Poaching threatens Campfire programme

HARARE - Escalating poaching levels in Zimbabwe have negatively affected the Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) programme set up to benefit communities from tourism.

The Campfire programme was introduced to guard against poaching as communities will be safeguarding their sources of income, directly benefiting from revenue from their natural resources.

Over 90 elephants, unidentified number of lions, vultures and other species succumbed to cyanide poisoning in Hwange National Park, in a poaching case that has shaken Zimbabwe’s wildlife management.

During debate on the presidential speech last week, Kariba MP Isaac Mackenzie said the Campfire programme was no longer sustainable.

“On the conservation of natural resources, the Campfire programme, one of the first indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes in Zimbabwe, is no longer viable,” he said.

“It has been seriously affected by the high rate of poaching.”

Zimbabwe says it wants to raise $40 million to fight increasingly daring poachers, a battle that would include dealing with well-connected cartels.

Conservationists have accused the government of reluctance to investigate possible links between senior government officials and wealthy ivory smuggling cartels.

“Binga, Nyaminyami and Hurungwe, going as far as Mbire, used to earn a lot of revenue from the Campfire programme and now because of the high rate of poaching the councils in those areas are struggling to make ends meet,” Mackenzie said.

Zimbabwe’s wildlife conservancy had suffered a lot in the past with invasions endangering species such as black rhinoceros, zebras, elephants, giraffes and other species.

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