Sino-Zim Wildlife Foundation welcome

Back in the village, in the land of milk, honey and dust or Guruve, animals living near us have, since time immemorial, played a critical role in impelling human evolution.

There the village autochthons gave totems to people inspired by animal behaviour.

But due to increased urbanisation, wildlife has been in serious conflict and competition with human beings.

But, Zimbabwe remains one of the last vestiges of wildlife, where wild animals roam wild and free.

This week witnessed the official launch of the Sino-Zimbabwe Wildlife Foundation, a joint venture between spirited Chinese conservationists and the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The foundation, whose principles are based on fair play and mutual benefit, but grounded on the needs, opportunities and solutions required by parks, is indeed the first of its kind in Zimbabwean conservation.

The foundation hit the ground running with a donation of $500 000, and a small plane for use in anti-poaching activities. The plane will come with trainers who will ensure that parks have personnel to pilot on its own. That is a great step.

Suffice to say, the launch comes a few months after the Government of the Republic of China donated equipment worth $2,3 million to Parks for conservation work.

Indeed this was a first, thanks to Chinese Ambassador Mr Lin Lin for the good effort.

Well, China has shocked Europe, itself the self-appointed oracle of democracy, good governance, accountability and wildlife conservation, who unfortunately has an illustrious poaching record.

Over the years, Zimbabwe has been selling live wildlife to many European countries and the. United States of America without any noise. Many people might not know that the sale of live wildlife started in Rhodesia and in the early years of our independence in the 1980s, we even exported live rhinos to the United States of America. Unfortunately for the Americans, they failed to come up with a conducive breeding environment and they have not multiplied.

In the past few moons we started exporting elephants to China. Unfortunately our media, the one that does not seek the truth, have called these elephants baby elephants.

Once you mention babies, you know what the human race thinks.

It becomes very sympathetic.

The truth is that Zimbabwe does not sell baby elephants.

It sells sub-adults, aged between five and seven years. The whole world has been sold a dummy by Western Europeans who fear competition from the Chinese.

The Western Europe narrative has been that the Chinese have poached wildlife to extinction, that the Chinese are being cruel to wildlife and especially elephants, baby elephants.

My foot! The Chinese are not saints, there are bad people there and good ones too.

Western Europeans are not saints either, Americans, worse! Who does not know the murder of Cecil?

Elephants are defined as babies when they are aged zero to two years.

Then, they rely mainly on their family. To call elephants aged seven babies is not only mischievous, but untold ignorance.

The Sino-Zimbabwe Wildlife Foundation chaired by Dr Li Song has brought the necessary impetus and depth to Parks given that it is no ordinary NGO, but a joint venture where Parks is not a passive player.

This kind of venture is what has been missing in Zimbabwe where Western NGOs have a big brother mentality and want to dictate things.

This is how we have ended up with a Western European narrative that seeks to paint us as people who do not know about our wildlife and indeed as people who have little knowledge about conservation!

Yet we still have more wildlife than Europe.