) country director, Olivia Mufute

Mufute spoke at the Advanced Coxswain Course Pass-out Parade of 15 Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) rangers and Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Boat Squadron Regiment officials at Moth Camp in Kariba. She lauded the advanced coxswain training, court procedures training, and training on the use of spatial monitoring and reporting tools, which have been critical in areas like trans-boundary joint river patrols done by Zimbabwe and Zambia law enforcement agents. These training efforts have contributed to species conservation, reducing poaching and trafficking, which are major causes of decline of key wildlife species.

African wild dogs make a comeback in Zimbabwe
African wild dogs make a comeback in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has been implementing a variety of conservation initiatives, including the setting up of the Zambezi Valley Specialised Anti-Poaching Unit, a water-based anti-poaching specialized unit that operates from below the Kariba Dam wall to Kanyemba. The partnership between AWF and Zimbabwe seeks to train and equip wildlife law enforcement officers with the skills they require when conducting river patrols.

Hwange National Park - Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

The 15 officers (two females and 10 males from ZimParks and three males from the ZNA Boat Squadron Regiment) underwent a three-week training course. They were equipped with knowledge on conservation ecology, boat operations, handling of suspects, observing human rights in anti-poaching work, weapon handling, and many more issues critical for river-related patrols.

It is not just the absence of poaching incidents that showcase Zimbabwe’s conservation success. Wildlife numbers have been increasing steadily in protected areas across the country. Zimbabwe’s flagship parks such as Hwange National Park, Mana Pools National Park, and Gonarezhou National Park have seen an increase in wildlife numbers, including elephants, lions, and rhinos.

Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe's hidden treasure
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe's hidden treasure

Mana Pools National Park, situated in the northernmost region of Zimbabwe, is one of the country’s most remote parks. The park is known for its four main pools, which provide life-giving water to a large variety of animals, including hippos, crocodiles, buffalos, and elephants. The park is also home to the big five animals – lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos, and leopards – and over 350 species of birds.

Mana Pools National Park

Hwange National Park is another key conservation area in Zimbabwe. The park covers over 14,000 square kilometers of land and is home to over 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds. The park is known for its large elephant populations, which attract thousands of tourists each year.

Gonarezhou National Park is Zimbabwe’s second-largest park and is situated in the southeastern part of the country. The park is known for its scenic beauty and diverse wildlife, including elephants, lions, and buffalos. The park is also home to a variety of bird species, including the African fish eagle, martial eagle, and bateleur eagle. Here are some of Gonarezhou National Park's most mesmerizing views

These parks have been implementing a variety of conservation initiatives to ensure that wildlife populations continue to grow. These initiatives include anti-poaching patrols, re-introduction of endangered species, and habitat restoration. As a result of these efforts, wildlife numbers have been on the rise, providing a glimmer of hope for the country’s conservation efforts.

The success of Zimbabwe’s conservation efforts is not just limited to the big five animals. Other species such as the painted dog, sable antelope, and pangolin have also seen significant population growth in protected areas.

Despite the challenges, Zimbabwe's conservation efforts have seen significant progress in recent years. The country has recorded an increase in wildlife numbers, including elephants, which have been the target of poaching activities for their ivory tusks. In fact, in 2019, Zimbabwe's elephant population increased from 83,000 to 84,000, according to a survey conducted by the country's wildlife authority.

Other wildlife species that have benefited from Zimbabwe's conservation efforts include the black rhinoceros, which was once on the brink of extinction in the country due to poaching. Thanks to conservation measures such as anti-poaching patrols, community education, and habitat restoration, the population of black rhinos has increased from around 300 in the 1990s to over 700 today.

Zimbabwe's black rhinoceros mother and baby
Zimbabwe's black rhinoceros

Zimbabwe's conservation success story is not only good news for its wildlife but also for the country's economy. The country's wildlife tourism industry is a significant contributor to the national economy, generating revenue from activities such as safari tours and hunting expeditions. The industry has the potential to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, particularly in rural areas where wildlife conservation is most critical.

Zimbabwe wildlife tourism

Through continued efforts and collaborations with conservation partners, Zimbabwe can continue to protect its wildlife and ensure a brighter future for its people and its natural heritage. #wildlifeconservation #Zimbabwe #elephantconservation #poaching #Africanwildlife #ecosystemrestoration


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