Zimbabwe, Zambia

Kariba & Middle Zambezi

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Conservation in our Gache Gache Wilderness Area

Conservation in our Gache Gache Wilderness Area

Conservation in our Gache Gache Wilderness Area

A HUGE THANK YOU goes to all our donors who, no matter how large or small the donation, are all helping to contribute towards our Gache Gache Environment Protection Services (EPS).  EPS are doing a great job keeping the poachers at bay and protecting both wildlife and fish in the Gache Gache Wilderness Area (GGWA) that was formed by Chapungu Safaris and is now seriously improving the fishing and game viewing for you and future generations to benefit from!

EPS relies solely on donations and the CHALLENGE is still out there... to all Local and Regional Corporates to equal or better the great donations made by Dr Kuda, Giles Mcclelland from the UK, Gaeton Brandt also from the UK who all donated $1000, and then to Ox Drilling who rose to the challenge and bettered it by $100 making a $1,100 donation!! RAM Petroleum, TREK 1 Petroleum, and F. Neill & Sons, our monthly donors, donate between $200 up to $1000 MONTHLY! Various other donors have so far also given cash and various goods to EPS, such as uniforms, meat, camping equipment, cooking pots and pans, etc.  And some have set up a monthly stop-order which is really helping us sustain the operation.  If any business out there can help by donating something related to their own business such as an offer for uniforms, food, fuel, radios, boats! Motors, life jackets for the anti-poaching side as well as hay bales, molasses, salt, transport etc. for feeding the animals... you would be helping this conservation project and the team tremendously.  These guys are Volunteers from the local Community... they are doing their bit for Conservation and are putting their lives at risk daily for our children’s future! One of our scouts had his arm broken by a poacher hitting him with an oar! By helping, you would be commending the team for their great efforts and achievements.  Chapungu Safaris has put in a lot of time, energy, and money into this project and we would hate to see it all fade away due to lack of funding.   

REMEMBER, IT IS AN ONGOING PROJECT & YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT IS NEEDED! - Fuel is a major expense as it is used in boats and vehicle patrols as well as carting the poachers and their confiscated boats to the Police Station in Kariba together with our team leader, Tapson, who then has to appear in court later again to testify, making it a 160 km roundtrip each time they travel... Uniforms are needed all the time as they do get worn out very quickly in the bush, so whether in cash or kind it all helps hugely towards the above and the team’s food and salaries... and morale! ... And the animals are always hungry and to keep them in our area where they are protected to a degree it takes a lot of feeding.

FEEDING PROGRAMMES                                                                                                                               
We have managed to bring the breeding areas for the ducks and geese under control to a degree, and they have therefore increased in number, as we are feeding them with Sorghum, maize and Rapocko every day, morning and evening. Trouble is when the lake rises, as it has been doing recently again... the feeding area dwindles and the ducks move off temporarily...  We are also feeding in our wildlife area with hay bales, salt licks & molasses during the year. This keeps many animals in the area including Elephant, Buffalo, Eland, Warthog, Water buck, Bushbuck, Impala etc. making our game drives from the lodge increasingly more interesting for our residents. The animals have tamed down and are not frightened off by the game-viewing vehicle, so, for YOU our Guests, taking photos is that much easier. The wildlife needs to continue to be protected and supported at all costs for future generations to also benefit.
                                                                           
Fighting Fish & Wildlife Poaching in GGWA UPDATE
•National Parks, Council & EPS (Environment Protection Services) have arrested over 200 poachers to date; others have been fined, or severely warned.                            •Identified various snares and poachers were tracked and sometimes found, sometimes not found. Often their clothing and salt found hidden in the bushes, so confiscated.           •Many poachers’ boats have been sunk and illegal nets burnt continuously. Illegal buyers of fish coming in by road have been arrested and situation under control with no major incidents of late.
•2 illegal fishermen have been lost to crocodile in the Gache Gache River in last couple of months
• Wildlife poachers have started digging trenches to ensnare the buffalo and other animals in the Gache Gache Wildlife area – seems we are going back to the dark ages...
                                            
TAPSON CHIBAYAMAGORA is a Tonga born local (EPS TEAM LEADER) his comments are as follows:-
The area around the Gache Gache Lodge i.e. the south bank of the eastern basin of Lake Kariba has been teaming with illegal poachers and fishermen, who net large amounts of fish and destroy the natural breeding sanctuary for fish in the river system. Illegal catches of 10 tonnes and more a day are no exaggeration. Local fishermen with legal licences in the area were concerned about the fish poaching as it was also impacting their own livelihoods and a group of four community members approached Gache Gache Lodge for assistance to put a stop to this. The Lodge responded positively to the community fishermen and to date have supported them with uniforms, boats and motors, fuel and vehicles to transport them around the area and take poachers to the Kariba police station. Local National Parks, Nyaminyami Rural District Council, police and the surrounding community are all working together, despite their limited resources, to conserve, protect and rehabilitate this beautiful area.

Tapson described a typical day of anti-poaching activities. Their day starts at sunrise when they go out into the bush looking for snares and captured animals. He said they can find anything up to 60 snares a day which they dismantle and destroy. Then as the sun sets, they begin to get ready for the night watch on the water. A patrol can be anything from four to seven days out in the bush and on the water.  Tapson says: ‘’within the first four months, we managed to start to control illegal activities in this area, we are fighting for and protecting our heritage and we will continue to do so. We don’t want our future generations to read about and see a picture of a Tiger Fish in a book… We want them to see a beautiful, live fish in the lake.’’

HISTORY:  The Community Anti-Poaching team started patrolling in October 2010 and on their first night they caught 19 poachers, confiscated seven boats and illegal nylon nets which stretch for kilometres in the waters. To date, the Gache Gache Anti Poaching Unit has successfully caught and arrested 200 poachers, impounded 120 illegal boats and the nylon nets are burnt so that they cannot be used again. A number of successful convictions have resulted in jail terms, fines and severe warnings. Word is now out within the local community area...

GACHE GACHE IS A ZERO TOLERANCE ZONE FOR POACHERS AND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES  
Positive results are already being felt in the GGWA, wildlife has come back into the area and the levels of fish have noticeably risen. The rod and line fishing has improved dramatically with catches equalling those of 10 years ago,  as many local fishing teams have experienced! 
Legal community fishermen in legal fishing zones outside of the wilderness area are experiencing improved catches. The local community have since asked the anti poaching unit if they would be able to extend their activities right down the river to protect a larger area. To do this we need boats, motors and more support from YOU all!!

ENDORSMENT
K.I.T.F.T. (Kariba International Tiger Fishing Tournament) have fully endorsed & also donated cash to EPS & GGWA & encourage others to support this public private community partnership approach to conservation & communities. TOGETHER WE CAN SAVE A UNIQUE WILDERNESS AREA OF ZIMBABWE.
COMMENT:  ‘’I am encouraged by the dedication & passion of this community anti-poaching team & amazed at how fast wildlife & fish have come back into this area over such a short time. Please, I encourage you all to support the protection of the GGWA’’ - Ray Townsend Director Chapungu Safaris t/a Gache Gache Lodge.

Please contact Pat today on townsend@zol.co.zw or Toni on gachegachelodge@chapungusafaris.co.zw for bank details or other ways in which you can help towards this good cause.

August 2012 Update
In the past month, EPS has experienced an increase in poaching activities, both with fishing and animal life, and we believe it is due to the completion of the harvesting of crops. Now that there is no work for the people out in the rural areas, the people are coming from as far as Magunje to poach. Trying to keep the nets out of the water is proving a huge challenge due to the vast number that is going into the water daily, and we have also discovered that the poachers are using the pit trap to kill buffalo and hippo along with anything else that happens to fall into the deep pits. They are digging deep trenches and covering them with a light camouflage of grass and leaves and when stood on, gives way and the animals fall in and can't get out. When the poachers return, the animal is then speared…

Continuous funding is desperately needed in order to really get on top of these ever growing problems. We are constantly arresting fish and wildlife poachers in the Gache Gache Wilderness Area, and we are winning albeit at a slow pace. Fuel is one of the greatest needs as mentioned already, the boats and vehicles use a large quantity on their patrols as well as transporting the poachers to jail and then attending court at a later date.  Further funding, preferably on a monthly stop order basis, would go a long way towards the daily activities of the EPS Team.

WHO WE HAVE SPONSORED IN TURN…
During the past few months, Gache Gache Lodge has supported several fundraising events such as the SPCA Fundraiser held at Wingate Golf Country Club in May, where we donated a 2 night stay for two adults as part of the 1st prize, which was won by Mr. Dirk Benade who used up his prize at the end of July. Also in May, Gache Gache hosted Turbo Glass’ annual “Turbo Charge” where they kindly offered to raise some cash to donate toward the EPS Team by having a raffle with the prize of 2 nights at Gache Gache Lodge, for two people. This raised $500 and the winner was Mr. Richard Bloxham who hasn’t come to stay with us as yet as he lives in Bulawayo.   As many of you may have seen in emails going around, Mr. Bill Green celebrated his 100th Birthday last week Tuesday! As congratulations, we have offered him a two night stay also! We hope Gache Gache Lodge will be hosting him soon!

HELPING OURSELVES
Going onto our EPS RAFFLE that I am sure a few of you have already heard about… we have finally won the battle with the Lotteries and Gaming Board and we are back on track with their approval to hold this raffle.  As at the end of this week hopefully, our tickets will be on sale at $10.00 each.  The raffle draw is going to be held on the 25th of November 2012 at Gache Gache Lodge in Kariba. All proceeds are to go to EPS! WE THANK ALL THOSE WHO HAVE DONATED PRIZES, IT IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! If anyone can sell raffle tickets for us please shout asap!! The prizes are as follows:

1st Prize: (Value: +$1000) - Accommodation for 2 people for 3 nights @ TIGER SAFARIS - self-catering, PLUS 2 nights for 2 people @ GACHE GACHE LODGE - catered, $180 Dulux Paint fm TELFORD MICA, $100 voucher fm MASTER ANGLER, $50 voucher fm FRUIT & VEG CITY., $50 voucher fm The BUTCHER’S KITCHEN, $50 voucher fm TADA Teak & Iron.

2nd Prize: (Value: +$500) - $100 voucher fm KEFALOS Cheese, $100 voucher fm MASTER ANGLER, Hamper fm LUIPARDAL, MARIO’S Photo Shoot Voucher, 360’ BAR & GRILL dinner for 2, $50 voucher FRUIT & VEG, Hamper fm KITCH n SYNC, $50 Hairdressing voucher fm ‘HAIR DO’, Watch fm GEM DESIGN, MAC BROTHERS set of 12 Wine Glasses.

3rd Prize: (Value: +$250) - Hunter/Fisherman year’s Subscription fm MAGSET PUBLICATIONS; $50 voucher fm FEREDAYS, LUIPARDAL Hamper, 3 bags from LOBITO, $50 Voucher fm MILLERS CAFE, Hamper fm KITCH n SYNC, Watch fm GEM DESIGN & T Shirt fm OPTIONS.

For more info or if you would like buy a Raffle Ticket, please contact Pat on +263 772 264 159 or +263 772 285 691 or email on townsend@zol.co.zw

Or contact Toni on +263 778 460 033 or email on gachegachelodge@chapungusafaris.co.zw

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 10, Sept 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Kariba & Middle Zambezi