Zimbabwe’s leading hotel investment company, African Sun Limited has donated US$21 000 to support the efforts of the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFPAU), a local organization that is focused on the conservation of wildlife and natural resources.
According to Afsun’s Head of Marketing PR and Innovation Charleen Mtezo, the US$21 000 sponsorship caters for the Unit’s 16-member scouts’ full-year salaries and medical aid.
Wildlife tourism is a major business, accounting for a significant percentage of the country’s entire tourism industry’s net value.
The Afsun’s one-year sponsorship comes as a major boost to VFAPU’s wildlife and natural resources conservation which has so far played a pivotal role in attracting tourists to the country to support the booming hospitality industry after the ruinous Covid-19 pandemic.
In a speech to handover the sponsorship, African Sun’s Head of Marketing PR and Innovation Charleen Mtezo applauded VFAPU for the conservation of local wildlife and natural resources.
“As African Sun Limited, we also benefit from this natural beauty and bio-diversity and we seek to participate and contribute to its preservation and restoration. Surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park, the town of Victoria Falls is located in one of the most beautiful environments.
“However, the beauty of the location comes with some heavy burden of human and animal conflict. The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit tries to ease some of the burdens by protecting the wildlife and habitat from poachers, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals.”
Additionally, Mtezo said VFAPU also train ex-poachers in new skills so they find alternative avenues of revenue creation to give them a sustainable income without doing harm to flora and fauna.
“It is against this background that as African Sun Limited, we saw it fit, for us to assist the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit so that they are able to carry out the challenging tasks at hand.
“I wish to invite other corporates to come join us to safeguard our precious environment and transform the lives of people in our communities. Lastly, I applaud those who are already on the ground doing the same,” she added.
Speaking at the same event, The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) Coordinator, Charles Brightman lauded Afsun for the sponsorship.
“We started VFAPU in 1999 as a private sector initiative to champion and protect wildlife and natural resources against plunder from poachers.
“Since then, we have removed around 30 000 snares from the bush and rescued 500 animals from snares, and prevented painful death of animals from those snares. I want to urge other corporates to take a cue from Afsun and sponsor this noble cause.”
Brightman said without a vibrant game, the hospitality industry would not be able to attract thousands of tourists to the country.
“Almost 80 percent of this resort town relies heavily on wildlife to function. We need to protect game and the natural resources well in order to continue with the hospitality business,” he added – HARARE