via Govt neglects ZimParks: Muchinguri – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 4, 2015
GOVERNMENT has never made any efforts to assist the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) amid a series of challenges the parastatal is facing in wildlife conservation, the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Oppah Muchinguri has said.
BY KENNEDY NYAVAYA
Muchinguri made this revelation on Tuesday while delivering her speech during the launch of Sino-Zimbabwe Wildlife Foundation in the capital.
“Since the inception of the authority no form of financial support has been extended from the fiscus,” Muchinguri said.
“The creation of this parastatal was never accompanied by a capital expenditure budget allocation from central government,” she said.
Muchinguri also said that the much-needed capital would have helped curb the diminishing state of wildlife, adding visitors’ numbers at ZimParks estates had also dwindled.
“Research has it that on its own, ZimParks has not been able to successfully commercialise profitably (and) inevitably, the cost of conservation has always outweighed the monetary benefits,” she said.
Founder and chairperson of the foundation Li Song said ZimParks and wildlife management agencies were facing immense pressure from poachers to the extent that they were difficult to contain, hence a foundation was needed to help out.
“The pressure is being piled on the authority at a time when they have very little resources to support wildlife conservation,” she said.
She added that Chinese firms had decided to channel funds towards the struggling authority to mitigate its further failures.
“The Sino-Zim Wildlife Foundation is aiming at co-ordinating methods of the Chinese public and private communities to mobilise resources and support wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe at both national and international forums,” said Li.
Last month, the Chinese government commissioned wildlife conservation material including SUVs, lorries, pickup trucks, tents, mobile radios, and others amounting to $2,3 million.
During the launch, an initial $210 000 by Chinese firms was donated; while an extra $300 000 is said to be in the pipeline and will be provided by December.
Establishment of the foundation comes at a time when debate is raging over rampant poaching in the country’s parks estates which culminated in the killing of the famous lion, Cecil, in July.