South Downs Way

Raising money for African wildlife  protection and community resilience in Chizarira National Park, Zimbabwe

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Chizarira NP.jpeg

We are all currently living with the consequences of the global Coronovirus (Covid-19) pandemic. When our families and livelihoods are being threatened, there can be a tendency to turn inwards and forget or even cast aside support for strategic and distant issues.

 

Wildlife in Africa and associated ecosystems are currently being decimated. Some of our iconic wildlife might be extinct within just ten years. We simply cannot afford to sit on our hands any longer and must act now. Nowhere is more needful than Chizarira National Park in Zimbabwe.  

Why?

The unprecedented and well-documented wildlife crime wave sweeping the continent has hit Africa hard and the region continues to lose valuable animals at an alarming rate. Wildlife is under attack on a daily basis and without swift support Africa is in danger of losing wildlife havens. Key species, vital links in our planet’s chain of life are at risk and could be lost forever. Nations are losing the opportunity to develop wildlife-tourism for the benefit of sustainable future conservation. The situation is now even more desperate as Covid -19 has constrained the Rangers who cannot patrol the Parks in the normal manner due to ‘lock down’. Poaching has increased once again and charitable donations have collapsed. 

Its the communities that carry the real cost of living with wildlife. They have to  compete with wildlife for crops, repair damage to structures and villagers can be killed or maimed. The attitudes of communities to wildlife within and adjacent to the National Parks, protected areas and wildlife corridors must be changed. Its difficult (or even impossible) to do this when communities are struggling every day for the basics to sustain life. For example, access to fresh water, food and shelter. Lifting communities out of poverty, requires livelihoods, education, healthcare, access to markets to sell crops, seeds, fertilizers and farming tools. Ultimately the aim is for the income earned through commodities to fund community projects designed to value and actively protect wildlife. 

There is a crucial window of opportunity to prevent a wildlife disaster, halt the present decimation of wildlife, strengthen law enforcement to block its return, and create revenues to reduce dependency on aid. 

What?

To celebrate being pain free for the first time in 6 years, I’m going to 'stress test' my two new bionic hips whilst trying to lose weight and raise some money for a very worthy cause in the process. I have dragged my 30 year old Mountain Bike out from the back of the garage and dusted it off. (One careful owner, never raced or rallied, or serviced for that matter!). I have made a commitment to cycle the South Downs Way – 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourne. The route runs along the ridge of the south downs and includes over 12000 feet of altitude gain along its length. Perhaps you will be curious enough to join and support me to ‘Tip Toe along the South Downs Way’? 

When?

The exact date has yet to be fixed but the current intent is to complete this before Easter 2021 when the days start getting longer and the worst of the winter should be behind us. It's a somewhat scary enterprise for an overweight, unfit  61 year old! I have already commenced training - as this is being written, just starting week 3 (of 12 planned), 45 miles planned this week.

How:

  • Can you help? Your support represents an historic opportunity to help change the fortunes of African wildlife in need of critical assistance, as never before. Poaching has killed 50% of African wildlife in just 50 years and some species, including elephant, may be extinct by 2030 if we do not act now. Please give whatever you can afford; even just the cost of a cup of coffee will help! 
    A 'Just Giving' Page will be opened nearer the time and once the dates are set. 

  • Will your money help? The annual operating budget for Chizarira National Park is $250,000. By way of example, some of the operating costs are as follows:

    • $900     – Individual First Aid Kit for Rangers; or, a wrist worn Garmin GPS for 6 patrol navigators

    • $1200   – Purchase a lightweight drone with 7km range and 27 minute flying time for local aerial reconnaissance patrols by Rangers; or a gas powered deep freeze for cold storage of meat rations

    • $1500   – A deployment trailer for use with Land Rovers (see below); or a Timex Expedition Watch, shockproof and waterproof for 30 Rangers

    • $1800   – Individual backpacks for 30 Rangers

    • $2100   – One pair of leather patrol boots for 30 Rangers

    • $3900   – Operator Medic training for 8 people

    • $5000   – A 10KVA single phase generator 

    • $6000   – Pay for the fuel for a bi-monthly aerial anti poaching patrol.

    • $9000   – 2 x 15 Patrol Medic training courses 

    • $15000 – Purchase a Land Rover 110 vehicle for law enforcement operations