The war on poaching has been given a record US$30,000 boost by a fundraising golf tournament, coordinated and sponsored by Africa Albida Tourism. This amount is more than double the amount raised at last year’s event!
A total of 132 players, making up 33 teams, teed off for charity at the 15th annual fundraising Golf Day for the Victoria Falls Anti Poaching Unit (VFAPU) at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club. They then gathered for a prize-giving function and auction.
The fundraising tournament, which took place on 2nd October, was won by Blair Taberer and Munya Mudyanadzo, with teams including the Zimbabwe Special Olympics golfers sponsored by Delta Airlines, and ‘The Cats’, who won the prize for best dressed team thanks to their matching fluorescent-coloured cat masks and ties.
A silver cuff bracelet made by the renowned Zimbabwean jeweller, Patrick Mavros, was specially designed for the event and was auctioned off for US$1,100. Five cricket souvenirs that had been signed by top international players was donated by SAVE African Rhino Foundation, and each fetched between US$2,000 and US$3,250.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) group chairman Dave Glynn said: “The Zimbabwean community never ceases to amaze me. The generosity and the level of support was outstanding on the day. There was a huge number of sponsors, 33 teams and a large amount of money was raised for an exceptionally important cause.”
“It is an excellent event to support as every cent raised goes straight to VFAPU, with all costs being covered by AAT, and we look forward to repeating this success next year,” Mr Glynn said. The VFAPU head of operations, Charles Brightman, said: “An incredible amount raised for such a worthy cause clearly illustrates that we have got to stand up to poaching in all of its forms.”
“The funds raised will go towards the operational costs of the unit, which at US$7,500 a month included salaries, fuel and vehicle maintenance,” Mr Brightman said. “There was an amazing turnout with so many teams taking part. It was very inspiring. We are grateful to everyone who took part and supported the day.”
VFAPU has arrested nearly 700 hardened poachers since it was established in 1999 by Mr Brightman, a local safari operator and conservationist, and Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, AAT’s flagship property.
The unit, which works closely with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has also removed more than 22,000 wire snares from its operational area.
In addition, 179 mammals, including buffalo, kudu, eland and impala, injured by snares have been treated and released back into the wild.
The unit is also supported by other tourism operators and members of the Victoria Falls community.
VFAPU, which was established in an effort to fight the alarming levels of poaching, operates in a 50km² area around Victoria Falls, and has 17 scouts patrolling 24/7. The unit tackles all forms of poaching, including wood, bush meat and ivory.
Contact Charles Brightman to donate.