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The Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit

VFAPU-iconAbout the Project

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and its natural habitat. Situated in a National Park, the town of Victoria Falls is located in one of the most beautiful environments on earth.  However with the beauty of the location comes some heavy burdens of human and animal conflicts. VFAPU tries to ease some of the burdens by protecting the wildlife and habitat from poachers (subsistence and commercial), as well rescue and rehabilitate animals injured by human interference.  Additionally, we try to find employment for ex-poachers so that they have a sustainable income without doing harm to flora and fauna. Education is also important, and VFAPU and its partners try to reach children at an early age through school and community awareness programs.

Before the VFAPU stepped in . . .

More than 19,000 poaching snares were strewn throughout the national parks. Unfortunately, when animals are caught in these traps, it can often take them several days to die.

Subsistence poaching was occurring at a highly threatening rate. This form of animal poaching is done by locals to get bush meat to eat and sell. In fact, central and southern Africa consume more than 1.9 million tons of bush meat each year - a large contributor to the Zambezi River Valley's wildlife devastation. These subsistence poachers often kill kudu, impala, buffalo, waterbuck, zebra, and warthog for their bush meat and then sell the meat for profit.

Environmental poaching was a large contributor to eco-system and habitat destruction. This form of poaching involves the act of deforestation or removing plants, soil, and sand from the environment. Locals cut down trees and other flora for fuel, firewood to cook, and for building expensive furniture. Other times, they use natural resources such as sand to build shelter and structures.

Elephants and rhinos were being poached at a highly excessive rate for their tusks or horns, feet, and skin. This form of poaching is also known as commercial poaching and is primarily done by poverty-stricken locals who are looking for a form of income.

Programs initiated by the VFAPU to retaliate against poaching:

Animal rescue and rehabilitation programs: Animals who are injured or snared by humans have the opportunity to survive thanks to the VFAPU's hard-working volunteers and support team. Often snared on the face or limbs, animals can become horribly wounded and suffer until rescued. Through private donations, medicines such as antibiotics and sedation drugs, can be administered to animals in need of rescue.

Once these animals are rescued and rehabilitated, they can be released and reunited with their offspring and herds / social groups.

Wildlife and habitat protection programs: Currently employing more than a dozen scouts to survey the Zambezi River Valley region and prevent poaching activities, the VFAPU has arrested more than 360 poachers and has taken great measures to set an example in the area.

School and community awareness programs: Through song, dance, and story, the VFAPU is working to bring poaching awareness to the local communities and educate youth on the environmental and community consequences of poaching. Through these programs, children and adults alike participate in theatrical performances that educate the local population, and kids from nearby schools are brought to visit the area's Elephant Camp to learn about the elephants of the Zambezi River Valley and their importance to the environment.

VFAPU also provides educational demonstrations on the rapid consumption of natural resources for fuel and educates locals on alternative materials that can be used in place of these natural resources.

Ex-poacher employment programs: Working with a variety of employers, the VFAPU seeks self-sustaining job opportunities for former poachers. Some of these employment opportunities include textile making, clothing production, and legal wood carving jobs with the Forestry Commission.

Although the complete elimination of poaching in the Victoria Falls National Park and Zambezi National Park is still a great ways away, VFAPU has made phenomenal strides in Zimbabwe wildlife conservation since their beginnings, and continues to implement their vision for a poaching-free Zimbabwe.

Support VFAPU - support wildlife conservation!
Telephone: +263 712 209 144
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.vfapu.org/


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