KAWFT Running 2017

By Deon Kirstein

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KAWFT RUNNING, is a group of people dedicated to raising funds and awareness for KAWFT through organised runs. Kariba is a small town located in Zimbabwe in the Charara Safaris Area, close to the Zambian border. This town is unique as it is located within a national park and is a popular destination for local and, although limited, international tourists. Kariba is known for its dam which is one of the biggest manmade dams in the world and often referred to as a lake. The lake hosts superb fishing, birding and wildlife viewing around the shores as well as inland. It’s one of the few places where you may have experiences such as an excuse that the elephant didn’t want to get off the road on your way to work and that is why you are late, or a baboon stole your lunch or the zebra spent three hours in your yard eating the green grass…

Unfortunately, due to recent town expansion, rising population, drought and difficult economic conditions, has begun to weigh heavily on the wildlife population, and it is suffering accordingly. This ultimately led to KAWFT being established in 2010. As their name suggests, KAWFT are associated with assisting, as far as possible, with relief to the wildlife due to these harmful risks and pressures. KAWFT general activities include:

  • Snare and poacher patrols in the area
  • Clearing of litter in the bush and roadsides
  • Community alerting about the wildlife and risks associated
  • Organising vetenary services due to human inflicted wounds on the wildlife
  • Erecting public notices to inform on how to behave on, and off the roads for the protection of the people and the wildlife
  • And any other general services concerning the welfare of the wildlife.

KAWFT is independently managed by Kariba residents and they work in conjunction with the local national parks authorities. All KAWFTs costs are met through collecting of public donations. More information on KAWFT as well as any updates on what’s been happening can be obtained through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KaribaANimalWelfareFundTrustKariba/

In 2016, in the space of 6 months, 8 elephants were killed in Kariba. 7 of these 8 elephants died due to rubbish/trash ingestion from the local dump site which had no fence. The 8th, was poached for its tusks, through the use of cyanide poison. These incidents were, basically, within the town, where people and traffic are readily found! All of these deaths were avoidable, and this was a huge loss to the resident population of elephants in the area. KAWFT put an appeal out for funds to erect a fence around the site as the local Municipality did not have the money to do so. This sparked the start of the KAWFT RUNNING to be initiated. The funds for the fence have since been met due to generous donations. However, further proactive assistance will put KAWFT in a better position to have measures in place to prevent, rather than to reaction to wildlife mishaps in Kariba.

KAWFT RUNNING work closely with KAWFT organisation and the debut, 2017 year, is made up of a young group of 8 runners. Each runner, represents one of the 8 elephants which died, and all runners will run 8 organised half or full marathons throughout 2017. The team is well represented internationally with runners from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. The first event begins in February in Cape Town. Check our runners and their run pics and other updates on our Facebook site. The plan for this crowd funding site is to raise AUS$15 000.00 in order for KAWFT to purchase a second-hand utility vehicle/truck/bakkie. This vehicle will be used to do snare patrols, litter clearing, transport staff and general use, such as transporting darted wildlife to safer areas and also running errands.

Currently KAWFT has a very old, dilapidated Toyota Hilux which is about to give up. And without reliable transport, they will have to rely on people lending private vehicles. This is not an ideal situation, as reaction to wildlife in stress needs to be instant. This forms one of the 4 fund raising goals KAWFT RUNNING 2017 has for the year. Other funds will be raised through the individuals efforts to contribute to the other three goals which include the following:

  1. Website construction for KAWFT, this will allow ease for people to donate to (Est US$500.00)
  2. Cover costs to send a local resident on a wildlife darting course so this expensive service does not need to be outsourced (Est US$3 000.00)
  3. Place more signs in busy town areas and on roads with regards to wildlife protection and conservation (Est US$750.00)

When we reach all these goals which we hope we will do, extra funds will be used for the extensive range of drugs required when darting animals and follow up medication. This is the first year KAWFT RUNNING is raising funds.

We ask for any donation large or small to contribute to the vehicle for KAWFT, any amount will make a difference. As one of the favourite KAWFT African proverb goes ‘if you think you are too small to make a difference, you have never spent a night with a mosquito’. Please assist us to help KAWFT look after the wildlife in Kariba, they do a brilliant job!

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Team Members

Deon Kirstein

Danny Finaughty

James Fraser-Mackenzie

Mark Kirstein

Nicky Johnson

Sean Walters

Sonya McMaster

Swys Viviers

Trevor Macdonald