Wilderness Safaris Continues to Support Hwange’s Anti-Poaching Unit

Wilderness Safaris’ Sustainability Fund has allocated urgent funds necessary to ensure that Hwange’s Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit can continue to operate for the next eight months, despite the current global tourism challenges. The funds will ensure that the Zimbabwean-based team maintains their crucial year-round presence within the park, which is vital in the fight against poaching.

“As we all face the uncertain ramifications of what the Coronavirus (COVID-19) will mean to our global family and the travel industry, Wilderness Safaris realises the importance of continuing to support conservation, and one such project is the Scorpion Anti-Poaching Unit’s (SAPU‘s) essential work in Hwange. Wilderness Safaris has been logistically involved in supporting SAPU since 2012, taking over the operations of the unit in 2015. In December 2019, the Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Fund allocated additional resources to build new accommodation for the team at their base on our concession. However, with the drop-off in tourism revenue as a result of COVID-19, our Zimbabwe business is now struggling to cover our usual contribution to the operating costs of the team. We’ve therefore decided to repurpose the accommodation funding to ensure the Scorpions are able to continue their vital work in this difficult time”, comments Arnold Tshipa, Wilderness Safaris Zambezi Environmental Officer.

Increasing their range significantly, in 2019 the Scorpion team covered more than 2 203 km of ground through 273 patrols on foot, while a further 191 vehicle patrols covered more than 5 448 km. “We will continue to work closely with SAPU, providing guidance, expertise and resources for the protection of the precious fauna and flora of Hwange, and we trust our guests will join us in our efforts to help sustain this important conservation work”, Arnold adds.

Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager, Neil Midlane, notes: “In these unprecedented times, the conservation value of people travelling to our camps becomes all the more clear. Our Wilderness Safaris operations rely on tourism revenue to support their conservation work and at a Group level, our Sustainability Fund is capitalised from an internal bed levy. Without guests staying with us to experience Africa’s most extraordinary wilderness areas, our ability to fund their ongoing protection will erode fast”.