The heat has arrived in Zimbabwe and Zambia with temperatures reaching almost 40 degrees Celsius 😱.
Elephant research in Victoria Falls.
Despite the extreme heat, this has not stopped our research team in Victoria Falls. They have been very busy in Zambezi National Park, having completed sampling data to study the impact of the elephant population on vegetation within the National Park.
Data was collected from 7000 different plants in 55 different plots of the park over a 6 week period. The analysis has started and should be completed by early March of 2020.
We are extremely excited to see what the data yields. A massive thank you must go out to our dedicated research team for their efforts.
Staying in Victoria falls the ALERT team has had to say goodbye to our attachment student, Clarisse Chirenje a university student from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Clarisse will be completing her final year university project entitled “The Role of Photographic Mark Recapture (PMR) Method in Wildlife Ecology Studies” due to be completed by July 2020. Clarisse will be using the giraffe population of Zambezi National Park as a model.
Her 3 main objectives are:
1. To determine Giraffe movement patterns and home ranges in ZNP.
2. To estimate Giraffe population size using PMR method.alled 3. To compare PMR and Road counts methods in estimating population size.
All available photographs in our database that has been built over the course of our giraffe research have been processed using Wild.ID and are ready for further analysis, as part of Clarisse’s’ project and to help fulfil ALERT’s project goals and objectives.
Our first goal is to obtain reliable estimates of population size and structure for the giraffe population in Zambezi National Park and the second goal is to assess giraffe distribution across the park and identify areas of preferred habitat.
Still in the Falls, and the Hyaena Specialist Group is currently in the process of updating range maps for spotted hyaena, striped hyaena, brown hyaena, and aardwolf which were last updated in 1998.
In support of this, ALERT recently contributed occurrence data (spoor, visuals, camera traps) for spotted hyena and brown hyena gathered by our teams in Zambezi National Park, Chizarira National Park and Fuller Forest since 2015. Once completed, the new range maps will form the foundation of a new status survey and conservation action plan for the Hyaenidae.
We are very proud as an organisation to be involved in this project.
Moving across to our community projects. ALERT assisted the immunization outreach programme within the Hwange District, collaborating with the district health office.
ALERT assisted with transport and data recording during the program. Throughout the intensive clinic week, approximately 302 babies were weighed and checked for normal growth and at least 71 babies were immunized (received Vitamin A, IPV, OPV and some even BCG). The areas covered during the program included the Matetsi Ward, Chidobe Ward, Jambezi Ward, Chikandakubi, Chikamba, Mizpah and Lupinyu.
The programme also involved educating and distributing contraceptives to the mothers of the respective communities. The majority of mothers opted for oral contraceptives but were however encouraged to try long term and less demanding methods such as implants and the loop. The reason being that there is a tendency to forget to the tablets. We are so happy to be doing what we can for the surrounding communities of Vic falls.
Jumping to Antelope Park, the ALERT support project of HIV+ youths was in full swing. The affected youths from local clinics attended a FUN trail session with an Impact Work Out of the Day session.
The session allowed those in attendance to focus on the importance of physical fitness and the positive impacts of living an active and healthy lifestyle.
Off to Chizarira, we go!
Since collaring two lions in Chizarira National Park the ALERT research team has estimated a population of 40 native lions in the park. This estimation excludes lion cubs under a year old whilst more than 48 individual lions have been estimated when the cubs are included.
The team propounds that there are 4 prides in the park, two of which include one lion collared by ALERT. The prides which include a collared lion are the Mabola and Kaswiswi prides, these prides contain 11 and 9 lions respectively. While the other two prides are the Sinompas and Chimbova prides.
Both collared lions have been seen by the team when conducting research, the two lions were both in the company of other females and cubs. The lions are in good health and have strong bonds within their respective prides.
As many of may know ALERT has started carrying out elephant research in Chizarira National Park and the surrounding Protected Areas. We are looking at obtaining the population characteristics and movements of this iconic animal.
Elephants are subject to illegal killing for its ivory, and for over 30 years now, no in-depth work has been carried out in Chizarira. ALERT aims to find out how the elephant population is faring and what the population structure is within the park. As elephants are large animals capable of moving vast distances, the need to understand their movements and core areas is very important. Knowing the movements and core areas will allow for ranger deployment in the park and safari areas to be more efficient and controlled and will ultimately ensure that patrol rangers are in nearby proximity to the herds for protection.
ALERT in partnership with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) have initiated this study by collaring an elephant within the park so that its’ herd movements can be mapped and studied. Further collars are being purchased so that most, if not all herds in the area can be followed. Usually, only one adult female in a herd will be collared as well as a number of bulls moving in bachelor groups or alone.
This project has important management functions that will feedback to the Park Management and also assist ALERT in its human-wildlife mitigation Community work. From a study that ALERT carried out for WWF, it is known that several people in the surrounding Communal Land have been killed and injured by elephants raiding fields; several granaries have been destroyed and some houses holding grain have also been destroyed by elephants.
We cannot wait to expand this project, however, we do need your help raising the funds for the collars that we would like to purchase. If you would like to become a part of the ALERT team and a part of the elephant study please click the link below and visit our GlobalGiving page.
Elephant Research (http://)
Three awesome volunteers who are were staying at the Victoria Falls base and Wildlife Encounter brought various donations in kind.
The donation included:
– 50 ballpoint pens
– 180 pads for the girls in the surrounding communities of Vic Falls
– 7 Bras for the girls as well
– 608 cod liver and 200 vitamin A tablets for the lions
– batteries for camera traps
– 10 T-shirts and trousers for the boys of the surrounding communities
A big thank you goes out to our generous volunteers.
If you are interested in seeing more of our projects please visit our GlobalGiving project page.
As part of the ALERT team we would like to thank you for your continued support we wouldn’t be where we are without you