Amanda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Matobo Rural District Council in partnership with a local professional hunter is in the process of establishing a conservancy aimed at benefiting local people.
Council chief executive officer Mr Elvis Sibanda told Sunday News that the local authority and Mr Scott Bailey have signed an agreement and were now waiting for the layout plan. The conservancy project will be established in Ward 20 as it is not a habitable area but an animal suitable area with grazing pastures even during drought seasons.
“Ward 20 is not habitable but an animal suitable area with grazing pastures during drought seasons. The area has the potential for a conservancy as animals such as kudu, impala, zebra, leopard, hyena, duiker, steenbok and elephant are found in large numbers,” he said.
He said the conservancy was a way of protecting the animals considering the poaching which has been rife in the area.
“In a bid to ensure sustainable utilisation of natural resources while tapping economic benefits from the environment, the local authority implemented the conservancy concept. The main purpose of this project is to manage the area involved in a sustainable manner while on the other hand bringing revenue to the local authority.
“The local authority will by and large get revenue which in turn shall be ploughed back to the community through projects like construction of clinics, classrooms in schools, equipping schools with necessary equipment and installation of science laboratories in identified schools,” said Mr Sibanda.
He said the project will not result in the movement of cattle that are grazing in the area. Mr Sibanda said only 20 200 hectares from the 64 000 hectares of the land will be used for the project, leaving the rest for livestock grazing.
He said Ward 20 which consists of Shashi area measuring 65 135 hectares and bordering Botswana is occupied by wildlife mainly elephants and cattle which are sent to distant pastures (emlageni).
In the same district, there is Matopo National Park. The park includes an Intensive Protection Zone where a large population of black and white rhinoceros are successfully breeding.
The park offers a diverse package of tourist attractions and activities.