More than 350 cyclists are participating in this year’s edition of the Tour de Tuli with the aim of raising more than $300 000 to be channeled towards supporting children who leave adjacent to game reserves and wildlife areas.
Perfect Hlongwane zifmnews.com
This year’s event runs from July 27 to August 1, starting from Botswana, into Zimbabwe and ending at Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa.
The five-day event which stretches for more than 480 kilometers through the remote wilderness of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa has been in existence for the past twelve years and managed to raise more than $1.3 million for Children in the Wilderness.
Programme Officer in the Greater Mapungubwe Trans-frontier Conservation Areas Department Kudakwashe Chigodo told zifmnews.com that a significant number of school children leaving adjacent game reserves have been assisted by funds raised through the tour.
“Over 40 000 children leaving next to protected areas in the three partner countries have benefitted from the funds raised through Tour de Tuli and each year an average of $300 000 is used in Zimbabwe alone towards bettering the lives of children in these areas, ” Chigodo said.
The tour was created by Johannesburg-based adventure travel outfitter Wilderness Safaris to support the development of environmental and life skills for rural African youths as well as a variety of conservation projects through the Wilderness Wildlife Trust.
With reports of increasing cases of human wildlife conflict in Sub-Sahara Africa, Chigodo said the initiative also aims at equipping people with knowledge on how to leave in harmony with wildlife and reduce conflicts.
“The idea is to groom them to understand handling human wildlife conflict issues, to understand tourism and its benefits, and also to inspire them to take up careers in those fields. This means that we will have people who are equipped with the right skills and knowledge towards conserving our wildlife.
She also emphasized the need for complimentary support from governments and the private sector to reduce the effects of human wildlife conflict.
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has indicated that two people died after being trampled on by elephants in separate incidences in Mutare and Hwange. Villagers in Shurugwi have also been complaining that they were losing their livestock to Hyenas.