A record US$44,290 has been raised to boost anti-poaching efforts in Zimbabwe’s top tourist destination through an annual fundraising golf tournament, coordinated and hosted by hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism.
The money was raised at the 20th annual Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU) Golf Day at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club on September 16, where 128 players, making up 32 teams, teed off for conservation playing a four-ball alliance format.
The tournament was won by the Bushloverz team, made up of Zane Acutt, Nina Geyser, Brendon Evans and Jenny Evans, who finished on 104 points, while Taylor Made and Recycling Solutions took second and third places respectively.
The lucky winners each took home an accommodation voucher for two nights for two people at the premium Victoria Falls Safari Club, with breakfast included, and a dinner at The Boma – Dinner & Drum Show.
Africa Albida Tourism (AAT) chief executive Ross Kennedy said the fundraiser received amazing support from an incredible community.
“The collective energy and genuine care and concern for conservation and wildlife is so alive and well in Zimbabwe,” Kennedy said. “We are immensely grateful to all those who support VFAPU in so many ways, year after year.
“This year after a two-year break due to Covid-19, the golf day raised a record amount in donations, sponsorship and revenue generated through the event.”
Previously the record had been US$30,000 raised at the VFAPU Golf Day in 2015.
An auction of Zimbabwean Olympic golfer Scott Vincent’s signed shirt worn in the British Open this year fetched US$1,450 and it was donated back to be re-auctioned in an act of immense generosity, he added.
“Getting the Victoria Falls tourism community on board to support VFAPU is a key source of funding, and it was a privilege to see leading industry colleagues supporting by entering teams, donating and contributing so much.”
AAT covered the US$5,000 cost of the event, ensuring that every dollar raised went directly into VFAPU coffers to enable the unit to perform its valuable work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, he said.
VFAPU head of operations Charles Brightman thanked everyone involved, saying the funds raised at this tournament were vital to VFAPU’s survival, and would go a long way towards covering the unit’s operational costs.
Since VFAPU was established in 1999, the unit has arrested over 900 serious poachers, removed more than 30,000 wire snares from their area of patrol and rescued over 400 mammals injured in snares, treating and releasing them back into the wild.
VFAPU, which works closely with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Victoria Falls City Council, has 16 scouts patrolling in a 50kmsq area around Victoria Falls.