One of Zimbabwe’s biggest parks is receiving US$1 million a year from a brand-new fund to help sustain its operations and fight against poaching, German conservationists said on Wednesday.
The money, which extends for at least 15 years and pays for ranger patrols, equipment, and other everyday needs, does so through the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS), the park’s partner.
Zimbabwe’s second-biggest reserve, the Gonarezhou National Park, covers a total of 5,000 square kilometers (2,000 square miles) in the country’s remote southeast.
It is home to at least 11,000 elephants — its name means “the place of the elephant” in the local ChiShona language. — and many black rhinoceroses, whose numbers are kept secret for security reasons.
The funds to protect wildlife in poor countries will come from a brand-new international initiative that provides conservation relief for wildlife.
The FZS’s head of communications, Dagmar Andres-Bruemmer, said the idea behind the Legacy Landscapes Fund is to provide reliable funding for basic operations in a protected area.
The donation to Gonarezhou is meant to help “keep the lights on,” despite these tough economic conditions, said AFP member Katherine Lapalange.
Countries that depend on tourism income have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Kaplan noted.
“In some parks in Africa, even rarer projects such as ground patrols could not be done due to budget cuts. So poa.c.hing picked up significantly.”
The LLF was set up in 2021 under German law, and it is a public-private fund to help close the funding gap for biodiversity conservation.
Participants include the French and German governments, Germany’s KfW Development Bank, France’s Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
“Protected and wild areas remain the mainstay of biodiversity conservation and our most useful tool at mitigating climate change across the globe,” said Hugo Van der Westhuizen, Director of Gonarezhou Conservation Trust.
“Managing these areas effectively requires long-term commitment in funding.”