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Apr 9, 2020

Ready, Steady, Go

Conflict mitigation is essential to conservation in order to protect both people and wildlife. Therefore, in 2015 ALERT in collaboration with Coventry University established a human wildlife conflict mitigation project in Matetsi. This is a long-term project aimed at uplifting the Matetsi communities, protecting the wildlife in the area and promoting coexistence between humans and wildlife. 

READY… INSIGHTS

Up until recently, the focus of the project has been to test the effectiveness of LED lights as a means to reduce night-time livestock losses to predators. However, preliminary results revealed a high frequency of daytime attacks in grazing lands as well as high crop losses to elephants. To address this ALERT decided to pursue a more holistic mitigation approach using Community Guardians, that is community members who are employed and trained to protect livestock and crops in their own communities.

STEADY… TRAIN TWO GUARDIANS

Together with community members and authorities, ALERT identified community volunteers and has already facilitated the training of 2 individuals through WildCru’s Community Guardian program, a tried and tested program that has successfully reduced human wildlife conflict in southern Africa. These Community Guardians are taught various skills which include kraal construction, cattle herd assessment, tracking and scaring of predators and elephants using non-lethal methods as well as reporting and early warning.

GO… EQUIP AND MOBILISE

Having completed the training, the next step towards mobilising these 2 guardians is to equip each of them with uniforms, stationary, a bicycle, a GPS, a mobile phone, call time and monthly wage.

Mar 19, 2020

Update on elephant research in Chizarira National

ALERT & Park staff after 1st elephant collaring
ALERT & Park staff after 1st elephant collaring

Chizarira National Park (2,000km2) is an isolated and wild Protected Area situated in the north of Zimbabwe.  Four of the Big 5 wildlife species are found here including elephant, lions, leopards and buffalo.

In order to assist the National Park Authorities to manage the wildlife in this park, ALERT is carrying out a number of research and monitoring projects so that the park management understands the dynamics of the wildlife population that they are called upon to protect.

The elephant research project was initiated in September, 2019 by ALERT with the National Park Authority as a partner, since no monitoring or research work has been carried out in the park since 1978 and there was no data on the status of the population and whether any management interventions were needed.

PROGRESS

Due to financial constraints only one collar has been fitted to date. A female in a herd of 30 other elephants (with 8 calves) was darted and collared on 18th September 2019.  Since that time the herd has been monitored both through GPS fixes and on the ground using the VHF function on the collar.

Sexing the herd which fluctuates between 30 and about 60 animals has not been completed due to the thick bush that they move in but the research team is working towards obtaining herd structure.

Initially the herd moved in the Mabola-Kaswiswi area, but as the dry season progressed they were concentrated around the Bimba, Manzituba and Kasanzi areas where there are perennial springs. When the rainy season started the herd started moving away from this core area and at one stage were found outside of the park (which does not have fences) in the adjoining Communal land. Fortunately they did not stay there and returned to the park.

The data that we are collecting from this one herd is invaluable but we need to collar individuals in other herds to get a better idea of the distribution and status of the elephant population in the park. Elephants are a vulnerable species and the only way to manage them efficiently is to know more about the population (distribution, age and sex ratios, calf recruitment and success, movements, foraging areas, food preference, vegetation destruction, level of threats, etc).

Dec 6, 2019

The Best Month so far.

Happy Holidays to all our donors!

 

Since the last report in September, we have had the best months of donations since the project's inception! Go, team! Thanks to all of you we raised $1900 and were able to help 33 children from the respective schools! The children received payment of school fees, stationery (school supply pack) and uniforms. The stationery supplied consists of a backpack, 16 writing books, 8 pens, a ruler, 1 sellotape, 3 rolls of khaki cover and 3 rolls of plastic cover to last the school term.

At the breakfast school, we supplied 11 children with school fees for 2020 as well as uniforms and a school supply pack. At Masuwe 9 children were assisted with school fees, uniforms and a school supply pack and at Sekebelo school 13 children were supplied a school supply pack, uniforms and school fees paid for 2020.

We would like to take this time to thank our new members of the team. You the donors. Without your generosity, this project would not be funded and we would not be able to help our communities in Victoria Falls. SO thank you!

 
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