Hwange National Park’s eastern boundary, which stretches for over 220kms, is maintained with the co-operation of adjacent communities. CAMPFIRE Communities in Bulilima district from Point 222 at corner with Botswana, all the way northwards through Korodziba/Makona in Tsholotsho, connecting to the Ngamo Forest boundary, provide an important conservation buffer zone. Tsholotsho district was granted Appropriate Authority Status for the management of wildlife in 1991, and has 11 Wards that benefit from the CAMPFIRE Programme.


Although human and wildlife conflict is high, local communities have voluntarily maintained the buffer area between the park boundary and the area of human settlement from which they benefit from the sustainable utilization of wildlife under CAMPFIRE.

Thys de Vries addressing a groupTsholotsho district has two safari hunting areas: Tsholotsho North (170 000ha) and Tsholotsho South (240 000ha). Lodzi Hunters operates in the south, comprising Wards 1, 7, 8, 10, and 21, where the conservation of wildlife has made significant impact on the lives of people. Below we explain how this is possible for an area that hit local and international news headlines just over three years ago following the cruel poisoning of over 100 Elephants.

What most media reports missed about this first major poisoning incident in Zimbabwe is that in fact, it was Lodzi Hunters anti-poaching scouts, after only 4 months in the area that uncovered the catastrophe of the Cyanide poisoning. In the initial 8 months of its contract (April to December 2013) Lodzi Hunters conducted 120% of the anti-poaching logistics in the South Eastern section of Hwange National Park, in addition to the Tsholotsho South CAMPFIRE area. This effort also catalyzed and galvanized other support efforts and donations to the Park from the private sector e.g. Land Rovers for ranger patrols.

Lodzi Hunters have maintained a 10 man anti-poaching team in the area to this day, which has removed over 1 000 wire snares since 2013, and works closely with Parks anti-poaching patrol teams. No new snares have been found in the area in the past year, and this is testimony to the effectiveness of this anti-poaching effort.
 
Lodzi Hunters have maintained a 10 man anti-poaching team in the area to this day, which has removed over 1 000 wire snares since 2013, and works closely with Parks anti-poaching patrol teams. No new snares have been found in the area in the past year, and this is testimony to the effectiveness of this anti-poaching effort.

Plains game populations in the Tsholotsho South CAMPFIRE area are visibly recovering. There is now a pack of 10 Wild Dogs frequenting the area; these were never seen in this area since 1996. This is living proof that the plains game is on the increase, as Wild Dogs need prey to hunt. 

Lodzi Hunters won the tender to hunt in Tsholotsho south in 2013. Communities have their own bank accounts and receive cash from the operator under a “CASH DIRECT TO THE COMMUNITY” system. This is done so the community sees what an Elephant is worth to them, the owners of that Elephant.

The current annual quota in the Tsholotsho South CAMPFIRE concession has a Trophy Elephant quota of 12 to 14 animals. On average, 13 Elephants are hunted, and the community gets 60% of the income paid as Concession Fees and Trophy Fees. The remainder goes to Tsholotsho Rural District Council (36%) and CAMPFIRE Association (4%).

Tsholotsho district generates more from trophy Elephant sold to foreign hunting clients than any other CAMPFIRE area (i.e. includes hunting days, food and drinks, a Professional Hunter and 4x4 Vehicle and the trophy fee). Tsholotsho brings a huge amount of value to the Elephant as a trophy animal. The current trophy fee for a trophy Elephant bull is nearly USD 20 000.

However, district has also been affected by declining hunter arrivals due to negative perceptions about community benefits from wildlife, which animal welfare groups are using to petition key global markets for wildlife products, resulting in the imposition of bans on elephant and lion trophy imports, and even airline embargoes on trophies as means of banning hunting in general.

Tsholotsho South Hunting Concession Actual Income Distribution: 2013-2015

 

 

2013

2014

2015

RDC

 

116,653.00

95,806.00

81,623.00

COMMUNITY

NO. OF HOUSEHOLDS

 

 

 

WARD 1

739

24,880.00

23,948.00

17,021.00

WARD 7

807

27,083.00

23,948.00

21,217.00

WARD 8

1741

28,019.00

23,948.00

12,612.00

WARD 10

718

28,019.00

29,974.00

20,834.00

WARD 21

439

28,019.00

23,948.00

21,374.00

Total beneficiaries and income to communities

4444

136,020.00

125,766.00

93,058.00

 

Lodzi Hunters are engaged in a massive, aggressive and beneficial community social responsibility programme. Over the past three and a half years, about half a million US dollars in direct cash has been spent on transport - for food (600 tons of maize), building supplies, river sand (500 tons), school children for sports and cultural events, and for the local community and the two local chiefs in general; water - drilling of boreholes and fixing and rehabilitating pumps and diesel engines, fixing and clearing out silted pans and broken dams; roads - construction of new and rehabilitating old roads; education - sponsoring school prize giving occasions, both for the event and actual prizes for pupils, sponsoring 16 pupils yearly school fees; food and drought relief - establishing grinding mills in the community, emergency livestock stock feed and baled grass to the local communities in the desperate drought month, water bowser delivery to areas where boreholes are temporarily out of action (sometimes 30 kilometers delivery distances); funeral assistance - assisting and paying for funeral costs of local community members; health – contributing to building of Rural Health Centers; and assisting with national events i.e. Independence Day, Heroes Day commemorations.  
 
Further, 90% of elephant meat is delivered from the average of 13 trophy Elephant direct to the local community throughout the 5 Wards (i.e. 23 000 kilograms of protein).
 
Lodzi Hunters also assists Hwange National Park, especially the South Eastern side of the Park, Makona and Josivanini area, and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) in general with their operations i.e. anti poaching patrols and logistics, transport, re-building of base stations, fuel, aerial reconnaissance and surveys, vehicle repairs and maintenance, and assisting with cleaning out silted pans within the Park.
 
Wildlife funded CAMPFIRE community projects in Tsholotsho District

Ward

Projects

1

  • Mono pump system for water provision.

  • Water engine parts for Nyanganyuni Line, Sihazela, Nintili, Nyadzi Line.

  • Borehole engine parts for four villages.

  • Solar pump water system at Gibixhegu and Gwabazabuya Line, in conjunction with safari operator.

  • Sihazela Primary School classroom block, in conjunction with safari operator.

2

  • Toilets for headman's courtroom.

  • Engine belts for borehole repairs at Zamazama, Sizanani, Zwananani and Thandanani villages.

  • Borehole drilled at Kope Line.

  • Water pump for water provision.

  • Solar pump water system at Dlamini Clinic and Gombalume Primary School Line

  • Construction of Bhemba Clinic.

3

  • Borehole drilled and cased at Nyelesi Village, Mtshwayeli and Ntulula.

  • Borehole at Mashula and Vulashaba Line.

  • Fifty chairs for Kapane Secondary School.

  • Classroom block at Mlevu and Mtshwayeli Primary Schools.

  • A new school under construction at Ntulula Village.

  • Re-roofed classroom block at Kapane.

4

  • Classroom block at Dibutibu Primary School

  • A mini weather station was installed at Dibutibu Line, in conjunction with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

  • Solar pump water system at Dibutibu Business Centre.

  • Ten sewing machines for Dibutibu Secondary School.

  • F14 staff cottage at Siphongweni Primary School.

  • Water storage tank and stand for Dibutibu dip tank.

5

  • Building material for classroom block at Sipepa Primary School.

  • Classroom blocks at Mcetshwa, Jakalasi, and Gwaii Primary Schools.

  • Rehabilitation of ten blair toilets at Jakalasi Primary School.

  • Mpindo classroom block, in conjunction with safari operator.

6

  • School furniture (chairs and desks) for Nkwizhu Primary School for 2 classroom blocks.

  • Boreholes drilled at Mahlosi, Manyenge, Nkwizhu, Jimila, Tshino Line.

  • Diesel generator was purchased for Tshino Primary School.

  • Rehabilitation of Mothers’ Waiting Room at Jimila Clinic.

  • School furniture (50 senior chairs and 25 senior dual desks) for Jimila Secondary Schools.

  • Tuck shops at Tshino and Zabagwadi Line.

  • Teachers’ cottage at Mahlaba Primary School.

  • Two classroom blocks at Nkwizhu Primary School.

7

  • Lister engine and water tank at Pumula Village.

  • 7km piped water scheme at Gulalikabili.

  • Diesel pump engine at Phelandaba Primary School, in conjunction with the safari operator.

  • Classroom block and teachers cottage re-roofed at Phelela and Mpilo Primary School.

  • Community Hall and general dealer store constructed at Patalika.

  • Barrier to ward off elephants away from crop fields was set up at Phelela Line, through GEF/World Bank funded HSBC project.

8

  • Tshitatshawa Clinic, 99% complete. Staff cottages roofed.

  • Borehole installed at Tshitatshawa Clinic.

  • Fencing of Tshitatshawa Clinic.

  • Solar pump water system at Folosi Line.

  • Classroom block and tennis court at Mbiriya Primary School.

  • Borehole at Mbiriya Primary School.

9

  • Building material for construction of the second wing at Jowa Clinic.

  • Chief Tategulu’s court house.

  • 30 wheelbarrows, 30 shovels and 30 picks for rehabilitation of dams.

  • Classroom block constructed at Malindi in Ward 9.

10

  • F14 staff cottage at Zibalongwe Primary School.

  • Rehabilitation of classroom block at Zibalongwe Primary School.

  • Three boreholes at Manganga village, Sikente Secondary School and Mtshina Line.

  • Maphane community hall.

  • Sikente Clinic completed.

21

  • Five pump minder kits.

  • Six Lister water pump engines.

  • 5 000 litre water storage tank.

  • Borehole at Tshibizina for clinic site.

  • Chief Tategulu’s court house.

 

Safari Operator Social contribution
Lodzi Hunters are engaged in a massive and beneficial community social responsibility programme. Over the past three and a half years, about half a million US dollars in direct cash has been spent on transport - for food (600 tons of maize), building supplies, river sand (500 tons), school children for sports and cultural events, and for the local community and the two local chiefs in general; water - drilling of boreholes and fixing and rehabilitating pumps and diesel engines, fixing and clearing out silted pans and broken dams; roads - construction of new and rehabilitating old roads; education - sponsoring school prize giving occasions, both for the event and actual prizes for pupils, sponsoring 16 pupils yearly school fees; food and drought relief - establishing grinding mills in the community, emergency livestock stock feed and baled grass to the local communities in the desperate drought month, water bowser delivery to areas where boreholes are temporarily out of action (sometimes 30 kilometers delivery distances); funeral assistance - assisting and paying for funeral costs of local community members; health – contributing to building of Rural Health Centers; and assisting with national events i.e. Independence Day, Heroes Day commemorations.   
 
Further, 90% of elephant meat is delivered from the average of 13 trophy Elephant direct to the local community throughout the 5 Wards (i.e. 23 000 kilograms of protein). Lodzi Hunters also assists Hwange National Park, especially the South Eastern side of the Park, Makona and Josivanini area, and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) in general with their operations i.e. anti poaching patrols and logistics, transport, re-building of base stations, fuel, aerial reconnaissance and surveys, vehicle repairs and maintenance, and assisting with cleaning out silted pans within the Park.
 
No new cases of cyanide poisoning have been recorded in Tsholotsho District this year. Anti-poaching awareness campaigns are regularly conducted. Communities have prioritized the construction of sub-offices for anti-poaching and problem animal control to service hot spot areas around Phelandaba and Mtshwayeli.

 

The result:

No new cases of cyanide poisoning have been recorded in Tsholotsho District this year. Anti-poaching awareness campaigns are regularly conducted.

Communities have prioritized the construction of sub-offices for anti-poaching and problem animal control to service hot spot areas around Phelandaba and Mtshwayeli.

Please kindly donate and support this conservation effort.