Play a part in conserving Zimbabwe’s wildlife and trees by supporting the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit’s (VFAPU) annual fundraising Golf Day to be held on September 16 at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club, Zimbabwe.
The record $30,000 raised for VFAPU – which relies on donations to operate – at last year’s tournament was vital to its survival, and once again this year, every cent raised will go directly to the unit, as organisers, Africa Albida Tourism, cover the costs of the event.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said both sponsors and participants were still needed to take part in the event, which would ensure the continued success of VFAPU.
“Whilst the hands on field work is fundamental to the success of VFAPU, the future success of the unit will rest around the generations ahead. VFAPU takes this responsibility seriously and is involved in awareness and education programs with the schools and community in and around Victoria Falls. The unit continues to attract positive coverage from international conservationists, and to be applauded for the incredible work it does. In a perfect world, finding a wealthy philanthropic donor would be a wonderful outcome, but in the absence of such luck, once again we turn to the amazing Zimbabwean community for the support that they have shown over the last 15 years. In recognising the current cash shortage in the country, this year we have included a variety of activities in the team entry cost so that you won’t be asked to dig into your pocket further during the day,” Mr Kennedy said.
Up to 144 players, making up 36 teams, will participate in VFAPU Golf Day, one of the most enjoyable and best organised events on the golf fundraising calendar, which will also include lunch, entertainment, prizes and a charity auction.
VFAPU has arrested nearly 700 hardened poachers, since it was established by local safari operator and conservationist Charles Brightman and the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, AAT’s flagship property, in 1999.
So far, the unit, which works in support of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has also removed more than 22 000 wire snares from its operational area.
In addition, 183 mammals, including buffalo, kudu, eland and impala, injured by snares have been treated and released back into the wild.
Mr Brightman said the VFAPU team were grateful for the annual golf day, and the funds raised were vital in keeping their operations going.
“According to the World Wildlife Fund, the illegal trade in wildlife is the fifth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to $10 billion annually, ranking behind drug and weapons trafficking,” Mr Brightman said.
“This is why it is very important in this day and age for everyone to play a role in fighting the menace of poaching in our region – sponsor a scout, donate equipment, volunteer, educate yourself about poaching and help spread the word, or you can also play golf. VFAPU thanks all previous golfers that have turned out in support of our annual golf day and we welcome and invite new teams to come and have some fun, whilst playing your part in wildlife conservation.”
The $30,000 raised last year went a long way towards covering VFAPU’s $7,500 a month operational costs, which include scout salaries and vehicle repairs, Mr Brightman said. In addition, the money raised enabled the servicing and upgrading of the unit’s two-way radios.
VFAPU, which was established in an effort to fight the alarming levels of poaching, operates in a 50kmsq area around Victoria Falls, and has 17 scouts patrolling seven days a week, tackles all forms of poaching, including wood, bush meat and ivory.
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