Vandalism And Fires Threaten TourismIndustry

9June 2008

Publishedby the http://allafrica.com

VANDALISM of security fences around safari farms and uncontrolled veld fires are posing a threat to the development of the safari industry in Zimbabwe.

Safari operations have come under strain from vandalism of security fences around farms.

This development has led to the free roaming of animals from within the conservancies into farming areas where people kill the animals for meat.

Safari operators who spoke to the Zimbabwe Guardian in the Gwayi Conservancy said veld fires suspected to have been started by poachers were destroying pastures and this has negatively affected the growth and rearing of animals on the farms.

Veld fires have destroyed pastures and forced animals to migrate elsewhere and this is a serious threat to wildlife management.

“Some animals have been killed in the uncontrolled raging fires,” said Clemence Moyo, the director of Manyau Safaris in Lupane.

Safaris earn foreign currency for the country as trophy hunters and photography enthusiasts come into Zimbabwe during the hunting season.

“The industry remains one avenue of earning foreign currency from sport hunters and those who do commercial wildlife photography. Each year hunting concession quotas are all bought raking in millions in foreign currency,” said Moyo.

He further pointed out that the industry has weathered the political impasse between the government of Zimbabwe and Western powers.

Hunters seem oblivious of the sanctions their countries have imposed on Zimbabwe. Each year hunters are coming over as they believe Zimbabwe has quality trophies.

Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Retired Major Edward Mbewe said that veld fires and vandalism of security fences at parks were a threat to the safari industry.

“Vandalism of fences at protected safaris and parks is causing considerable problems to management of wildlife. The vandalism of fences has contributed to uncontrolled movement of animals,” he said.

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