Save Conservancy backs translocation of game

The Save Valley Conservancy (SVC) has come out in support of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s (ZimParks) move to translocate elephants and other wildlife animals.

ZimParks recently issued translocation permits worth US$3 million to three national parks to move 600 elephants, as well as 2 000 impalas, 50 buffaloes, 40 giraffes, a pack of wild dogs and a pride of lions.

These parks are Chizarira National Park in Gokwe, Sapi National Park, a private game park in Mashonaland West near Mana Pools and Mavuradonha Wilderness Safari Area, a private game park in Mashonaland Central.

The Conservancy said the move would decongest the conservancy whose wildlife population has exceeded its sustainability levels.

In a statement, the conservancy spoke of its success as a home to wildlife and that over the last three decades, it proved that the business model of conservation based on sustainable use of wildlife can work.

But, the conservancy stated it now has an overabundance of species and should be seen as a source population for the re-populating or augmentation of several species in ZimParks Estates and other areas.

“To this end ZimParks has recently issued permits for the translocation of up to 600 elephant to various destinations within Zimbabwe,” said the conservancy.

The translocation of these animals and a selection of plains game and other species would release pressure on grazing and browsing in the Save Valley Conservancy.

Comprising 750 000 acres of diverse wildlife habitat, the Save Valley Conservancy is one of the largest private game reserves in Africa.

“The conservancy would like to commend Zimbabwe’s wildlife authority in their progressive outlook with regards to the sustainable management of their wildlife resources. The translocation is proposed to take place in year 2020 to 2021 following the engagement of relevant stakeholders, ecologists and supporters to make sure that the destination landscapes are ecologically capable of sustaining the new wildlife and that the adequate protective and management measures are in place,” said Save Valley.

Save Valley claimed it was working closely in the initial planning stages of the translocation project with the donors, ecologists, capture specialists and stakeholders to make sure the proposed move was sustainable.

“The Save Valley Conservancy has engaged with The Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance to assist with several aspects of this translocation and we are very grateful to the Cabela Family Foundation for underwriting 100 percent of this translocation as a commitment to the conservation of key species and ecosystems in Africa. The Conservancy is proud to be associated with ZimParks in this proposed project which is of vital importance to conservation in Zimbabwe,” the conservancy highlighted.

The conservancy pointed out some areas in Zimbabwe over the years have suffered wildlife losses due to illegal poaching and human-wildlife conflict but with renewed commitment from ZimParks and its associated partners, stronger anti-poaching measures were now in place in these areas alongside safe boundary management.

“The SVC is assured that the animals will be able to flourish in their new homes.To this end the SVC is proud to be able to prove that sustainable use of wildlife does indeed create excess animals, which can in turn be used to repopulated National Parks and related wildlife areas.

“To date the Save Valley remains a prime tourism destination. Good rains in the Lowveld region have ensured Save Valley has flowing rivers and adequate forage and feed for the abundant wildlife. The translocation proposal is there as a management tool to make sure that the Save Valley remains one of the last largescale pristine wildlife areas on the planet. It will assist other areas in Zimbabwe that are capable of sustaining wildlife long term where their populations have been diminished,” Save Valley summed.

ZimParks has argued that the growing animal population in Zimbabwe was creating ecological challenges and increased human-wildlife conflict, destruction of the animals’ own habitat, leading to death due to starvation while animal rights activists have called for transparency in both sell or export and translocation of the animals  

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