The Kariba Animal Welfare Fund Trust (KAWFT) was formed on 2 July 2010, by a group of Kariba residents, for the purpose of treating and helping Kariba's wildlife and enabling a swift response to any animal welfare emergency in the area.
Prior to this, whenever assistance to a wild animal in need was required, there was always a frantic rush by a group of Kariba residents to raise funds to pay a vet to come out from Harare to dart and treat the snared or injured animals. Vets could take 3-4 days to get to Kariba due to prior work arrangements and the injured animal would be difficult to locate. Its suffering was prolonged by waiting for treatment. Transport was also costly. Although the vets very kindly donated their time, the cost of the fuel would need to be covered.
KAWFT sent out an initial plea for donations to purchase a dart gun and supporting equipment and drugs. The organisation then sponsored a resident of Kariba, Andries Scholtz, to partake in a dart course and qualify. The response from the public was very positive and a dart gun was purchased along with the necessary drugs.
Now when reports of snared or injured animals are received, KAWFT along with the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) follow up and if darting and/or medication are required we contact Andries and deal with the situation.
In addition to our animal welfare activities, our projects include anti-poaching patrols and creating community awareness about animal welfare and the need to keep the environment of Kariba clean.
KAWFT works in conjunction with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority in patrolling the area around Kariba for signs of poaching. A team consisting of Parks personnel and KAWFT "Scouts" are out 5 days a week in various areas around Kariba looking for and removing snares as well as seeking to curtail any illegal wildlife activities.
The organisation also puts out regular notices warning the public of any issues relating to the welfare of wild animals in the area, and the need for a healthy environment. It reports offenders to the authorities and encourages local businesses and community leaders to undertake regular "clean-ups" to ensure that the risk of wild animals becoming scavenging "pests" in the town, is reduced.
Cooperation with the Parks Authority - In all its activities, KAWFT receives help, encouragement and guidance from the Kariba National Parks Area Manager, and has drawn up a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority. KAWFT recognises that boats and vehicles are essential for National Parks lake and land anti-poaching activities and, thanks to positive and continued response from the public and businesses within and outside Zimbabwe, has been able to refurbish ZPWMA patrol boats and vehicles in the Kariba area.