This project has come about as a result of the combined vision of a handful of people, who want to establish a canine unit for use in assisting anti-poaching operations and anti-poaching agencies in Zimbabwe. The ultimate goal is to have a Canine unit large enough to deploy to any area in Zimbabwe, wherever assistance may be required. It is important to note that the intention is for the unit to ASSIST other anti-poaching agencies. It is not the intention for the unit to be a separate and independent anti-poaching agency. Given the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe today, poaching has become a significant problem. Subsistence poaching is relatively insignificant compared to poaching for big monetary gain. Rhino horn, ivory and other illegal wildlife products can attract very large sums of money, and the rewards offered to poachers are very lucrative. For this reason, criminal gangs and mafia-style syndicates are involved, and in many cases, corruption, involving officials is apparent. The present day anti poaching rationale, including tactics, is struggling with success rates, and anti poaching efforts would be greatly enhanced by the introduction of a specialised canine unit.
The ultimate goal will be to have 24 dogs and handlers. It is anticipated that dog teams will be deployed by road where required. The Project’s base is fairly centrally located, with good access to a good road infrastructure. This will obviously entail transport and logistic challenges that will be met gradually, alongside the growth and progress of the Project. Air transport has not been ruled out, and specific charters may be utilised, depending on requirements. Costs of deployment & transport will be met by the requesting conservation agency.
The long-term goal for the Project is well defined - 24 dogs and handlers, with an adequate support infrastructure. Completing this will require significant funding from donors, sponsors, and conservation agencies. Fund raising will be of paramount importance, and large (National and International) corporate support will be sought as the project progresses. The success of the dogs in operations will be of vital importance, as success will give the whole project the credibility that will be required to ensure it’s growth. The Canine unit will have to be seen to be working well in anti poaching operations. The management structure in place is sound, and is well placed to manage the growth that is planned.