August was a busy month for the ALERT team, with tough economic circumstances and the African heat kicking in the team is pulling out all the stops to ensure things continue as normal.
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Progress in Chizarira
The team in Chizarira National Park have been hard at work after being granted permission by Zimparks to reconstruct and open up old roads within the park.
This will allow for easier movements through the park when tracking collared lion and elephant as well as help aid Park management with anti-poaching coverage.
Talking about collared lions. Asli the recently collared lioness in Chizarira National Park still and appears to be in good health.
Dr Monks and the team with also be travelling to Chizarira in September to attempt to collar another lion and to collar ALERT’s first elephant in Chizarira, very exciting times ahead.
Moving across to Victoria Falls, we are pleased to inform you all that the ALERT team will start sampling for an elephant impact on vegetation assessment in the Chamabondo side of Zambezi National Park which we are sure will bring some exciting findings to the surface.
The difficulties with Human-Wildlife conflict around Victoria Falls continued in August. There were six livestock attacks (5 cattle, 1 donkey and 8 goats) were recorded during the months of July and August across all the six villages being monitored in Matetsi Ward. 13 of the recorded attacks were from lions and resulted in fatalities. The cattle were attacked on different days, in the rangeland.
Two of the losses happened when cattle were being herded. Unfortunately, the cattle herders were scared and had to flee from the lion (pride of six lions). The attacks on the goats took place at night in the kraal, the lions first attacked two goats and later on came back and finished the remaining six. The last attack which was on a donkey that was recorded in August and it was attacked by a hyena, the attack took place at night outside the kraal. The owner had not put the donkeys in the enclosure and that why we think it happened, however, it only led to an injury.
Unfortunately, the issue of human-wildlife conflict in Matetsi goes beyond livestock loss. It is also affecting the literacy of children in other parts of Matetsi Ward. Due to the long distances between some villages and schools, parents are opting to send their kids to school at a later age. This is because their children might not escape from dangerous wildlife species such as lion, elephants or buffaloes which are in their area.