Conservation Force’s primary purpose is conservation of the natural world and wildlife through hunting. Through select partnerships and signature projects in Africa we are recognized and documented to be the leading hunting-based conservation NGO in Africa. The collaborations have spanned from the renowned Cullman & Hurt Community Conservation Project in Tanzania to the LIFE Plus Project in Namibia. The newest is with SAVE Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe.
The SAVE Valley Conservancy, SVC, is the largest privately-owned reserve in Africa. Lion were reintroduced starting in 1995. Today the population may soon reach capacity. It is an important example of what hunting forces can do. Conservation Force recently helped fund a lion population survey and Lion Management Plan for the conservancy to ensure the perpetuation of those lion. That is stepping down the Regional and Zimbabwe National action plans for lion. Steps like this are crucial if lion (and lion hunting) are to be saved. We need African lion numbers to increase and this is one of too few examples. The average growth rate of lion in SVC since 1996 has been an “exponential population increase…of 35% per year…and may yet double….” (Paul Funston). This one conservancy has approximately 10% of the total lion population of Zimbabwe, including parks.
The SVC also has exemplary populations of white and black rhino and elephant and particularized management plans for each. Though the rhino were initially reintroduced, today they constitute nearly a quarter of all the rhino in Zimbabwe. Like the lion, these protected rhino are crucial to those species and the nation of Zimbabwe. The IUCN Rhino Specialist Group notes the black rhino on the SVC to be a “Key 1 population,” one of only five such rated populations remaining in the world, thus critical to the survival of the species. The SVC has an extremely sophisticated anti-poaching unit backed up by 200 game scouts employed by the respective members of the Conservancy, but serious funding is needed at this critical time. Only recently has the poaching level exceeded the production rate of those rhino. Immediate funding is necessary to stem the new negative trend in this proven conservation area.
The nearly one-million-acre conservancy falls within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area/Park at the juncture of RSA, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is a key part of the conservation strategy in all three countries.
The SVC current wish list is the following: digital radio system for secure communications; 15 handheld radios; four base station radios; two battery packs and chargers; two base aerials and two vehicle aerials; seven pairs of binoculars; seven handheld GPS units; chargers and batteries for the above; three cameras suitable for taking pictures of evidence; an extra vehicle; funding to run the Anti-Poaching Unit (US $140,000 per year); funding for Community Rewards for individuals and schools who assist with anti-poaching information; funding for accommodation and office space for research, administration, anti-poaching unit, as well as classrooms for education programs; generators; computers; inverters/UPS’s for computers; projectors to assist with education and research; funding for education programs and teaching aids; sports equipment; and funding to train wildlife community liaison/education personnel to assist communities to enter into and run wildlife programs/projects.
All contributions to SVC through Conservation Force are greatly appreciated. Of course, Conservation Force is a public, charitable foundation providing the maximum tax deduction. Contributions should be earmarked for “SVC” and mailed to Conservation Force, PO Box 278, Metairie, LA, 70004-0278, USA.