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Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

By 2000 Zimbabwe had a conservation record second to none.  It was home to many of Africa's top Professional Guides, the product of superior guide training, good enterprise and some big personalities in a mature safari industry.  The country had prolific wildlife in diverse habitats and was regarded as one of Africa's top safari destinations.

In 2000 the politicians simply lost the plot. Aside from a socio-economic disaster about to be delivered to the people of Zimbabwe, international tour operators and the country's traditional markets cast their own votes by withdrawing support. The safari industry shrank as a result, visitor numbers plummeted and the country's wildlife and conservationists were left stranded.

Handfuls of dedicated individuals across the country have struggled against growing odds in their conservation efforts over the last decade. The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit is a case in point.

VFAPU LogoIn 1999 the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) was established by Charles Brightman, a Professional Guide, local safari operator and conservationist, together with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.  VFAPU has since worked in close co-operation with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police on anti-poaching efforts. They patrol a 50 square kilometre area around Victoria Falls with 18 full time scouts to combat poaching in all its forms.

Whilst VFAPU's activities are largely directed at the removal of snares and the apprehension of subsistence and commercial poachers, a great deal of time is spent educating and reinforcing the benefits of conserving the areas natural resources.

VFAPU's work has been recognised through the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism as four time recipient of the Green Globe 21 Award for Conservation Efforts in Zimbabwe.  Charles Brightman has been personally recognised as a finalist in the Safari Awards category for "Best Personal Contribution to Wildlife Conservation".

The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit could do with your support