AKASHINGA rangers, domiciled in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley have recovered 24 pangolins and 118 elephant tusks from raids on poachers since last year in Mashonaland West.
In a statement yesterday, Akashinga: The Brave Ones said its innovative approaches to the community-based conversation had made it possible to curb poaching in the country.
The Akashinga programme started in 2017 in Hurungwe with an initial group of 16 women, all survivors of gender-based violence. It has since grown to more than 500 staff and contractors, with a wilderness protection portfolio totalling over 9,1 million acres of the Zambezi Valley.
“To date, Akashinga and its Wildlife Crime Unit have carried out 1 303 arrests in 724 operations. In the last year alone, the unit has recovered 24 pangolins, 118 elephant tusks and one rhino horn, as well as over 1 500kgs of illegally caught fish,” the statement read.
Speaking at the combined display parade for Akashinga rangers on Friday in the Zambezi valley, founder and chief executive officer of Akashinga, Damien Mander urged women to also contribute towards the conservation of nature and endangered species.
“Women have become the conduit through which conservation and the community collaborate. The message these women are delivering throughout Africa is something we can all be proud of, and it began right here.”
Hand-in-hand with its conservation achievements, Akashinga continues to prioritise community development, focusing on areas such as education, health and nutrition, infrastructure development and employment. Most recently, a joint project between Hurungwe Rural District Council, MoveMe Abundant Village and Akashinga — with support from the Australian government — provided essential access to clean water through the installation of solar boreholes at Nyamakate centre and Kilo village in Chundu. Solar power has also been provided to Nyamakate Clinic, and upgrades to early childhood development centres in nearby Golf and Jinami villages are in progress.