Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit report 2012

by Charles Brightman
(Victoria Falls 17th January 2013)

Dear Supporters

Firstly, we would like to thank our supporters and followers for such incredible support, which is so very crucial to our efforts in fighting poachers and their criminal ways. I cannot emphasise enough just how important it is for us to ALL stand together to fight poaching in all its forms. The increase in poaching is currently highlighted with the tragic plight of the rhinos and the increase in elephant poaching, but we must remain committed to the cause no matter what.

I pay tribute to all the dedicated Game Scouts who are out there every day throughout our region, risking a great deal to save our wildlife.

Please refer to a break-down of statistics for the year listed below. Should you require any additional or more detailed information, please contact me on the contacts listed above.

Thanks also to National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Victoria Falls Municipal Police and the Tourism Police.


Snares located: 270
Persons apprehended within National Park estate: 282 - (11 x mammal poachers, 20 x illegal miners, 215 x wood poachers, 7 x Illegal vendors, 19 x fish poachers, 10 grass cutters)
Mammals darted: 6 (2 x warthog, 2 x waterbuck, 2 x buffalo)
Mammals poached: 17 (5 x impala, 4 x warthog, 3 x kudu, 4 x buffalo, 1 x elephant)

January 2012

Snares located: 38
Persons apprehended: 12 (9 wood poachers, 3 mammal poachers)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals found poached: 3
Species: Impala x 2, 1 elephant
Location/s: Impala were poached at the golf course. The elephant carcass was located on the sand ridges approximately 2km for Sekuti. It was an old carcass and a bullet entry was found, with the ivory taken.
Other: One eland was found dead in the Chamabonda Vlei and the cause of death is not certain. A female waterbuck was also found dead on the golf course and again, the cause of death is not known

February 2012

Snares located: 8
Persons apprehended: 27 (21 wood poachers, 6 illegal miners)
Mammals darted: 2
Species: Warthog male – with wire snare around its snout. One waterbuck
Location: The warthog was darted in the Sprayview aerodrome suburbs and the waterbuck was darted on the golf course.
Mammals found poached: 0
Species: 0
Location/s: 0
Other: 50 Church followers were found conducting baptisms in the Masuwe River without permission from NPWMA and were advised to make correct applications to the authorities in order to conduct further business.
More telephone copper wire has been cut along the Woodlands Road and most likely to now be used as snares.

March 2012

Snares located: 36
Persons apprehended: 48 (30 wood poachers, 4 illegal curio vendor, 14 illegal miners)
Mammals darted: 2
Species: 1 waterbuck and 1 warthog.
Location: The waterbuck was darted in the Big Tree area and the warthog was darted in the grounds of the Victoria Falls Hotel. Both were injured from wire snares.
Mammals found poached: 1
Species: Warthog.
Location: In the Big Tree area.
Other: Three buffalos were shot by NPWMA staff in the Maswue Lodge area. A lion was hit and killed by the train by Jafuta siding. One buffalo skin was found dumped in a bush by the Kazungula/Mkhosana Roads

April 2012

Snares located: 16
Persons apprehended: 7 (2 wood poachers, 2 fish poacher, 2 mammal poacher)
Mammals darted: Nil
Species: Nil
Location: Nil
Mammals found poached: Nil
Species: Nil
Location: Nil
Location/s: Nil
Other: One elephant was found dead in the Zambezi River and the cause of death is not certain.
2 poachers were seen leaving Chamabonda Vlei, carrying bags and follow up patrols did not locate anything further.

May 2012

Snares located: 34
Persons apprehended: 13 (13 wood)
Mammals darted: Nil
Species: Nil
Location: Nil
Mammals found poached: 5
Species: 2 impala, 2 warthogs and 1 kudu
Location: the impala were poached on the golf course, the warthogs were found in the Big Tree area and the kudu was poached in the Chamabonda Vlei
Other: One elephant bull found dead in the Big Tree area close to the railway line, cause of death not certain.
A contact deep in the Zambezi National Park resulted in one Zambian poacher being shot and wounded. He was arrested and was part of a gang that had shot a number
of elephants in the region.

June 2012

Snares located: 15
Persons apprehended: 11 (10 wood, 1 mammal poacher)
Mammals darted: nil
Mammals poached: 1
Species: 1 impala
Location: Nyathi Valley
Other: One buffalo bull was shot by NPWMA staff by Masuwe Lodge – it had an injury on the left leg.
A male bushbuck was hit and killed by the train by Sekuti.
Lions killed a buffalo close to VFAPU base camp.

July 2012

Snares located: 39
Persons apprehended: 41 (30 wood, 10 grass cutters, 1 mammal)
Mammals darted: nil
Mammals poached: 3
Species: 2 x kudu, 1 x warthog
Location: Below the helicopter pad and close to Nyathi Valley
Other: This month saw the scouts working day and night to combat poachers. The poachers tactics are to set up snare lines and then drive the mammals through the snares, then remove all the snares afterwards. We have seen an increase in attempts to catch warthogs, with poachers setting snares over the entrances to the burrows.
There were several incursions into the southern section of the park by poachers hunting with dogs.

August 2012

Snares located: 21
Persons apprehended: 28 (all wood poachers)
Mammals darted: 1
Species: Buffalo
Location: Close to the Big Tree
Mammals poached: Nil
Other: A massive bush fire devastated large areas of bush stretching from Botwana/Kazungula through to Chamabonda and some northern sections of the Zambezi National Park. Over several days, VFAPU Scouts joined many volunteers, Vic Falls residents and operators in fighting the fire which eventually was brought under control.

Gun shots were heard at 21:00hrs on the 16th August in the golf course area. After a follow-up was conducted, we discovered vehicle and human tracks, but no blood spoor was detected.

September 2012

Snares located: 9
Persons apprehended: 13 (12 wood, 1 mammal)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: 3
Species: Buffalo
Location: Rainforest area.
Other: Full moon poaching remains a problem, with poachers moving at night and hunting with dogs in the Chamabonda/Sekuti areas.
One buffalo bull was shot by Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, as it was in very bad condition caused by a poachers copper wire snare on the front leg.
A young buffalo was found dead close to the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge – cause of death presumed to be from lion or hyena.
A pack of dogs from Vic Falls town whose owners have neglected or abandoned have taken to hunting in the game corridors and have killed a numbers of kudu, impala, bushbuck and warthogs. With thanks to Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust, Dr Zishiri and Mr Mbewe from National Parks, four of these dogs were euthanized.
The mammal poachers (suspected of poaching buffalo plus selling game meat) was sentenced to 4 months jail time.

0ctober 2012

Snares located: 12
Persons apprehended: 20 (17 wood, 3 fish)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: Nil
Other: One female buffalo (by Rainforest) and one female waterbuck (by the golf course) were found dead and the cause of death is unknown.

November 2012

Snares located 22
Persons apprechended: 25 ( 3 vendors, 1 mammal, 21 wood)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: 1 buffalo
Location: between Ilala Lodge and the railway line loop along Zambezi Drive.
Other: A further 2 feral dogs from Vic Falls town were euthanized, after they were witnessed killing young impala on the golf course.

December 2012

Snares located: 20
Persons apprehended: 39 (2 mammal, 22 wood, 14 fish, 1 person selling game meat)
Mammals darted: Nil
Mammals poached: Nil
Other: The two mammal poachers were successfully caught after ambushes were laid at the site of the snare lines, where they were attempting to trap buffalos that move between Chamabonda/Mine Field road to the Zambezi River.
One elephant bull was shot by National Parks after investigations had shown that it had probably been hit by a vehicle or a train. The elephant had a compound fracture on the rear left leg and nothing could been done to treat this.

VFAPU congratulates National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority on their recent successes against Zambian based commercial poachers in our region. A job well done. VFAPU looks forward to continued joint operations, working together throughout 2013.

Thanks to Alison Baker, Ian Du Preez and the Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust for their valuable assistance during our operations.

“Fighting poaching together to save Zimbabwe’s wildlife, for future generations to come”

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