Monthly Archives: February 2012
Tomorrow, February 18th, is World Pangolin day. What is a Pangolin you ask?
Pangolins are found throughout Africa & Asia. They have a very particular diet of ants and termites –this makes it very difficult to take care of these animals in captivity.
These shy, fragile creatures are being poached at an alarming rate, for the same reasons as the rhino, but their plight gets little to no coverage in the media.
They are sold on the Asian black market primarily for human consumption but also for use in various Chinese medicines. There has nevr been any scientific proof that the medicinal uses of the pangolin actually work – yet the poaching continues.
TheTikki Hywood Trust, has been operationing in Zimbabwe since 1994 and has championed the cause of lesser known endangered species of animals, as well as worked tirelessly for the plight of all of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. At its inception, the Trust worked to bring recognition to endangered and specially protected animal species such as Cape Pangolin, Lichtenstein’s Hartebeest, Southern African Hedgehog and many others. As a result, successful breeding and release programs were established with respect to these species throughout Zimbabwe, as well as a main centre based in the country’s capital, Harare. During these early years of the Foundation’s work, hand rearing techniques and artificial milk formulas relevant to each species were developed for orphans that came to the facility, and rehabilitation and release was done wherever possible. However, as the socio-economic and political situation degraded in Zimbabwe, the emphasis of the Foundation became more and more a crisis management. Rescuing animals from persecution and relocating numbers of animals where possible to save them from decimation became a priority. Hand in hand with this however, came the realisation that the legislation in place was no longer an effective deterrent or protection for animal welfare, and so the Foundation undertook a campaign to improve this.
From small and species-specific beginnings, we are now expanding the scope of our work so that we can ensure the safe release of captive bred animals, ensure the protection of existing wildlife in situ through co-ordinated anti-poaching units, rehabilitate and release orphaned or injured wildlife and bring the Zimbabwean people back to a position of respect and pride in their greatest national heritage through awareness and education.
The Tikki Hywood Trust and the IAPF shares common goals in anti-poaching. They provide funding for equipment and training for units in Zimbabwe with the THW Trust focusing on the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. Lisa has been a staunch supporter of the IAPF since it’s inception with ongoing support and guidance.
For more information on the Tikki Hywood Trust head to www.tikkihywoodtrust.org
March 21st will mark the first anniversary of our upgraded ranger training academy here in Victoria Falls.
Throughout the past 12 months we have trained a number of recruits, with varying degrees of experience and backgrounds, and turned them into fully-fledged rangers, ready to tackle the task of securing Africa’s wildlife.
At the academy, we have also run specialist courses, including advanced medical training for members of local anti-poaching units, equipping them with medical kits to take back to their units.
Coinciding with the upgrades first birthday, our Green Army program will turn one year old in March. From humble beginnings this time last year, we have managed to grow the program into one of Africa’s most unique conservation activities for enthusiastic travelers from around the world. Participants are given the opportunity to get involved as much as possible, from patrolling and learning bush craft with our skilled rangers, to assisting and in some instances, running training exercises for our ranger recruits.
The experience is an unforgettable one, and several of the guys have returned for their second trip, spreading the word and bringing back their friends to take part.
For our part, Damien, James and myself have enjoyed seeing supporters returning home inspired and determined to assist with the hardships on the ground. They have donated various equipment, stores and supplies, and much needed funds, which has enabled us to continue the fight. It has been a humbling experience seeing the generosity of these individuals and it just drives us even more to achieve our goal, knowing we have so much positive support back home.
Let me take this opportunity from all of the IAPF staff to say thank you to everyone who has been out here and been a part of the Green Army. We hope to see you back here sometime soon.
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IAPF Operations manager
My car is finally ready. It’s nearly lunch time in Harare and I’m preparing to drive back to Victoria Falls after two weeks away which was meant to be one. Regardless of the delay it has been a productive trip to the capital having positive meetings with donors and the British Embassy whilst here. One donor in particular is very interested in the Chizarira project and we spent all day Sunday preparing a proposal for their head office. Once back in the Falls I will link up with Deano who has the guys from FHM there with him at the moment doing a story for the magazine. I think it’s the South African version so I will have to get them to pressure the Aussie guys to get over here and do a follow up.
On Sunday I’ll leave for Chizarira and then spend the whole week there with the boss going through all the old records and management plans. None of them can be emailed as there are no computers or electricity at Chizarira and all the documents have been created on a typewriter. One of the first things we will do there is set up solar electricity, internet and computers so the management staff can do their jobs properly and communicate with the outside world. It’s pretty hard to manage a park and protect its animals when you spend most of your day doing a task that would normally take 10 minutes. Example – The boss there receives a radio message that he needs to make a phone call. He walks the 15 minutes back to camp, gets the driver, walks 15 minutes to the workshop and gets in the 7 tonne tip truck. They then drive the 3 hours to the nearest town where there is phone reception, make the call, and then return to camp. I witnessed this happen twice in two days during my last visit there. So you can see, life’s simple little tasks are not always that easy for the guys at Chizarira. Regardless, they are a highly motivated bunch and we are going to be able to achieve a lot with a little.
Cheers everyone. Speak to you from the Falls!
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Old technology means falling behind. A sattelite internet setup, computers and solar power will be some of the first things to go in HQ at Chizarira.