Chizarira National Park (1,910km²) is found in the Sebungwe district (15,529km²) of Zimbabwe and encompasses various National Parks (Chizarira, Hwange, Matusadona), Safari Areas (Matetsi, Chirisa and Chete), and surrounding Communal Lands. The total elephant population in Sebungwe is 3,407; a 75% reduction of the population over a number of years (Figures from the Zimbabwe National Elephant Management Plan 2015-2020).
Initially, ALERT’s research on elephants in Chizarira will be to obtain base-line data on the population so that future elephant demographics can be compared to reliable data.
For this research, elephants are darted and fitted with satellite collars allowing the ALERT research team to track them remotely and on foot. Information such as movements (daily and seasonal), herd numbers and sex composition are important in understanding a population.
Collaring elephants is no easy feat and takes days of tracking them on foot in order to find and identify appropriate individuals to collar to achieve the results needed. Recently the ALERT team spent over 5 days tracking elephants in the hopes of collaring two more individuals to increase the data set. Unfortunately, although many signs of elephants were observed, we were not able to locate an appropriate elephant to collar this time. The female that was collared in August last year (2019) is giving good data on movements within the park and also shows forays that they make into the Communal lands (see map). It is this kind of data that will help the National Park Authority to better manage this decreasing elephant population in the future.
Hopefully we will have more positive news in the next progress report so keep in touch.Attachments: