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The Zambezi Society is delighted to announce that we have once again been nominated with four other organisations for this year’s Zimbabwe Achievers Awards in the Environmental/Conservation Category. The winners will be announced at a special event at the Millenium Gloucester Hotel in London, UK, on 20th April 2013.
Zimbabwean Achievers are nominated for achieving excellence, dedication and commitment to serving their country in a number of different fields. The Winning Awards are presented each year at an annual ceremony held in London, UK. This year, the event will take place at……. on 20th April 2013.
The Society was the proud winner of this category in last year’s 2012 Awards. We are proud to have been recognised for our achievements once again this year!
For more information about the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards, see http://www.zimachievers.com
Eight of Zimbabwe’s wetland areas (including Mana Pools) are soon to be officially included in the RAMSAR Convention’s List of Wetlands of International Importance.
The following was posted online in RAMSAR News on 28th January 2013:-
Zimbabwe’s accession to the Ramsar Convention
UNESCO has confirmed that the instrument of accession and the names and maps of seven Wetlands of International Importance (Victoria Falls National Park, Mana Pools, Monavale Wetland, Lake Chivero and Manyame, Driefontein Grasslands, Chinhoyi Caves, and Cleveland Dam) were received on 3 January 2013, so that the Convention will come into force for Zimbabwe on 3rd May of this year.
The Ramsar Information Sheets for these new sites are still being prepared by the government, and we will be posting more details as soon as they are made available.
The Zambezi Society runs Wildlife Outreach programmes in rural schools in the Hurungwe District, which covers a large section of the Zambezi Valley. Leslee Maasdorp heads up this project and also co-ordinates education wilderness programmes for the Rifa Education and Conservation Project.
In March last year, accompanied by relatives Judy and Chris Carline, who were visting Zimbabwe from Hong Kong, Mrs Maasdorp stopped at Karoi and Makuti Schools to drop off her Zambezi Society educational resource materials. Mrs Judy Carline was taken aback that pupils at Makuti School had to work on the floor. She promised to source funding for desks and chairs for them on her return to Hong Kong.
Thanks to her persuasive appeal she raised US$5 000 and through the Zambezi Society 65 chairs and desks were made by the Edison furniture company in Harare and delivered – 50 units for Makuti Primary and 15 units for the Karl and Sabina Pisec School at the National Parks HQ in Marongora (where pupils sit on stones).
On 11th February this year, Mr and Mrs Carline returned to Zimbabwe to hand over the furniture on behalf of the donors. The Ministry of Education’s Inspector met the party at Karoi as did the Head Teacher of Karoi Primary School. Calenders and stationary were donated to them.
The party travelled to Makuti where the Inspector Ephraim Basera had arranged for school and local community personnel to meet the donors. A double classroom proudly displayed the new 65 desk units. The donors were overwhelmed at the huge turnout of leaders, parents, school staff and pupils. Speeches of welcome and “thank you” were given by the Community Leader, the Chairman of the School Development Council, Head of Tsetse-fly Control, the Headmasters of Makuti and Karl and Sabina Pisec School, and an official from National Parks Marongora Station. Pupils ended proceedings by taking their places at their new desks and singing a song.
Not only will these donations make the pupils much more comfortable but they will boost the morale of the schools. Both institutions are in the Zimbabwe Parks Estates and much is expected of them in the conservation field. The hope is that they will now be inspired to work harder in their Wildlife Outreach Programmes and become more aware of the threats to wildlife in their areas, as well as gaining more out of their sponsored wilderness camps at the Rifa Educational Camp. The natural environment around them will benefit more from their support and their realization that they are all part of it.
The donors were touched by the gathering and its expression of appreciation.
The Zambezi Society wishes to express its sincerest thanks to Mr and Mrs Carline, Mrs Cheryl Moore and Mr and Mrs Dees all of Hong Kong, who contributed to the procurement of these much-needed goods.
Peter Musto, Operations Director at the Zambezi Society reports:-
“We hope to complete fourteen surveys before the next rains. This will include five surveys in Western Region, three in Northern Region, two in Central Region, three in Southern Region and one in the Eastern Highlands.
Once the spoor survey programme has been completed and all of the ‘management’ data has been gathered the final analysis of all the data will be done.
This will be followed by a national leopard management strategy meeting. As the name suggests this will, hopefully, result in a national leopard management plan being established.”
The Zimbabwe Leopard Project was begun in 2010.
Special thanks, once again, to Toyota Zimbabwe for their very generous support of this project with the provision of a sponsored vehicle for the Northern Region surveys.
During the course of 2012 The Zambezi Society became dissatisfied with certain elements of the black rhino monitoring progamme on the ground in the Matusadona National Park, and decided to disengage until our areas of concern were addressed. We are pleased to advise that we have resumed our engagement with the new Area and Station Managers for the Park, which was named as one of Zimbabwe’s black rhino Intensive Protection Zones in the 1990s.
In addition , the Society is coming to the end of a protracted process of renewing its five-year MoU with the Zimbabwe Parks Authority. Once this is in place, we will be able to intensify our monitoring activities.
Project Direct, Pete Musto, has meanwhile been investigating the possibility of using camera traps to help monitor the rhinos in the Park and the plan is to place an initial 10 cameras in the Park and increase this number once the first trials are successful. In addition, the Zambezi Society’s LandRover which has long been deployed within the Park, has undergone substantial repairs ready to continue its activities within the Park. It will be returned to the Park HQ at Tashinga in April, when Pete Musto will be deploying the camera traps and delivering goods donated by The Save Foundation Australia.
We are most grateful for funds received from Chisipite Junior School in Harare and from the Balmain Trust in the UK, who have supported our activities in this Park for many years. Without their constant support, this project would not be possible.
In the meantime…….excellent news….
ZIM COURTS IMPOSE STRICTER SENTENCES FOR POACHING
Zimbabwean law has recently introduced an amendment to the Parks & Wildlife Act to allow for much more serious penalties for anyone caught “unlawfully killing or hunting rhinoceros or any other specially protected animal”, or being in the “unlawful possession of, or trading in ivory or any trophy of rhinoceros or of any other specifically protect animal”. The person caught committing such an offence “shall be liable:-
a) on first convinction to imprisonment for a period of not less than nine years
b) on a second or subequent conviction to imprisonment for a period on not less than eleven years.”
Following the introduction of this new amended law, a recent media article in Zimbabwe covered the following story:-
“Hwange Provincial Magistrate Mrs Lindiwe Maposa sentenced Busani Moyo to nine years in prison for illegally possessing 216 kilogram’s of ivory valued at US$54 000.00. Busani appeared before magistrate Lindiwe Maposa and Public Prosecutor Tomupeyi Mbiza.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Public Relations Manager Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo said Busani Moyo who is aged 35 and resides at Bhule 2, Magama Village in Tsholotsho was asked to pay the Authority US$54 000.00 as compensation while the ivory that was recovered was forfeited to the state.
She added that recently the government amended the Parks and Wildlife Act through the general laws amendment act section 128 which makes it mandatory for courts to pass a minimum of nine year custodial sentence on poachers convicted of the illegal killing and hunting of specially protected species or unlawful possession or trading in ivory.”
Congratulations to the wonderful artists of Peterhouse Girls School who won their school the US$1000 prize for producing the best logo submission for the SAVE MANA POOLS Facebook Campaign. The winning logo is pictured above left, and the other three were all finalists from the same school.
To other schools all over Zimbabwe who also submitted wonderful entries, but who did not win the prize – congratulations, too, and thank you for supporting a very worthy cause. Your entries were all wonderful, and we hope that you enjoyed the experience of learning about how important it is to protect our national heritage.
The Zambezi Society handed over the prize money to the school on behalf of the Campaign. Peterhouse School tell us that they have used it to purchase a computer design programme for the students and a colour printer for their art department.
In the meantime, if you are on Facebook, find out more on the SAVE MANA POOLS Facebook page.
You can view the finalists of the competition HERE
All other entries can be veiwed HERE.
NO NEWS ON MINING THREAT
The SAVE MANA POOLS Campaign (which was originally established to lobby against the building of a Protea Hotel on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River opposite Mana Pools) was last year reignited by a group of committed international supporters, in opposition to proposed mining – exploration or otherwise – in the Mana-Sapi-Chewore World Heritage Site. The current situation with regard to the mining of Heavy Mineral Sands in the Ruckomechi and Chewore Rivers is unclear. Nothing has been heard since an initial meeting last August called by the proponents of this mining exploration project (Habbard Investments) and a company called Impaco, who are the consultants appointed to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposal.
Media Article published via VictoriaFalls24.com 5th April 2013
The Zambezi River Authority has shortlisted investors for the construction of the 1 600-megawatt hydropower plant at the Batoka Gorge, a senior Government official has said.
Secretary for Energy and Power Development Mr Partson Mbiriri told delegates at the recent Zimbabwe-South Africa Investment and Trade Conference that the contract would be awarded on a Build, Operate and Transfer basis, but gave no time- frame. He added that the World Bank had shown interest in the project and “we are working with them”.
ZRA, a statutory body jointly owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia and responsible for the Zambezi River, in December last year invited interest from companies or consortia with experience in developing hydro projects. The deadline for bids was February 8 this year.
The proposed hydroelectric scheme is located on the Zambezi River, about 54km downstream of the Victoria Falls, across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It involves the construction of a dam and a hydropower plant on the Zambezi River. [Editor's Note: The area between the red markers on the map above approximately shows the section of the existing Batoka Gorge that the dam will flood - the bright green area will apparently not be affected].
Once completed, the project would increase generation capacity and reduce reliance on electricity imports and addiotnal coal-fire thermal stations.
Initial studies have shown that the Batoka hydro scheme would turn Zimbabwe into a regional net exporter of power. The project would also improve the generation mix which is currently skewed in favour of coal-fired plants.
The Batoka hydro concept was conceived in 1972 out of a study instituted by the predecessor of Zambezi River Authority, the Central African Power Corporation. The study’s aim was to identify possible power sources which the inter-governmental institution could develop to meet Zimbabwe’s and Zambia’s power demands.
The Batoka hydro scheme is among Zimbabwe’s long-term plans to deal with the prevailing power deficit in the region.
There is also the Gokwe North project, with the potential to generate 1 400MW.
In the short to medium term, Zimbabwe is looking at increasing power generation at Kariba Hydropower Station and Hwange Thermal Power Station. Sino Hydro, a Chinese company, was contracted to undertake the expansion of Kariba Hydro.
The expansion would increase Kariba’s capacity by 300MW. Two bidders for Hwange project are currently conducting commercial evaluation.
The availability of power remains the biggest challenge to the economy, with negative effects on production and productivity across all sectors, including households.
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