GOAL: To rescue Chizarira National Park and tackle the poaching crisis
ACTIONS: Establish a management policy that integrates the surrounding communities so the park will be sustainable long into the future
Chizarira National Park is particularly significant to elephants given its strategically important location in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, and home to over half of Africa’s remaining elephants. However, in 2016, the Great Elephant Census identified Chizarira National Park as the epicentre of the poaching epidemic in northern Zimbabwe. The elephant population was estimated at 750, down 75% since 2006, with over 400 elephant carcasses littering the park. Born Free is supporting National Park Rescue, with the explicit aim of identifying and rescuing protected areas, in making Chizarira a haven for wildlife once more.
Born Free supports a Community Rations Supply Scheme, designed to replace ration hunting. Ration hunts were implemented across Zimbabwe in 2008, permitting park rangers to hunt a quota of game species for their own rations each year. This policy reduced game numbers, made the wildlife frightened of vehicles and people, and created ambivalence towards wildlife within the ranger team. The Community Rations Supply Scheme aims to feed the park rangers almost exclusively with food sourced from the communities surrounding the park. Communities will supply produce for the park rangers, benefiting the local economy and reducing the impact on the game in the national park.
Additionally, Born Free is contributing to the Chizarira Microeconomy Ranger Scheme to provide a supportive and stable working environment for the rangers, assist in their personal development and encourage high performance in the line of duty. Rangers will be rewarded for their high performance and encouraged to invest in education and training. This scheme links the value of ranger rewards with tangible conservation successes in the park, so that rewards increase over time as the conservation situation in the park improves.