Community guardians are an important link between communities, wildlife and conservation. Their function in communities surrounding a Protected Area includes collecting data on wildlife seen in the communal areas, reporting problem animals, keeping records of human-wildlife/livestock conflict, and to be the interface between community and the Protected Area Authorities.
To date the support response for this project has been poor probably due to the situation that we all face due to the Covid-10 pandemic. We would like to thank our sponsors to date, for their sacrifice and commitment. It has helped to make a difference in that although we are unable at this time to employ a full-time guardian, we have used the funds so far received to enable our researchers to step into the role that a guardian would take.
Zimbabwe had an exceptional season of rain after more than 4 years of drought. The Villagers on the edges have eked out an existence by planting maize, ground nuts, sorghum and pumpkins that have had poor yields, heaping an extra burden on the community. However this last season has seen good rains, rivers flowing and water holes filling up. Villagers have been able to plant their crops and are due to reap an excellent reward for their efforts.
But as we left Chizarira a week ago we had reports from the District Councilor that there were reports of elephants in crops. We brought up maps of the elephants we have so far collared and noted that one cow with a herd totaling 30 was in the Communal Land. We have been able to warn villagers to carry out measures to stop the elephant going into the crops using age old methods namely fires around fields, lookouts, dogs, noise and light. By so doing we are able to help the villagers protect the crops and also to prevent lethal retaliatory action by villagers who may be affected.
This project will continue since it is so important for the community and for the wildlife, but if funds do not come through we will need to look at other ways of fulfilling our commitment to the community. As mentioned our researchers are filling this role at this time and we are ensured that there is continuity in the support that we give villagers. If and when sufficient finds are available, we will employ a fulltime guardian from within the villagers who knows the area and is respected by the community.
Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. Stay safe!