Political Storm Threatens Conservancies

This blog post will dwell on the political situation surrounding Save` Valley Conservancy.

Background:

Government Gazette detailing Indigenisation regulations.

The Zimbabwean Government has pursued a broad policy of Indigenisation of the national economy. The mantra behind the Indigenisation policy is all foreign owned business should be 51% owned locally. The policy is aimed at economically empowering indigenous Zimbabweans (mainly black) that were disadvantaged prior to the country’s independence in April, 1980. Save` Valley Conservancy is run by private entities in partnership with foreign nationals. This puts it under the scope of indigenisation. It’s the politics surrounding the purported indigenisation of Save` which has caused an uproar locally & internationally.

Politics

The European Union has recently issued a warning over the controversy http://www.theindependent.co.zw/2012/08/31/eu-warns-zimbabwe/ . Politicians mostly from Zanu-PF (ruling party) were each granted 25 year leases & hunting permits. This raised eyebrows especially at a crucial period for Zimbabwe as it starts to prepare to jointly host next year’s United Nations World Tourism Organisation general assembly with Zambia. The manner in which the leases & hunting permits were given out were suspicious with many of the recipients having no experience whatsoever in conservancies or wildlife management.  Poaching is rampant in Zimbabwe’s national park, the fear is that with the takeover of the conservancy the rhino population will be at risk.

Conclusion:

President Robert Mugabe

President Mugabe under political pressure from moderates in his party & the E.U (European Union) threat of sanctions declared that all conservancies in the country be turned into national parks. However so far it remains to be seen whether his directive has being taken out. There are also fears that if all conservancies were to be transformed into national parks there would be a decline in standards, due to lack of govt funding as well as poaching.

Save` Valley Conservancy

This blog post is going to diverge from my first post where i talked about what a conservancy is, and what functions they perform.

History

The Save` Valley Conservancy was formed 11 years after independence in 1991 with the approval of the Zimbabwe Government, National Parks, assisted by WWF and Beit Trust. The area previously was used for cattle ranching, as the livestock grew the environment deteriorated. Overgrazing caused degradation of topsoil and loss of all the fertile vegetation. This resulted in the landscape now becoming unproductive which brought the cattle-ranching industry to a standstill.

Present

A conservation strategy from  Zimbabwe’s Department of national parks & wildlife management came up with the formation of Save` Valley conservancy. The conservancy  focused mainly on protecting black rhino and with a growing awareness of endangered species & eco-tourism, a conservancy offered an ideal solution. The main goal of Save` Valley conservancy was to restore the lands natural vegetation state while protecting black rhino’s from extinction. Today the conservation is highly successful with a high range of bio-diversity and restoration of natural ecosystems.

Game rangers & staff dehorning a rhino to prevent poachers from killing it to get the horn.