Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU) 2010 report

by Charles Brightman
(Victoria Falls)

Dear VFAPU Supporters and potential Supporters

Firstly, on behalf of all of us VFAPU, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, which is so vital to our operations against the menace of poaching in our region. You are all playing a vital role in this challenge that faces us. The role that VFAPU is playing is crucial – the poaching situation would be far worse without all of our joint efforts to fight the crime of poaching. It is very encouraging to report that there has been a marked improvement in game sightings in the region, with good sightings of sizable herds of elephant and buffalo, giraffe, zebra, kudu, eland, waterbuck as well as other plains game including sable. There have also been sightings of lion, leopard and wild dog recently.

VFAPU would also like to express our gratitude to the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Victoria Falls Municipal Police and the Tourism Police for this opportunity to work together in a combined effort to conserve Zimbabwe wildlife for everyone’s benefit, present and future.

Please refer to our report below for details for our operations during the year 2010. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information.


Snares located: 443
Persons apprehended within National Park estate: 328 (5 x mammal poachers, 20 x illegal miners, 256 x wood poachers, 19 x Illegal vendors, 10 x Illegal entry into parks estate, 2 x drug dealers, 2 x thieves, 9 x fish poachers, 4 x border jumpers and 2 x smugglers)
Mammals darted: 14 (4 x buffalo, 5 x warthog, 1 x elephant, 2 x kudu, 2 x impala)
Mammals poached: 44 (12 x buffalo, 12 x impala, 2 x elephant, 2 x kudu, 2 x eland, 3 x waterbuck, 8 x warthog, 1 x sable, 2 x spotted hyena and 1 x wild dog).

January 2010

Snares located: 42
Persons apprehended: 13 (12 wood poachers, 1 fish poacher)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals found poached: 7
Species: 4 impala, 2 warthog, 1 kudu
Location/s: Big tree area, behind Vic Falls Primary School
Other: One elephant bull was found dead close to the airstrip on the Kazungula Rd, with no apparent bullet or snare wounds. The tusks were recovered by National Parks and Wildlife management Authority staff. One impala found dead by Nyathi Rest Camp as was one warthog found by Wimpy – both presumed to have been killed by vehicles.

February 2010

Snares located: 9
Persons apprehended: 23 ( 8 wood, 4 border jumpers, 3 people illegal entry to the Zambezi National Park, 5 fish, 3 curio vendors)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Warthog male
Location: Caught in a cable snare by Jays Spar cark park in Victoria Falls town.
Mammals found poached: 3
Species: 2 buffalo, 1 sable
Location/s: the buffalo were found close to the shooting range off mine field road and the sable was in the Chamabonda vlei
Other: 1 one meter crocodile found off Kazungula Rd with brain removed, possibly to be used as ‘muti’.

March 2010

Snares located: 23
Persons apprehended: 15 (8 wood, 4 curio vendors, 1 man found illegally in the park with a knife, 2 people illegal entry into Zambezi National park
Mammals darted: 3
Species: Warthog
Location: close to rainbow Hotel/railway line
Mammals found poached: 5
Species: 3 buffalo, 1 warthog and 1 spotted hyena
Location: the buffalo were north of shooting range, the warthog was by the Big tree, and the hyena was behind Vic Falls Hotel
Other: 1 female buffalo found in Bug Tree are with no snare or bullet wounds

April 2010

Snares located: 14
Persons apprehended: 12 (1 wood, 2 people illegal entry to Zambezi National Park, 8 curio vendors, 1 man selling illegal game meat)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Kudu cow
Location: Big tree
Mammals poached: 3
Species: 1 elephant bull, 1 female buffalo, 1 female eland.
Location/s: The elephant bull was found 500m from picnic site No 1 in the Zambezi national Park, the buffalo was 100m off Wood Road, the eland was found at Chamabonda salt pan.
Other; 1 impala ram found dead at golf course hole no.2 – cause of death unknown.

May 2010

Snares located: 11
Persons apprehended: 8 (5 wood, 2 curio vendors, 1 thief)
Mammals darted: 3
Species: Warthog x 1, buffalo female x 1, elephant bull x 1
Location/s: Western ridge close to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, Victoria Falls Hotel
Mammals poached: 1 buffalo cow
Location: west of shooting range
Other: 1 female buffalo found dead at Big Tree - cause of death unknown
The elephant bull that was darted died during treatment procedure and had serious septic wounds probably caused form being hit by a train or a truck.
1 female warthog was hit by a vehicle by Sprayview Hotel and the carcass was stolen by passing vehicle.
1 buffalo bull was hit by a vehicle on Kazungula Road by the Victoria Falls Primary School. VFAPU scouts tracked the buffalo for 6 km and on seeing the extent of wounds that were suffered; it was decided to shoot it.
1 elephant bull was reported to be badly wounded with a possible bullet wound and was unable to walk. This bull was seen on Liunga Loop and after follow-ups, it was located by National Parks staff and shot. A large calibre bullet was found in the elephant.

June 2010

Snares located: 42
Persons apprehended: 77 (65 wood poachers, 9 illegal miners, 1 vendor, smugglers x 2)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Male buffalo (juvenile)
Location: 400m from Ilala Lodge towards the Victoria Falls
Mammals poached: 8
Species: Elephant bull x 1 – off the Kazungula Road, buffalo bull x 2 – Chamabonda Vlei, warthogs x 5 – Chamabonda Vlei and off Wood Road.
Other: Unfortunately, the juvenile buffalo that was darted died of suffocation whilst we were trying to remove the snare around its neck.

July 2010

Snares located: 36
Persons apprehended: 26 (25 wood poachers, 1 person for illegal entry to the Zambezi National Park)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: 3
Species: Impala male x 1 – on the golf course, buffalo bull – Chamabonda Vlei by borehole No 1, spotted hyena x 1 – on the sand ridge above Sekuti’s Drift.
Other: A wounded buffalo bull was destroyed by National Parks staff close to borehole No: 1 in the Chamabonda Vlei.
1 zebra skin was found by the Scouts, hidden in a bush off the Kazungula Road west of Victoria Falls Primary School. The skin was handed over to the ZRP.

August 2011

Snares located: 49
Persons apprehended: 34 (22 wood poachers, 11 illegal miners, I drug dealer)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Female warthog – was killed by poachers with dogs, coming from communal area at night.
Location: Wood Road
Mammals poached: 2
Species: one warthog male - Masuwe River (western) and one buffalo bull – Masuwe River

September 2011

Snares located: 55
Persons apprehended: 22 (21 wood poachers, 1 mammal poacher)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: female buffalo
Location: west of Masuwe Lodge
Mammals poached: 11
Species: female buffalo – 2km west of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, 1 male warthog – golf course, 1 female waterbuck – golf course, 6 impala – golf course, 1 female kudu – golf course, 1 wild dog – golf course.
Other: A male giraffe was hit and killed by the train close to Sekuti’s Drift, one female elephant carcass was located by the old shooting range in the park and tusks were recovered – cause of death unknown.

October 2011

Snares located: 47 plus 16 Guinea Fowl snares
Persons apprehended: 50 (49 wood poachers, 1 vendor)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: juvenile female buffalo
Location: Big Tree area
Mammals poached: Nil
Other: 1 buffalo bull was destroyed by National Parks staff close to Shearwater and Adventure Zone elephant camps. It was in bad condition and was a potential threat to people. Another buffalo was hit by the train by Jafuta siding.

November 2010

Snares located: 35 plus 7 Guinea Fowls snares
Persons apprehended: 27 (21 wood poachers, 1 drug dealer, I illegal entry to the park, I mammal poacher, 3 fish poachers)
Mammals darted: 2
Species: Impala
Location: close to golf course
Mammals poached: 1
Species: Female impala
Location: 2.5km west of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
Other: Lions were in action between the Fuller Forest Ridge and Masuwe Lodge – they killed 1 buffalo and 1 antbear.

December 2011

Snares located: 52 plus 5 Guinea Fowl snares
Persons apprehended: 21 (18 wood poachers, 2 mammal poachers, 1 thief)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: Female eland
Location: Chamabonda Vlei ridge
Other: The Scouts discovered 2 hidden elephant skins in the Chamabonda sand ridges close to the old mine field road.


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