HARARE, Zimbabwe – March 3rd is World Wildlife Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of wildlife and its conservation. The theme for World Wildlife Day this year is ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’
In Africa, our natural heritage is under threat from various human activities, including habitat loss, poaching, and climate change. Wild Africa Fund, an organisation committed to promoting humans and wildlife thriving together in peaceful co-existence, recognises that protecting and preserving Africa’s natural heritage cannot be achieved independently. Everyone has a part to play.
“At Wild Africa Fund, we believe that collaboration is crucial to achieving greater impact and assisting Zimbabwe protect her natural resources for future generations,” said Peter Knights, CEO of Wild Africa Fund. “By partnering with governments, international and local NGOs, international and local media and local communities, we can find innovative solutions to build a sustainable future for humans and wildlife alike.”
Zimbabwe’s conservation efforts have been primarily focused on protecting its diverse wildlife species, including the African elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhinoceros, and many others. One of the notable success stories in Zimbabwe’s recent conservation efforts is the revival of the black rhino population in the country. “It is an absolute honour to be a part of the greater conservation family. Being on the frontline of rhino protection and protecting all else in the wake, support is absolutely vital to sustainability. It is for this reason that we value our key partnerships,” said Bryce Clemence, founder of Anti-poaching & Tracking Specialists (ATS).
According to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report, Zimbabwe’s rhino population had declined significantly due to poaching and habitat loss in the early 1990s, declining from an estimated 1,000 individuals to just 220 individuals in 2008. Through concerted conservation efforts such as anti-poaching measures and habitat restoration, the population has increased significantly in recent years. As of 2021, the IUCN estimates that Zimbabwe’s black rhino population had increased to around 500 individuals, representing a doubling of the population since 2008 with a continued growth trajectory.
“We take great pride in the natural resources of our country, and we are thrilled to partner with Wild Africa Fund in conserving our heritage”
One of our local partners, Tikobane Trust, is a community organization that seeks to promote the peaceful coexistence between wildlife and rural communities sharing borders in and around Zimbabwe’s largest National Park, Hwange National Park. “We take great pride in the natural resources of our country, and we are thrilled to partner with Wild Africa Fund in conserving our heritage. We have witnessed positive community driven initiatives and we believe the partnership will help to further promote active community participation in wildlife and environmental conservation in Zimbabwe,” said Ndlelane Ncube of Tikobane Trust.
In 2022, Her Excellency Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, First Lady of Zimbabwe was appointed as Global Wildlife Ambassador for Wild Africa Fund, demonstrating Her Excellency’s deep commitment to nurturing not just the people of Zimbabwe, but also wildlife and environmental protection.
In February, we celebrated World Pangolin Day, an occasion that highlights the importance of protecting these unique and fascinating creatures. Her Excellency Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa, the First Lady of Zimbabwe, underscored the significance of wildlife conservation, noting that “the pangolin is more than an animal. It is part of our culture. Wildlife is our heritage and can be our future.” Indeed, wildlife is an essential component of Zimbabwe’s economy, generating significant revenue through tourism and supporting the livelihoods of thousands of people. By preserving Zimbabwe’s wildlife, we not only honor cultural traditions but also secure a prosperous future for the nation.
On this World Wildlife Day, Wild Africa Fund calls on all stakeholders to join in efforts to protect and preserve Zimbabwe’s natural heritage. “By working together, we can ensure a future where humans and wildlife thrive together in harmony,” said OBE Peter Knights, CEO of Wild Africa Fund.