Zimparks, IFAW partnership flourishes

By Tichaona Kurewa

The partnership between Zimparks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is bearing fruit following the transformation of Makona ranger outpost in Hwange National Park to a modern stand-alone station.

The new Makona Station will enable the swift reaction to human wildlife conflict in the nearby Tsholotsho community and increase patrols within the park.

A media tour of the solar powered Makona Station revealed that eight out of the twelve three bedroomed semi-detached houses and administration blocks have been completed, awaiting commissioning next month.

Zimparks spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo told journalists in Hwange that the expanded camp will reduce poaching incidences around Makona area which was previously considered a poaching hotspot.

“This camp is key to most of our operations. It will be easy to deploy our rangers this side of Hwange National Park as well to deploy rangers within the adjacent community. Prior to the setting up of this station, rangers were being deployed from Hwange Main Camp located 100km away,” he said.

IFAW Spokesperson, Luckmore Safuli indicated that more was in the pipeline under the partnership

“We are excited about the significant strides that have been made so far in the implementation of the value-driven conservation agreement with ZimParks. Our interventions are aimed at addressing key conservation challenges in and around Hwange National Park. A key achievement under the IFAW-ZimParks agreement has been the construction of the new Makona ranger station.”

Other structures being set up at the camp include an entertainment centre and operation room for rangers.

The partnership between Zimparks and IFAW is a five-year programme which started in 2019.

To date, more than US$3 million has been invested in Hwange National Park under the partnership.