By Isdore Guvamombe
Fundraising for anti-poaching of elephants in Hwange National Park, where more than 100 elephant were killed through cyanide poisoning, has gone overdrive with the board of trustees set up by Government in September stopping at nothing to effect zero poaching.
Cyanide, is a fast-acting poison, that was stockpiled as a chemical weapon in the arsenals of both the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and that requires up to a generation to bio-degrade on a large scale.
Environmentalists say the effects of the cyanide are likely to take a generation to wear off as it is assimilated in crops and ground water to affect an even wider area from where it was administered.
The board of trustees has so far acquired 23, 4×4 vehicles, for use by National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers and come up with a coterie of strategies to ensure that the Hwange and several other parks are sealed off from marauding poachers.
In an interview yesterday, one of the trustees Mr Major Mahlangu said they were stopping at nothing to revive the anti-poaching units.
"So far, we have raised 23 vehicles, 20 from Mbada Diamonds, two from Zimoco and one from Econet Wireless. We are raising more.
"This came out of the realisation that national parks were so depleted to the point that there were using about one vehicle in radius of 120km in Hwange National Park and we want to reduce that to a ratio of one vehicle to about 10-15 km for effective anti-poaching.
"We have also partnered Econet Wireless to equip each of the vehicles with radio communication and tracking equipment for easy communication. Econet will also construct base stations in the affected areas for easy communication.
"We realised that national parks have a workshop at Hwange National Park where some broken vehicles are kept un-repaired and Zimoco, sent one of its foremen to assess the situation and work on bringing them back on the road. Most of them have minor problems that can easily be sorted out. More....