China handed over vehicles and equipment to Zimbabwe on Thursday to help the cash-strapped government fight against wildlife poaching.
The two countries signed a wildlife protection cooperation agreement during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Zimbabwe last week.
The donation includes sport-utility-vehicles, pickup trucks, tractors, mobile radios, tents, flash lights, patrol clothing and more.
They are expected to be used to fight poaching at the country’s largest wildlife sanctuary, Hwange National Park, and Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage site in northern Zimbabwe.
The two national parks are home to some of Africa’s largest elephant herds, but have become increasingly vulnerable to poaching as a result in the shortage of wildlife protection funding.
SOUNDBITE (CHINESE) HUANG PING, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe:
“China is expressing its goodwill to cooperate with our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters to ensure the survival and prosperity of wildlife here.”
Zimbabwean Minister of Environment, Oppah Muchinguri said the donation will “go a long way” in bridging the existing gap between the resources and the huge demands for conservation.
Zimbabwe national parks authority director Edson Chidziya said the patrol team, now equipped with Chinese donations, is in better position to implement anti-poaching measures.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) EDSON CHIDZIYA, National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority:
“As far as I am concerned, China has been playing its part in terms of meeting its international obligations. We want to salute them for being the family player that they have been in international cooperation.”