AUGUST 2019 NEWSLETTER

Join us celebrating World Elephant Day, August 12!

Inaugurated in 2012, this day was started to bring attention to the struggles that elephants face from poaching, habitat loss, human conflict and mistreatment. 
THANK YOU BUSHLIFE CONSERVANCY DONORS, SUPPORTERS and BUSHLIFE SUPPORT UNIT TEAM MEMBERS. 
Your donations help us to fulfill our mission: to protect and save African Wildlife for future generations in the Mana Pools and Zambezi Valley areas of Zimbabwe.

 

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Elephants Successfully Collared in July

It was a big month for some of our treasured elephants at Mana Pools.  After receiving final approval for collar permits in May, from the Director General of National Parks, Mr. Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya, our Bushlife Conservancy President and head of Bushlife Support Unit (BSU) Nick Murray, staff from National Parks services and Veterinary support from Taps, participated in successfully collaring five elephants in Mana Pools. These included three bulls:  Impi, Chitake, Bruce and two cows:  Lisa and Mrs. Tusker.  In addition, one young bull, Dennis was darted so that a wound on his foot could be treated.

The purpose of the elephant collaring is to identify the iconic bulls in a conservation effort to conserve the large tusk gene in the elephant population. Although legally, elephants with collars may still be hunted, the collars are a way of safeguarding these animals as they act as a deterrent to hunters. The cows are collared in order to monitor their movements for research purposes.

To date 9 elephants have been collared in total, 7 bulls – Tusker, Boswell, Fred, Grumpy, Harry, Bruce, Chitake and Impi and 2 cows – Lisa and Mrs Tusker.

Guests at Vundu Camp and Bushlife Conservancy donors including Bruce & Lisa Lawler and Mark Nolting were present during the collaring.

A tale from Mana - Conservation issues and efforts, worldwide and local to Mana Pools

With the following review of recent articles in The National Geographic magazine, Bob Perkins reminds us that conservation challenges are faced beyond those we meet in the lower Zambezi Valley and Mana Pools. Bob, and his wife Mara, have been donors since the inception of Bushlife Support Trust Unit and Bushlife Conservancy.  They are advocates and activists for conservation efforts worldwide.
 
National Geographic magazine has recently raised issues educating readers about the plight of species which are endangered by humans. The June 2019 issue explains why, even tourists who love animals, might unknowingly be causing them to suffer.  It also gives readers clues to look for before paying for an opportunity to interact with exotic animals that might indicate mistreated of these animals. In particular, the article highlights examples of elephants and bears cruelly chained when not on display or in shows; dolphins with injuries from fighting for bait food where tourists swim with dolphins; and an elderly tiger with a truth abscess and decaying jaw kept on a tight chain in a zoo.  

The authors suggest that tourists should look to see if the animals are free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pain and injury.  The animals should also be able to express normal behavior and be free from fear and distress.  If on a tour and you see any of these troubling signs, paying for a show or an interaction with the animal may contribute to this suffering of this animal or other animals. 

The same National Geographic issue demonstrates the unsustainable number of pangolins being poached worldwide.  As you may not know, pangolin poaching is a problem for us in Mana Pools.  Primarily it is the Chinese who use pangolin scales in commercial Chinese medicines.  This is despite the fact that these scales are composed of keratin, same as a human fingernail only harder.  Thus, this substance provides absolutely no medical benefit.  

Finally, the May and June issues of National Geographic highlight the positive impact women are having in anti-poaching efforts.  This includes their roles as armed rangers and in helping villages surrounding conservation areas protect their wildlife parks.  To paraphrase one former Australian special forces soldier featured in the June issue, who has trained game rangers in Africa, the women are more adept at de-escalating violent situations and less susceptible to bribery.  This is making for a winning combination in animal protection in conservation.
 
How does Bushlife Conservancy address conservation problems in Mana Pools?
 
Bob Perkins has thoughtfully highlighted in the previous review, some of the current problems facing our global conservation community.  The good news is that Bushlife Support Unit Trust (BSUT), supported by the U.S. non-profit, Bushlife Conservancy (BC), has been successful in fighting the poaching of elephants, pangolin and protecting painted dogs and other species in Mana Pools.  Through BC donor support, BSUT has implemented a conservation model that addresses the severe and prolonged economic hardships that the National Parks in Zimbabwe have faced.
 
What do your donations fund?  BSUT purchases vehicles, fuel, food, camping equipment and supplies.  We established remote ranger bases in multiple areas in the Zambezi Valley.  At each remote base, we supply a vehicle, a driver, fuel and food for the Rangers and our driver who are on deployment.  Among other activities, we perform many months of labor on roads including repairs, bridge work and opening roads into remote areas to increase surveillance accessibility.
 
Most importantly, the official results reported by Zimbabwe Wildlife Parks Management Authority for 2018:  zero elephant poached on Parks estates.
As BSUT performs 75% of the anti-poaching activity in Mana Pools this is a tremendous success for us!

Meet Our Donors

Do you know that feeling of pure joy and excitement that you get when you talk with others who have the same interests and passions as you do?  That was my experience in interviewing our Bushlife Conservancy donors, Dr. Jean-Marie and Dr. Nadia Girardot.  Both Jean-Marie and Nadia shared their story of traveling to Mana Pools in 2016 and having incredible animal encounters (picture above).  Spending time with Nick Murray (our BC President) they also learned about the National Park and our early conservation efforts.  These experiences helped lead them to becoming Bushlife Conservancy donors.
 
Seasoned travelers, Jean-Marie found Mana Pools to be “just incredible.”  While in Mana Pools, the Girardots spent time running and with the wild dogs and encountered displays of their social and pack behavior while sitting close to them.  They met with ‘Grumpy’ the elephant at close quarters.  Enjoying time at the Zambezi River they tracked a herd of elephants.  They also had a memorable lion sighting.  For a couple who have traveled extensively, Jean-Marie will tell you they love Africa and cannot wait to get back to Mana Pools.
 
The support of Bushlife Conservancy and Bushlife Support Unit Trust work in Mana Pools is a key motivator for the couple to donate.  Nick Murray is described by Jean-Marie as, “forward thinking” and a “no nonsense kind of guy – he makes it happen.”     Nadia knows Nick to be, “one of a kind.”   She is concerned about the long-term impact of climate change and of poaching on plants and animal species of Africa.  Nadia sees this as a great research topic to pursue in Mana:  how many species of insects and animals in the Park that are benefiting from the elephant will no longer exist if the elephant becomes extinct.   “Supporting Nick is a small contribution to helping future generations understand the importance of preserving endangered species.  Seeing in the Newsletter the result of the tremendous anti-poaching and education work of all involved at Bushlife is the reward that keeps alive our hope that we will soon go back to Mana Pools. This time for more than three days.”

How Can You Help? Tusker Ranger Fund
Become a Founding Member

Bushlife Conservancy is preparing for the campaign kick-off of our Tusker Ranger Fund (TRF).  Beginning on September 13 and wrapping up on National Elephant Appreciation Day, September 22, we will present to you our dream to recruit 100 donors who will donate at $100 per month to the fund, thereby covering the cost of anti-poaching patrols for an entire year.  This covered cost is critical as it would allow BC to expand our conservation efforts in so many ways. 
 
Below is a picture of Tusker looking for his donors!

 

Bushlife Conservancy Manager Update

Any donor who initiates their Tusker Ranger donation before the September 13 kick-off will become a Founding Member of the TRF. 

 
Why is this funding so important to Mana Pools and the Park Rangers?  Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane, our Manager with Bushlife Support Unit, shares with us a story of a Mana Pools National Park Ranger.  This Park Ranger is one of our team partners in anti-poaching and conservation efforts in the National Park.
 
Mana Pools National Park Ranger, Lovemore, was born in rural Zimbabwe and went to school up to Ordinary level. His family background is from 11 children; he is number four, with five sisters and six brothers. Lovemore grew up herding cattle, goats and donkeys until he moved to town at the age of 16.  In town his first job was a trainee security guard with a local security company. Eventually moving back to the rural area, Lovemore married at 18 years old, and was employed by the National Park as a casual laborer fixing roads and performing fireguard maintenance. In 2004, he was employed full-time, was eventually promoted to Scout 1, and rose to a Park Ranger position.
 
Here is what Lovemore says about his job:
 
“My job comes first.  I am 41 years old now. I have been working in this wildlife industry for 23 years.  My kids go to school, I can look after my parents and my late brothers’ kids. Though not getting paid much and working under very difficult conditions, l still enjoy my work. I strongly believe in wildlife protection as it has shaped my life.  When my wife came to me and told me that she was pregnant, l nearly ran away, but God answered my prayers opening the doors for me and l was employed by National Parks to help protect wildlife.
 
I have received para-military training with Parks for me to do my job properly. My training involved:  foot and drill, bush craft, map reading, tracking, rifle shooting and ambushing. With these l can produce better results for my organization. In 20 years, l have saved wildlife and I have been involved in close combat with armed poachers.
 
An unforgettable incursion was when we had a gun fire exchange with poachers.   One poacher was killed and one of our guys was injured during the contact. It started when we heard gun shots at night during our patrol about 11pm.  Early the next day we saw vultures landing where the shots came from and knew where the carcass was to be found.  As, we approached with caution, as we were not sure where the poachers were.  We found at the location two dead elephant carcasses, an adult female and a young elephant, not even worth shooting.  This poor baby elephant was killed even though it had no tusk.
 
Another experience was when the poacher changed his poaching tactics. We were out on a patrol and we came across dead baboons, elephants, hyenas, vultures and several other individual animals at a spring. We were puzzled at what might have caused such destruction; the carcasses were at an advanced state of decomposition.   Contacting our Park office, we were told that this was all due to poisoning with cyanide, resulting in such a big number of animals dying. We were really fearful as we had planned to collect some of the water for camp use; that mission was immediately abandoned.”
Challenges faced
Most the times Rangers spend more days away from their families. Lovermore said, “In a year I probably see my family three days only.  One of the reasons is that we do not have enough manpower as we are short staffed.  This at times puts us in stressful conditions.”
 
Achievements
The years 2105 to 2017 were reported as very bad years for poaching.  “We were losing one or two elephants every day, but now the figures have dropped due to collaborative operations and the help we receive from stakeholders such as Bushlife and other players in the conservation game. We anticipate a very bad year in 2019 due to the economic challenges in Zimbabwe.  Poaching will also be on the increase as the rain was very bad this past season and our money is worthless,” continues Lovemore.
 
If the donors of Bushlife Conservancy fully finance the 2019-2020Tusker Ranger Fund, we will implement  additional opportunities to support the local communities, Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane expresses ongoing hope that “we can encourage or come up with self-help projects to assist our country men and women.  Our wildlife will be facing a very bad year. Income generating projects would help people to better survive rather than our citizens resorting to poaching as a way of survival. Over the years we have noticed that if you carry out conservation awareness campaigns with people who are hungry, it is like hitting against a brick wall; they still would be hungry and need to feed their families.  At this time self-help opportunities would be better projects for our citizens.”

Share your photographs of Mana Pools?

Do you have beautiful photographs from your excursion to Mana Pools?  We are updating our Bushlife Conservancy website and we are looking for inspiring photographs to share the story of Mana Pools.  If you would let us give consideration to a couple of your best photographs, please send to info@bushlife-conservancy.org

Other Ways You Help

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our reoccurring and returning donors!   You are valued members of the Bushlife Conservancy family. 
 
If you would like to join our conservation and anti-poaching efforts, we welcome you to a passionate and committed team.  Our needs are ever increasing. 
 
Please consider sharing this newsletter with friends and family who might be interested in learning about our efforts.
 
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the United States.  Since our inception in 2016, we have supported the on-the-ground efforts of the Zimbabwe non-profit Bushlife Support Unit Trust.  Nick Murray is the President of the Board of Directors for BC and the head of BSUT.
 
Please log onto our website to make a secure (U.S. tax deductible) donation Bushlife-conservancy.org/donate or send a check directly to:
 
Bushlife Conservancy
216 F Street #112
Davis, CA 95616
 
Another easy way to give to BC is through AmazonSmile, a website operated through Amazon with the same products, prices and features as Amazon.com.  The difference is when you shop on AmazonSmile, the Amazon Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of the eligible products to Bushlife Conservancy if you make us the charitable organization of your choice. 
 
Here’s how to shop AmazonSmile:

  1. Visit Smile.Amazon.com
  2. Sign in with your Amazon.com credentials.
  3. Choose a charitable organization to receive your donations or search for the charity of your choice
  4. Select your charity
  5. Start shopping!

 
Finally, those of our donors who will be required to take a mandatory retirement distribution, there is a tax benefit to making a charitable donation out of your IRA account and some other retirement plans prior to receiving the distribution.  One can check with their tax advisor to see where they might benefit from such a distribution to Bushlife Conservancy.  Your consideration is appreciated!

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Thank you again for your generous support without which we would not exist. The Wildlife of Majestic Mana Pools are so grateful to you too!

Nick Murray, President    Beth Brock, Treasurer   Ed Callen, Secretary

Board Members:  Alison Nolting, Mara Perkins  
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Copyright © 2019 BUSHLIFE CONSERVANCY, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
216 F STREET #112
DAVIS, CA 95616

info@bushlife-conservancy.org   /   https://bushlife-conservancy.org

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