Anti Poaching Bases
The CWF Kennedy Anti Poaching Unit (APU) base is on the Kennedy Annex concession, which is leased from National Railways of Zimbabwe by one of our members, The Hide Safari Camp. This land borders Hwange National Park (HNP) and is well situated centrally in the CWF project area, with good road access both into HNP and into the forest areas outside the park. Another CWF APU base is in Sikumi Forest (in collaboration with the Hideaways’ Elephant’s Eye, Hwange Lodge). Our newest APU base, in collaboration with Imvelo Safari Lodges, is in the Bomani Concession in the Ngamo Forest.
CWF APU bases are manned by CWF scouts with a Forest Guard seconded by the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ). Close to the CWF project area are three APUs manned by Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) within HNP, one manned by PDC in the Sikumi Forest area and one manned by Wilderness Safaris at the eastern-most point of HNP. See map below.
This map shows the three CWF APU bases (red dots), three ZPWMA APU bases (black dots), a PDC APU (orange dot) and a Wilderness Safaris APU (blue dot). We plan to build another APU base in the North at Inyantue, a hotspot of illegal access and activity.
The CWF scouts are the unsung heroes of our operation. Most of the men come from nearby communities and have previous experience with wildlife-related work. They work on a three week on, one week off roster. Every day of the year at least one CWF APU is out walking the area and in 2019 the foot patrols covered a total of 6,785 km! The men are deployed in interchangeable sticks, on both routine and specially-requested patrols, where most needed.
CWF scouts carry only batons, handcuffs and pepper spray, so all patrols and investigations include an armed scout from one of the wildlife authorities: ZPWMA or FCZ. This is for the safety of the scouts and to ensure the patrols and any arrests made are legal. CWF helps these organisations with transport, training and some supplies.
Generally, two or three CWF scouts will join with one armed FCZ Forest Guard to form an APU which is positioned in the project area to remove snares and track poachers. There can be more than one APU deployed at any one time. CWF supplies rations for the FCZ Forest Guards who are usually seconded to us on three-week rotations.
CWF personnel join armed ZPWMA rangers to react to cases of poisoning, reports of poachers in an area and other wildlife crimes as they arise. CWF generally provides the transport and rations for these excursions.
Thanks to our generous supporters:
- Author Tony Park and friends sent money to supply our scouts with strong new boots in June 2020
- A donation from Safari Professionals (USA) funded professional new uniforms for the scouts in February 2019
- Brian Courtenay of SATIB Insurance donates medical insurance cover for the scouts and Field Coordinator
- Dr Wolfgang and Dr Gisela Hennig organised the donation of a top-quality pair of Steiner binoculars for the scouts
- Clarry Viljoen of Taita Trading gave us a very good price for new tyres for the CWF Land Cruiser
- Askari Safari donated first aid items, torches and other patrol equipment for the scouts.
CWF, with staff from ZPWMA, responds to reports of dead animals whose deaths look at all suspicious. These reports must be reacted to as quickly as possible in case poisoning is the cause, so as to prevent more animals dying as a result of either ingesting the same poison or eating the poisoned carcass. The carcasses are visited to ascertain the cause of death and, where necessary, samples are taken to send for testing – it is important to know and record the causes of mortality to help ZPWMA plan their management. CWF Field Coordinator Steve Alexander is the only person based inside HNP with the equipment and technical expertise to test for cyanide poisoning. CWF works closely with Dr Chris Foggin, who runs a dedicated wildlife veterinary laboratory for Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust.
Snares are well hidden, and it often takes trained people to detect them. Many types of wildlife are caught in snares – sometimes rare animals like African wild dogs and cheetah get caught and die – posing a very real threat to the survival of these endangered species. The CWF team responds to snared and injured animals – and, where possible, will call in someone qualified to dart the animal and then they will remove the snare.
462 snares were brought in by CWF scouts in 2019. Most of these were made of stolen telephone wire, which will catch small to medium size prey, but occasionally stronger cable snares are found which would catch even the largest game.
CWF scouts removed a snare from the neck of a giraffe which had been darted for the procedure. After the tranquiliser wore off the giraffe got up and walked away.