Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) plans to roll out a wildlife restocking exercise in Hwange and Tsholotsho Districts as part of efforts to ensure communities derive benefits from the resource.
The project falls under the Hwange Sanyati Biological Corridor (HSBC) and would see Sidinda ward under Hwange Rural District Council (HRDC) being restocked with different species that will be managed by the community.
Representatives from different stakeholder organisations recently visited one of the sites where restocking is underway.
ZimParks acting director responsible for conservation, Mr Arthur Musakwa, said the project would be rolled out in phases starting June this year.
“We are going to be restocking Sidinda ward with non-carnivorous animals that will include buffalo, sable, zebra, giraffe, impala, water buck and many more grazers and browsers. This will be done in phases with the exercise starting between June and July after the rains,” he said.
“We realised that the only way people can conserve wildlife is to ensure that they get direct benefits from wildlife management. The community here must be applauded for having maintained their ecosystem, which has been very suitable for turning Sidinda into a sanctuary.”
Mr Musakwa said preparations for the restocking exercise were at an advanced stage with the construction of two base stations, which will be used for anti-poaching processes having been completed.
ZimParks would train community game scouts in resources protection among other things. The animals will be kept in holding bomas over a period of three weeks before they are released into the wild to allow them to acclimatise and adjust to the new environment, he said.
Mr Musakwa said the project would benefit the community through non consumptive activities such as photographic safaris while harvesting for meat will be done on a moderate basis over a period of time.
“We want to create and promote non- consumptive activities, which are sustainable and can improve income for communities involved,” he said.
Mr Musakwa also said live sales would be conducted after exceeding carrying capacity with alternative land use being considered.
He said the project would be funded by the World Bank at a cost of $5.6 million covering 5.4 hectares of land over a period of two years.
The initiative is expected to support the Campfire system that will open new opportunities to communities and allow them to play a greater role in the management of their natural resources.
Mr Musakwa urged other rural district councils to emulate what HRDC was doing to derive benefits from their natural resources.
Meanwhile, Chief Shana welcomed the move to reintroduce wildlife in the area describing it as a positive development.
Sidinda ward used to be home to a variety of wildlife species before poaching activities mostly by Zambians decimated their numbers.