The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) has appointed the first wildlife crime specialist to curb wildlife poaching and other related crimes.

KAZA TFCA is a wildlife conservation area that covers Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Angola and Namibia. Its representative in Zimbabwe, Godfrey Mtare, says the specialist, known as Technical Coordinator-Wildlife Crimes (TCWC), will lead the fight against wildlife crimes in member states.

“Reducing wildlife crime in KAZA TFCA is a priority because it has been identified as one of the major threats to conservation efforts. Through funding from USAID, various projects aimed at reducing wildlife crimes will be launched in all member states. Among other things, vehicles, new ICTs, sniffer dogs, boats, camping equipment, capacity building for staff and others will be funded,” says Mtare.

Colum Zhuwau is the inaugural TCWC responsible for the implementation of the KAZA Secretariat component of the project, which aims to support law enforcement capacity development in the KAZA TFCA. He will also be responsible for the co-ordination of regional law-enforcement activities implemented by the KAZA partner states.

Langton Masunda, a Conservationist from Gwayi, near Hwange National Park, says the move is welcome, although there is more that needs to be done to stop poaching.

“We applaud the move by KAZA but alone it’s not enough.” The initiative only helps if tools are made available to fight poaching, he says. “We are preserving wildlife for the whole world and therefore the whole world must be equally supportive in the ant-poaching drive.”

Zhuwau holds a Master of Arts, Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from Brandeis University in USA.  He is a World Bank Alumni having been awarded a Joint Japanese/World Bank Scholarship for his Masters Degree studies in 2010.

Before KAZA, he was a Principal Ecologist with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks).