Enter your search keyword or phrase and press enter.

June 14, 2022

VFAPU Appeal to help conserve the valuable wildlife of the iconic Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU), which is largely funded by tourism was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, but against the odds the scouts arrested 291 poachers, and removed 550 snares and rescued eight injured mammals last year alone.

VFAPU was established by local safari operator and conservationist Charles Brightman and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Africa Albida Tourism’s flagship property, in 1999 to fight the alarming levels of poaching in the area. Since then, it has worked with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Victoria Falls City Council, and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to achieve many successes.

VFAPU, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and its natural habitat, operates within 50kmsq of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, home to one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as the Victoria Falls and the Zambezi National Parks.

Sadly, VFAPU’s 2021 report also reveals the carcasses of 56 mammals, including buffalo, lion, hyena, zebra, impala, warthog, kudu and waterbuck, were found, with most having been poached, highlighting the importance of their work and the need for increased resources.

“Due to the economic impact of Covid-19, a large portion of our funding which enabled us to employ our scouts, providing them with livelihoods, whilst also providing us with the logistical means to carry out our anti-poaching patrols, had to be cut back, or, in some cases, closed off completely,” Brightman said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic was not only a humanitarian crisis but a conservation crisis,” he said.

VFAPU, whose mandate is to minimise poaching activities in its area of patrol, as well as to rescue and rehabilitate animals injured by human interference, has 16 full-time scouts patrolling seven days a week, day and night.

Education is key in the fight against poaching, and VFAPU and its partners conduct several community outreach programmes to increase awareness of the need to conserve the environment for future generations.

To date, VFAPU scouts have arrested over 900 hardened poachers, removed more than 30,000 wire snares from their area of patrol and rescued over 400 mammals injured by snares, but after a very tough couple of years, Brightman is appealing for support for the vital work the unit does.

“Every little bit helps us support the wildlife and habitats in the Victoria Falls region. We must protect our wildlife for our future,” he says. “The wildlife needs your support.”

Brightman thanked those who continue to support VFAPU and appealed to anyone wishing to make a financial or goods donation to please contact Charles here.

In addition, a VFAPU golf day fundraiser will be held by Africa Albida Tourism on September 16 in Harare, Zimbabwe, and those wishing to support this event through sponsoring prizes, donations, or entering a team please email here.