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Bushlife Safaris September 27, 2020

Bushlife Conservancy Update: September

September 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:

Tusker Ranger Fund Update

Welcome to our new Tusker Ranger Fund members: Dr. & Mrs Iredell I.

TRF funds are crucial to the support of anti-poaching patrols in Mana Pools National Park.  They provide money for food, fuel, and salary for the National Park Ranger drivers.  If you want to be a part of TRF it requires a donation of $100 per month and can be made on the Bushlife Conservancy website here.

Anti-Poaching Update: Human/Wildlife Conflict

From Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane, Bushlife Support Unit Trust Manager, “The heat reflects its brutality in the Zambezi Valley during the months of September, October and November. The valley is oven-hot and begs for moisture. Once away from the Zambezi River, the terrain is a burnt rocky moonscape, the vegetation is cracked and spindly, desperately hugging the life-sustaining springs that dot the area. It is an anxious time to be a browser or grazer forced to concentrate around shrinking water. A bountiful time to be a carnivore with sharp eyes facing forward.

This month I focus on translocation as a tool for mitigating conflict with carnivores in the human-dominated landscape of the Zambezi Valley.

The lion (Panthera leo) is the King of the Beasts, and the symbol of strength and majesty from Old Testament times until the present day. The lion is feared and is a loathed super predator. Once widespread across much of Asia, Southern Europe and all of Africa, the lion’s range has been considerably reduced within historical times. Man, a predator and stock farmer, does not like competition. Lions have been exterminated from Europe, and in even large areas of Africa.

The southern boundary of Mana Pools is a human-dominated landscape. Livestock attacks by predators are common. This year we received several reports of leopards and lions killing and eating people’s livestock in the Nyamakate community, beginning in January to date. Nearly 80 animals have been lost due to lions and leopards in the southern boundary of Mana Pools, Marongora and Rifa blocks.

Collared lion
Collared leopard

In late August, Bushlife Support Unit, together with Zimpark’s Marongora rangers, trapped and GPS collared a female leopard who was killing livestock in a village outside of the National Park. She was relocated to Mana Pools. A few days later a lioness was trapped in the same area, due to human-wildlife conflict problems. She was relocated to Chewore, in the mid-Zambezi Valley, about 200 kilometres from the capture area. She also was GPS collared so we could monitor her movements and has been seen moving around in the Chewore area.

Lions exhibit a very wide habitat tolerance and are found in anything from thick bush through open forest to desert. Man has, however, exterminated them from most farming areas and today lions are confined to designated conservation areas.

Collaring and relocating problem animals as a wildlife management initiative will help with gathering more details about animal behaviour, movement, and hopefully mitigate human-wildlife conflict issues with carnivores in human-dominated landscapes”.

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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