Protecting the Big 5 in South Africa

by Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)
Protecting the Big 5 in South Africa
Hello to Cheetah Cub
Hello to Cheetah Cub

Dear Supporters,

What a few months it has been in South Africa and for our amazingly beautiful big 5! Hopefully you are aware what the Big 5 consists of by now but just to remind you it is our South Africa Lions, our beautiful and often rather shy leopards, our lovely rhino's that are always running from the terrible poachers, the huge elephants and our entertaining Cape buffalo. 

Your gifts to our project go directly to our team that are working to protect and save these animals in very large reserves within South Africa. The upkeep of these are huge and until last year a large percentage of funding came from tourism which dropped to zero for over 9 months due to the global pandemic. With reserves running out it has certainly been a challenging few months but we continue to work hard and do as much as we can within the limited resources. 

Sadly the other week we did lose three of our white rhino's to poachers, it's been a long time since we have seen a successful attack and that is down to tourists being on the reserve (extra eyes) and our anti poaching team that is funded through your donations. It was a horrible few days for us finding them but we are committed to setting up our operations to try and protect the rest of our rhino family. 

On a good note donations over the past 3-4 months have helped us get our beloved Toyota Hilux back up and running, she cost around $1,200 to get back up and running and she is very very old but without her on the reserve we couldn't respond to emergencies, while this seems expensive a new/used one will be around $15,000 and something we will begin fundraising for this year.

On top of getting our wheels back we also managed to fundraise through charity challenges and your donations of $2,300 to fund a wild dog collar that comes with 12 months emergency support and satellite navigation. With these we get daily monitoring and research and real time search which is very important as we recently released these dogs back onto the reserve and the need to track them was essential as they are notoriously cheeky animals and love breaking out through the huge fencing. 

 

It's certainly been a super busy few months and our funding is now at the lowest it has been for years but we are all still here working hard to ensure the protection and safety of all our wildlife.  Please if you can share our news and project with your networks and help us raise the needed funds for 2021.

 

All the best,

Tyrone and our team in South Africa.

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Drive Time
Drive Time

Dear Supporters,

 

With the recent quarter two Global Domestic Product (GDP) announcements shared from the Statistics South Africa website, the effects of this tumultuous pandemic have now been officially put onto paper, and labelled a “severe punch in the gut” for South Africa’s economy. Recreation and culture, as well as restaurants and hotels took massive hits, with expenditure declines of 86% and 99.9% respectively. The government now warns that this pandemic could cost the jobs of 400,000 workers in the tourism industry alone.

 

The funds generated by tourism, which go on to support some 23 million livelihoods all but dried up during the harsh COVID-19 lockdown period. Wildlife-based ecotourism was estimated to be worth approximately R323 billion annually to South Africa’s GDP (2013), much of which contributed directly towards the management of protected areas. Many people think the lockdown and restriction of human movement around the world would benefit nature and be a step in the right direction. The unfortunate reality is that without international revenue being directly injected into South Africa’s conservation sectors through ecotourism, the biodiversity of our wildlife and the protection of their habitats is at serious risk. With lower conservation capacities and increased threats to wildlife and ecosystems, any positive outcomes that may have arisen during the lockdown will all be for nothing. 

 

GVI Limpopo have also felt the negative consequences of this pandemic, as our base here on Karongwe was unfortunately put into an inevitable hibernation period and all operations since March have all but come to a standstill. Just because we have no participants joining us on our daily monitoring and reserve work projects doesn’t mean the work has stopped though. Anti-poaching patrols have almost doubled since the lockdown, requiring additional funds to keep their vehicles on the road, which our Saving the South African Rhino fund has assisted with. We are also still in close communication with reserve management in regards to sharing wildlife information and reporting on the reserve, and assisting with locating our focus species where possible. Sadly we also had to hit the pause button on our camera trap project, delaying our hyena identification project across the reserve. From here, we hope that soon South Africa will lift the ban on international travel, of course with a high priority on health and safety protocols, so that we can once again welcome participants through our doors and begin our monitoring operations.

 

In the meantime, we are still continuing our fundraising efforts to finalise the purchase of the Wild Dog satellite collar, as they are due to be released onto the reserve any day now. From the 14th - 18th of September, the Little by Little Campaign is a five-day crowdfunding campaign designed to help all partners of GlobalGiving around the world cultivate a robust network of small-dollar donors. All eligible donations up to $50 per unique donor per organization will be matched at 50% during the campaign, and funds will not run out! Although it may seem insignificant, numerous contributions at lower amounts during this time could help us quickly reach our goal, so we appeal to our donors once more to help our cause and contribute directly towards the protection and monitoring of this endangered species.

 

Once again, from the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank all our sponsors and readers for following our conservation journey in the heart of the South African savanna. We hope wherever you are around the world that you are safe and well, and we look forward to reporting on more positive impact stories in the months to come!

 

Love, 

 

The GVI Karongwe Team

Teleming
Teleming
Wild Dog
Wild Dog
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Hyena Camera Traps
Hyena Camera Traps

Dear Supporters,

 

As we’re progressively making our way through the crazy year that is 2020 so far, it’s important that we remember to reflect on the things that we can control – like still being able to make a positive impact in our small corner of the world. 

We are so excited to update our donors and readers on the great work we’ve been able to do in the field with the help of the GVI Trust, as well as our ongoing efforts to try and safely monitor the latest and greatest additions to the reserve!

 

Camera Trap Protection

An amazing effort was made by a previous participant of ours, Kendra Carano, who helped us raise over US$1000 over a short period of time in order to purchase seven missing camera trap cases so that all 52 of our camera traps in the field could be properly set up and protected! As you may recall, back in March 2019 our biggest sponsorship to date by René Koopman – owner of Imvubu Lodge on Karongwe, saw the purchase of over 40 camera traps to add to our surveying arsenal. 

 

Karongwe Hyena Report

Thanks to our primary camera trap study, which included 26 traps located in both the northern and southern areas of the reserve, our fantastic Science Officer Kayla was able to put together a progress report on what we’d discovered so far about our spotted elusive friends. So far, we have been able to identify five individuals by their spot patterns, including one new cub and some new additions to the Karongwe clan, as well as their favourite hang-out spots and some interesting behaviour at the dens. What’s more exciting is we managed to even capture images of a brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) on the reserve!After sharing our report with partners and stakeholders in February, and the purchase of the missing camera trap cases, Kayla began the exciting first step into starting the pilot study of our spotted hyena camera trapping project by placing camera traps within a pre-set grid in the field, as well as at known hyena hot spots and old den sites. The results we obtained before we sadly had to push the pause button on our project already showed some very promising data, and we look forward to getting straight back into it once our program can open its doors once more.

 

Satellite Collar Fundraiser

The newest edition to GVI’s track-able animals consists of a small pack of Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus) soon to be released on the reserve from the safety of a boma. GVI are responsible for tracking our focus species on the reserve, twice a day every day - namely the male lion, the cheetah brother coalition, as well as the female cheetah. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), who GVI already work quite closely with in conjunction with the cheetah metapopulation project, have recommended the use of satellite collars, rather than VHF radio collars. This is especially important when you are tracking elusive species such as the Wild Dog, who can be fast-moving and cover large distances quickly! With the help of the GVI Trust, we are fundraising to purchase the much-needed satellite collar, something you can imagine does not come cheap - but is a crucial piece of equipment which will ensure the safety and protection of this endangered species. Our target includes the collar itself, as well as the servicing fee for 12 months with 3 hourly readings a day!

 

Every contribution, no matter the size, will help us reach our target and contribute back towards the conservation and monitoring of species that desperately need our help.

 

Once again, from the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank all our sponsors and readers following our conservation journey in the heart of the South African savanna. Without your help we would not be able to conduct effective research and monitoring of our endangered and vulnerable species on the reserve.

 

Love, 

 

The GVI Karongwe Team

Pilot Study - Camera Trap Points
Pilot Study - Camera Trap Points
Southern Camera Traps
Southern Camera Traps
Wild Dog Male
Wild Dog Male
Wild Dogs in Boma
Wild Dogs in Boma
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Buffalo Herd Karongwe
Buffalo Herd Karongwe

Dear Supporters,

 

Someone pinch us, is it really 2020 already?! Time has been flying by and here at GVI Limpopo we have some exciting new projects arising for the new year. 

 

The first batch of volunteers and interns have arrived on base and they have already been fully immersed in all aspects of the African bush. Track & sign walks, birding lectures, conservation talks, and daily game drives are all parts of their time here and they have gotten to see some really awesome interactions between species. One of the great things about volunteering with us includes jumping into our ongoing studies. Here’s an update on some of our current studies!

 

Hyena Study

All the camera traps ordered for the hyena study have finally arrived and have been strategically set up around the reserve. Camera traps have been placed in areas with high scat and hyena track densities and images have proven these areas to be hyena hot spots. The reserve is about 8,000 hectares and we have seen hyena hot spots everywhere from down south to up north and it has been incredible to see how these species move about on the reserve. With these new cameras, active den sites have been located, as well as active hyena latrines, providing us with great photos to use for identification. We have narrowed down our population to 5 distinct individuals with one small pup. We will continue to update you on the identification progress and our hyena numbers!

 

Buffalo Study

Certain populations of buffalo in the Limpopo province and around South Africa have been identified to carry the Tuberculosis (TB) virus. TB is often spread from domestic cattle through fences and into reserves with buffalo. Karongwe Game Reserve, where GVI traverses, has bred out the TB in our buffalo in a large boma and we are now a TB free zone and the buffalo are free to roam the entire reserve again. With their release about 2 years ago, we have now started to calculate herd numbers through a small study. Each time a GVI vehicle views a buffalo herd, we count the numbers of males and females and their ages. We have come out with about 72 buffalo, and with this information, reserve management was able to bring in 5 new female buffalo to add to the population. 

 

With your continued interest and donations, we can help these animals by studying them and ensuring the population numbers are sustainable. We thank you so very much for your support! 

 

Love, 

 

The Karongwe Team 

Camera Trap Set up
Camera Trap Set up
Hyena Cub on Camera Trap
Hyena Cub on Camera Trap
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Male Lion
Male Lion

Dear Supporters, 

Our newest carnivore, the female cheetah, has been splendid at being a cheetah. We just created new
spatial maps showing the differences between lion and cheetah core ranges. All which would not be
possible without the use of our telemetry equipment.

Karongwe’s newbie!

A few months ago, Karongwe translocated in a new female cheetah from a neighbouring reserve, bringing us to 4 cheetahs in total. To acclimate her to the new surroundings, we placed her in a boma for about 6 weeks where she could learn the smells and sounds of her new home. She is an extremely important little lady for the whole of the South African cheetah metapopulation, and we are all rooting for her success! With the not-so-long ago bottleneck of the cheetah species, translocations throughout multiple fenced reserves is necessary to diversify the gene pool. We are thrilled to update you that our new girl has been doing tremendously well. She hunts for herself, she protects herself, and she’s making Karongwe her home. Because of your generous help, we can track her daily and take information on her location, how often she feeds and how she manages to stay away from other predators. Learning her movement patterns are essential and it wouldn’t be possible without the telemetry equipment we purchase through this fund. 

Cheetah vs Lion

Along with tracking our female cheetah, we also use telemetry to locate our male cheetah coalition and our lion pride each day. Recently, our science officer has begun to look at spatial maps to see how the cheetahs manage to avoid run-ins with the lions. Our new spatial maps show us how different the core ranges for each species differ. The male cheetah coalition spends most of their time along the fence line and in a more open area of the reserve, whereas the lions spend most of their time near a large dam and close to the river areas. Tracking these animals every morning and afternoon for years to follow can lead us to so much more awesome information like this!

All because of your support of this fund, we are able to learn more about our cheetahs and lions each and every day. We cannot thank you enough.

Love,

The Karongwe team

Male Cheetah
Male Cheetah

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Organization Information

Action Change (Formerly GVI Trust)

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Tyrone Bennett
London, London United Kingdom
$3,382 raised of $4,000 goal
 
43 donations
$618 to go
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