Friday, July 24, 2009

The BIG interview: “Andy the great outdoorsman from the Veldt," interviews Enock Ngwenya from the VFAPU

“Andy the great outdoorsman from the Veldt,” Acacia Adventure Holidays alter-go, interviews Enock Ngwenya from the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Andy: OK, so we’re here with one of the VFAPU team, "Enock Ngwenya" - for the newbies out there, that’s the Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit

Andy: So you’ve been here since 1999 guys?

Enock: That’s right, working with the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police

Andy: So where does the environmental poaching come in Enock?

Enock: The economic situation has increased poaching whether it's stone for construction, trees for firewood or plants for food - the list goes on...

Andy: So we’re not just talking about the wildlife?

Enock: No, but the bush meat market still poses one of the greatest threats to Africa’s wildlife populations

Andy: How so mate?...

Enock: 1.9 and 3.5 million tons of bush meat is consumed in Central and Southern Africa on an annual basis

Andy: Wow, hey look, I guess most of us are just coming here to game drive – but that’s a seriously BIG figure! I’m in…

Enock: The poachers target a variety of species such as buffalo, kudu, eland, impala and set life threatening snares

Enock: These wire death traps cause tremendous suffering, sometimes the victim takes several days to die after being caught

Andy: So we travellers play a really important part – in a sense, when we find a snare, we've saved (bagged) an elephant!

Enock: Yes, very true Andy, and after our safety briefing that’s our first task today

Andy: And, I suppose there’s also commercial poaching – ivory, skins and what not? (see my "twitpic" of the leopard skin at

Enock: Yes, but in particular, the escalation of both black and white rhino poaching is of great concern to us

Andy: And how do we go about changing all of this - really?

Enock: there are 16 of us VFAPU scouts sweeping the park 7 days a week - but you tourists make a real difference

Enock: We remove snares, apprehend poachers & we educate local communities using drama, song and dance on conservation

Andy: Hey I’m up for a boogie Enock, but seriously I’m sure tourists must be pretty stoked when they're rescuing animals?

Enock: Yes, there's certainly a feel good factor when we make it out there in time and it's a powerful shared experience

Andy: So how can we help out there on the ground?

Enock: We dart & treat injured mammals. Donor funding provides the much needed drugs, such as M99, and the tourists help us to clean wounds & track poachers

Andy: well – that’s the briefing over guys, Ndatenda (thanks) Enock – now we’re off to join the scouts for a snare sweep

5-day Anti-poaching voluntour in Zimbabwe: £450pp + local payment from £37pp including all tour highlights, transport, accommodation, airport transfers, camping equipment in Zambezi National Park, some meals, services of a driver/guide and qualified anti-poaching staff. Excludes, visas, travel insurance, flights, departure taxes, tips, drinks, optional activities and items of a personal nature

Contact Acacia Adventure Holidays on 020 7706 4700, email or visit for further information. ATOL No. 6499 and ABTA No. W4093 PROTECTED.

Editors’ notes: Acacia Adventure Holidays offers over 100 intriguing itineraries including overland trips, small group safaris, adventures, diving, city breaks, short stays, comfort class safaris and voluntours. Additional online tours are available. Acacia Africa Blog Facebook Twitter Flickr

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