It is a truly historic moment for Matusadona National Park – the national park where we are located – as it is the first protected area in Zimbabwe to come under the management of Prince Harry’s conservation charity – African Parks.
African Parks, in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), signed a 20-year agreement to manage Matusadona National Park on November 1st, 2019 – this make it their 16th national park to manage, and 10th country they work in.
Who are African Parks?
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the “complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities.”
African Parks was founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding. African Parks use a clear business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas, securing vast landscapes and carrying out the necessary activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife. African Parks maintains a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities to ensure that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable in the long-term.
What does it mean for the Matusadona?
The 1,407km2 Matusadona National Park — also known as Kariba National Park — used to be home to about 35% of Zimbabwe’s black rhino population. However due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the park has been neglected and mismanagement, and with little resources allocated to the park, poaching has been on the increase.
We, Changa Safari Camp, along with Suprwing Island formed MAPP in 2013 to combat poaching and proect the wildlife in the park. However we simply don’t have enough funds to do all that is needed, so the fact that African Parks have come on board is truly phenomenal for the long term future of the area.
The joint venture between African Parks and ZimParks gives African Parks a shareholding of 49% with the Zimbabwe government, through ZimParks, retaining 51%. Profits will be shared on a quarterly basis.
Considering the damage to infrastructure at the park, the next five years will be mostly dedicated to reconstruction. Prince Harry, the President of African Parks, has promised to invest $8million into Matusadona.
The highlight of the agreement is the re-introduction the black rhinoceros, which has been completely wiped out from the park by poaching. The few rhinos that survived at the height of the onslaught were shipped to other secure areas.