Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe wildlife group: tens of thousands of animals face annihilation in nature preserve

Zimbabwe wildlife group: tens of thousands of animals face annihilation in nature preserve

By Associated Press, Published: August 26 | Updated: Monday, August 27, 2:17 

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Tens of thousands of wild animals face annihilation in a 
wave of land takeovers in southeastern Zimbabwe by politicians of President 
Robert Mugabe’s party, a consortium of wildlife ranchers charged Sunday.

The Save Valley Conservancy said thousands of people’s livelihoods also are 
threatened in the 1,000 square mile (2,600 square kilometer) nature preserve 
and surrounding districts after hunting permits and land leases were granted 
to 25 leaders of the ZANU-PF party under a black empowerment program.

In Sunday newspaper advertisements, the consortium said “greedy 
individuals” — including a provincial governor and a Cabinet minister — 
wrongly claimed it was white dominated. The conservancy said Mugabe had used 
color as “a racial tool” to collapse world-renowned conservation efforts for 
short-term gain.

“When humans behave like animals, we destroy not only each other but 
generations to come,” the group said.

The advertisements, the most strongly worded statements in the dispute so 
far, said politicians “want to destroy agreements and policies that have 
made Save the world leader in conservation management.”

Save, pronounced Sa-veh in the local Ndebele language, is a habitat for 
elephant, zebra, giraffe, as well as the nation’s second largest surviving 
population of endangered black rhinoceros. The area also supports an array 
of African antelope and most species of birds and small animals.

“We as humans can help stop using color as a racial tool to destroy the very 
people who are working for our common good,” said the advertisements, under 
the heading: Animals don’t see in color.

Several Western investors, the World Wildlife Fund and conservation groups 
in Europe and the United States have funded breeding and animal research 
programs in Save.

European Union officials in Zimbabwe have warned the Save land takeovers put 
at risk bilateral agreements on conservation between Zimbabwe and European 
countries ahead of the U.N. World Tourism Organization summit scheduled in 
the northwestern Zimbabwean resort of Victoria Falls next year.

The state Herald newspaper, controlled by Mugabe loyalists, reported 
Saturday that the new conservancy members linked to Mugabe’s party fired the 
consortium’s longtime chairman Basil Nyabdaza, an agricultural estates 
executive, and his deputy, rancher Willy Pabst.

A Mugabe party lawmaker was chosen to replace Nyabadza, the paper reported.

It also reported that Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi, seen as a moderate in 
Mugabe’s party, said he was opposed to new conservancy members from the 
ZANU-PF party hierarchy in the southern Masvingo province being “imposed” on 
the existing grouping of conservation enterprises and small-scale ranch 

Mzembi said many of those party officials had already benefited from black 
empowerment programs since the often violent seizures of thousands of 
commercial farms began in 2000, The Herald reported.


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