I did follow up on one problem a number of subscribers reported about last season, and that is the serious poaching problem in some areas of Zimbabwe. I asked Director of Parks and Wildlife Management Authority M. Z. Mtsambiwa about this situation. He admitted there are some areas where poaching is indeed a real problem, but he pointed out that those were in areas that have seen a sudden influx of people, particularly those who are not conservation educated. Bushmeat hunting, he said, is a problem where community programs are lacking. Places where CAMPFIRE programs exist and where there are strong safari-operator-supported programs have fewer problems with poaching because the people understand and receive immediate benefits from protecting the wildlife. So, you may want to ask your safari operator for detailed information about such programs as well as anti-poaching efforts in the area you will be hunting.
The worst poaching problems in Zimbabwe, however, are with what were described to me as poaching syndicates, basically organized poaching or illegal hunting operations. Director Mtsambiwa tells me the syndicates were previously run by outsiders from other African countries, particularly South Africa, where a group of more than 50 people were arrested for these practices a........(continued)