Bushlife Safaris August 27, 2020

Bushlife Conservancy Update: August

August Update

Bushlife Conservancy is the funding partner of our conservation unit, Bushlife Support Unit and Painted Wolf Conservancy. They are tireless in their awareness and fundraising work to raise much-needed funds for anti-poaching, collaring and research projects in Mana Pools. They put out a very informative monthly newsletter if you would like to sign up here, and receive it in full. Below is a summary of the main points:

Elephants Mana Pools

Good News

No elephants have been poached in Mana Pools so far in 2020! Thank you to the brave and dedicated rangers and Bushlife Support Unit teams on the ground, and to our worldwide supporters who make this work possible.

Anti-Poaching Update: Human/Wildlife Conflict

From Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane, Bushlife Support Unit Trust Manager, “The hot season is just about upon us again, and for different people, it means different things. For anti-poaching rangers in the field, it means sweating, walking long hours in the field and getting bothered by mopane stingless bees – getting in your nostrils, eyes and ears. It is that time of year where Zambezi Valley temperatures can range between 36 to 50 degrees Celsius.For wild animals, it means changing their feeding habits by being more active in cooler times of the day, that is early morning and late afternoon.  They are also trying to survive on dwindling water sources and feeding on dry vegetation.

We are currently involved in various projects running in and outside of the park. We continue to support ZimParks in all aspects of operations, ranging from the provision of camping equipment, deployment of our vehicles for patrols, food rations, ecological assessments, and community projects.

Outside of the park, operations addressing human/carnivore conflict are ongoing, with recent reports of a pride of lions killing livestock in Nyamakate Hotel Village. This report comes in after we have been following a leopard that has killed 68 goats this year, and lions that have killed three cows plus a donkey, bringing it to a total to 72 animals lost in seven months. Read more about this in our September update.

Our anti-poaching bases have received new tents. Bushlife Support Unit’s team of drivers are all looking smart in their new uniforms. These are the men with the vehicles who transport the park rangers on the anti-poaching patrols.

new uniforms
elephant browsing

We are also assisting ZimParks with a second project in Mana Pools: an assessment of vegetation damage by elephants in different areas of the park. This comes following a survey which was conducted many years back in the early 1970’s, when elephant numbers were still very low. It has been noted that species with different ecological constraints are likely to react differently to the presence and abundance of a potential keystone species such as the elephant. The research questions to be addressed by this study include the effect of elephants on vegetation structure. Elephant induced vegetation changes occur mainly in wooded environments. They are likely to affect essential browsers and woodland grazers.

Elephants hold the potential to influence habitat selection by all herbivores. Many studies have shown that herbivores face trade-offs when selecting a foraging site, and the most important element seems to be between energy gain and predation risk. However, through vegetation changes, elephants influence habitat structure and consequently may influence the trade-offs that herbivores face between foraging efficiency and anti-predation behaviour.”

new tents

Thank you to the Bushlife Conservancy team for all of their efforts! Be sure to sign up for their monthly newsletter here.

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