By Dr Norman Monks. - Director Research and Conservation
We would like to thank all of our supporters for their support of this fund-raising exercise. Not surprisingly the funds raised was slow and only 15% of the projected amount was raised in over a year.
We are mindful of the fact that there are many people faced with challenging issues caused by the virus and are just grateful to those who were able to so unselfishly contribute help. We have decided to close this appeal but would like to share with you what we have achieved despite the restrictions caused by Covid-19.
The ALERT team has continued with its work in Chizarira National Park and surrounding Communities in the face of a third wave of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe. On the 22nd June our small team was able to successfully dart and collar a large bull elephant and have been keeping track of it throughout the period covered by this report. This project is aimed at obtaining population dynamics of elephants in the park and also to come up with elephant-human conflict mitigation.
We have taken on two attachment students from the Zimbabwean National University of Science and Technology that are carrying out research for their BSc (hons) degree in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management. The one project is aimed at obtaining density estimates of carnivores using two methods: road transect spoor surveys; and camera trap surveys. The camera traps are set out along the spoor transect route. Carnivores are mostly nocturnal and are often difficult to see. These methods are an acceptable way of determining what carnivores are around and give a measure of density. The other student is carrying out an insect survey in six different vegetation types. All of this information is available to the Park Manager and staff so that they can be supplied with ecological information that they would not normally have of this 1,910km2 park.
Our school conservation programs have been put on hold but as soon as restrictions have been lifted we have some exciting projects for the high school students living on one boundary of the park.
Thank you all once again for your support. We wish you safety and a positive attitude as we face the uncertain future.
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