The Sunday Mail

Norman Muchemwa

China has donated six drones and medical kits worth US$65 000 to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to help it in its conservation efforts.

The donation – sourced from the Chinese Academy of Science and Sino-Zim – also includes 1 000 satchels for children of Zimparks rangers.

Zimparks superintends over five million hectares of land, which make up 13 percent of the country’s total land area, covering conservation areas.

Acting Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Mangaliso Ndlovu said the donation will further buttress the country’s conservation drive.

“Wildlife is part of Zimbabwe’s natural heritage, which we are always jealously guarding. As a country, Zimbabwe is one of the front-runners in the field of wildlife conservation. We are proud of our impressive global conservation record and status, which we have retained against odds,” said Minister Ndlovu.

“Wildlife is the corner-stone of our tourism industry, and it has a lot of potential to contribute to the socio-economic development of the nation and poverty alleviation in rural communities.”

The drones are expected to help monitor vegetation changes caused by natural and anthropogenic factors, detect and monitor incidents of trespassing and illegal settlement, including encroachment into protected areas.

They will also help patrol surveillances to monitor poaching, the distribution of faunal species, and determinant elements such as water points, and salt licks, among other sites of interest, both in and outside protected areas.

Zimparks director-general Mr Fulton Mangwanya hailed China for the donations.