It is home to almost all the Southern African game species, including elephant, lion, African wild dog, and black and white rhino. Surrounded by Zimbabwe’s most densely populated and impoverished rural areas it operates high-value, low-density tourism, but is reliant on donor funds to cover its extensive monitoring and protection activities. Organised poaching for ivory and rhino horn are constant threats, as are commercial and subsistence bushmeat hunting.
Over 200 game scouts are employed by the individual conservancies to detect and prevent low-level hunting. SVC also operates a Special Species Protection Unit of over 30 highly trained and well equipped rangers to target commercial poachers and hunters. This presence has largely contained the rampant poaching that previously afflicted the area. SVC also monitors wildlife populations through aerial and ground-based surveys. The rhino are studied closely, with ear-notches used for individual identification and strategic dehorning and fitting of radio transmitters undertaken to discourage poaching and improve monitoring. The Conservancy shares the economic benefits of protecting wildlife with the surrounding communities both through direct employment and by providing opportunities for local people to participate in cultural tourism and sell arts and crafts.
Tusk has supported SVC with various operating costs, including funding for the specialist anti-poaching unit.
Savé Valley Conservancy remains a stronghold for conservation in Zimbabwe amidst a challenging political and economic climate. Continued support is needed to guarantee the security of its precious habitats and wildlife.