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MARCH 2020 NEWSLETTER
Bushlife Conservancy thanks our donors and supporters for their commitment to the mission:
Protect and save African wildlife for future generations in the Mana Pools and Zambezi Valley areas of Zimbabwe.

It is a challenging time for many. Our community of supporters and friends are very dear to us.

During this time, we all still have a mission we are compelled to move forward: conservation and addressing community needs. Please share the message of the work we jointly accomplish: anti-poaching, community support, and research in Mana Pools and the lower Zambezi Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We thank you!

Tusker Ranger Fund Update 

Welcome to our new Tusker Ranger Fund (TRF) member:
Philippa Nigg and Dudley Nigg

TRF provides the funds for Ranger patrols in Mana Pools National Park including food, fuel and drivers' salaries. Support for TRF requires a monthly donation of $100. Please go to our website at https://bushlife-conservancy.org/donate/ to donate.

To all our donors, we know these are challenging and uncertain times. Thanks for sticking by us and thank you to our TRF members for their ongoing support!

Bushlife Support Unit Trust Manager Update 

Tusker Ranger Patrols from Nkululeko “Freedom” Hlongwane,
BSUT Manager

We received a wonderful report on activities from Freedom this month.  Late February, twenty-six illegal gold panners were arrested.  In addition, 12,789 km (7947 miles) were covered during field operations.
 
In early March, Freedom reported that many of the water pans were full, the vegetation was lush, and the animals looked happy and healthy after the stressful drought. Field operations continued with daily challenges of crossing broken bridges, making new roads due to the rain, and repairs of broken vehicles.  There was a lot of fixing, repairing and planning, but Freedom reports we are still achieving anti-poaching and conservation goals.  Below is a brief video showing the lush vegetation and the need to break through the bush for vehicle movement:

Anti-poaching patrols cover areas inside and outside of Mana Pools, while assisting ZimParks in various deployments and operations.  Wildlife spotted during these operations included many elephants, buffalos, lions, crocs and hippos.  Even Boswell was spotted out and about.  We also saw Lisa, one of the first female elephants we collared just last year.

It was wonderful to hear from Freedom that three people were arrested in Harare around March 6 for pangolin poaching.  This brings the total number of live pangolins recovered by ZimParks, with our assistance, to 24 since 2016.

We also had an update on the Bushlife/ZimParks community education initiative.  Twenty-four conservation clubs were started in the Hurungwe district, which is adjacent to the Mana Pools Park boundary.  Here people live side by side with the animals.  Freedom reports there is constant human/wildlife conflict in this area.  Senior ZimPark personnel attended the conservation club introductions along with Freedom, the cluster headmaster, and students.  As Freedom says, “Catch them young.  We are sewing the seed into these young junior rangers, to spread the conservation message to the community.”

Finally, this past weekend, Freedom reported on the new collaboration for the Carnivore Project:

“Beautiful Mana Pools; still enjoying every moment in the bush.  We are very busy carrying out the Large Carnivore Survey in conjunction with ZimParks starting in the middle of the Zambezi area. Currently, we have covered one-third of Mana Pools and have counted 81 hyenas and 28 lions (mostly along the floodplain and main road).  In the morning we conduct a  spoor count in selected transects starting from 0600 to1000 hours. In the evening, we do callings in those selected areas.  The vegetation is very dense with tall grass making it difficult to take pictures.

Anti-poaching teams are very busy as well, including two deployments with Rangers for 10 days and two deployments for 7 days.

The first quarter community meeting was also held in Kazangarare.  The Senior Area Manager for the region attended and gave me a briefing.  Over 300 people were in attendance.  Various issues were discussed including our conservation and community plans and initiatives.  This included addressing wildlife issues, boreholes and conservation clubs. 

On March 21, the dogs were back in Kanga.  They were seen at night when we were doing the carnivore survey.  Surprisingly, they are a pack of 15 now.  I suspect the additional three probably came from Nayakasikana/Paradise boundary.  They all looked very healthy, including the playful pups, although two adults were limping.  Good night to all!”

Enjoy this short video from Freedom of the wild dogs at night!

The Fleet Expands  

Do you remember our year-end campaign for the funding of two vehicles?  One was for anti-poaching and the other for community and research?  We are happy to say with your support those vehicles have been purchased and were activated for use in the field.  Thank you, donors, for your support of this effort as vehicles are critical to the conservation work you support in Mana Pools and the lower Zambezi Valley.

Nick was a hit in Florida!  

On March 11, Nick Murray, the President of the Board of Directors of Bushlife Conservancy, was a guest speaker along with other conservationists at a soiree hosted by Alison and Mark Nolting, owners of the Africa Adventure Company. The event was held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We will include a link to a video of Nick’s presentation in a future newsletter. Nick received a very warm reception from old friends and new.  We were extremely pleased when two special BC donors made gifts of $30,000 to support our conservation and collaring efforts.  Please join us in thanking these donors for their generosity and ongoing support of our mission!

DONATE

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

Board Members:  Alison Nolting, Mara Perkins  
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