Scouts from the Victoria Falls Anti-poaching Unit (VFAPU) have been urgently requested to join the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to reinforce its manpower in the fight against elephant poaching which has now reached unprecedented levels at Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
The appeal for support has been made following the cyanide poisoning of 10 more elephants. This brings the total number of poisoned elephants to 100 in less than two months, in what has been described as the worst poaching disaster in Zimbabwe's history.
Parks Director General, Mr Edison Chidziya, has said that the situation is getting out of control and that the authority needs additional manpower to support their efforts to contain poaching. Mr Chidziya has also appealed to the Zimbabwean government and to volunteers for assistance. Hwange National Parks currently has approximately 146 rangers and seeks to boost its manpower to 700. As with all anti-poaching units, funding to carry out this vital work is scare so additional support is vital, particularly now.
Mr Chidziya has led a team to Guvalala, the area where the elephants were killed, to assess the situation on the ground. The carcasses they have found there show that the elephants have suffered a painful death. All 10 have had their tusks removed and have been poisoned by the ivory poachers. The cyanide poison, still visible on salt lakes near the site, has not yet been cleared, or rendered safe by the Environmental Management Authority. Rangers are now guarding the carcasses round the clock to ensure that no other animals feed on the poisoned remains.
Poaching of elephants, as well as rhinos and other endangered animals, has risen sharply in Zimbabwe and other parts of Africa in recent years. Ivory trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The illegal ivory trade, estimated to be worth up to US$10 billion a year, is mostly fuelled by demand in Asia and the Middle East. Elephant tusks are used to make ornaments and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine.
Please show your support for the important work that is being done to stop this cruel practice by sponsoring an anti-poaching unit here.
A VFAPU scout pictured with an elephant in the Victoria Falls National Park