Gonarezhou Conservation Trust

A conservation partnership

Place of Elephants

Gonarezhou National Park, in Zimbabwe’s South-East Lowveld, covers just more than 5 000 km² of some of the most spectacular scenery in the region incorporating the iconic Chilojo Cliffs, wide meandering rivers and extensive woodlands. Widely known for its unique wilderness character, the Park’s reputation as a premier destination for quality wildlife sightings is also growing. Home to about 11 000 elephants, the Gonarezhou truly deserves its vernacular name as ‘Place of Elephants’.

The Gonarezhou Trust – An Innovative Conservation Partnership

Elephant bull in sunlightThe Gonarezhou Trust is an innovative new model for protected area management drawn up between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS). Built on the back of a strong relationship developed over 9 years of support by FZS for Gonarezhou, the Trust is directly responsible for management of the Park for a period of 20 years, and became fully operational on 1st March 2017.

The Park is governed by a Board of Trustees, made up in equal numbers by nominees from ZPWMA and FZS. The Trust is responsible for all aspects relating to the management of the Park.   A key component of the partnership is that the the Park should strive to become more financially self-sustainable during the tenure of the Trust to secure its long-term conservation viability – to that end all income pertaining to the Park will be retained by the Trust and reinvested in its management.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority

The Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority is mandated under the Parks and Wildlife Act of 1975 to protect and manage the wildlife of Zimbabwe, and is charged with the administration of almost 13% of Zimbabwe’s total land area in the form of National Parks, Recreational Parks, Botanical Reserves and Gardens, and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society

FZS is an international conservation organisation based in Frankfurt in Germany. Founded by Prof. Bernhard Grzimek, FZS is committed to preserving wildlands and biological diversity in the last remaining wilderness areas on the planet. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was the starting point of the Frankfurt Zoological Society’s conservation efforts. At the end of the 1950s Bernhard Grzimek launched what has since become a comprehensive programme consisting of some 30 projects dedicated to the protection of outstanding wilderness areas and national parks in 18 countries. The conservation focus of all FZS projects is on protecting wilderness areas and preserving biodiversity.