The “Big Five”. So called because they were apparently the most difficult and dangerous African mammals to hunt. Nowadays, things have changed slightly but they still remain some of the most difficult to conserve.
Here on the Stanley and Livingstone Game Reserve (SALGR) we’ve had our fair share of “Big Five” encounters lately. Lions roaring almost every night and recent sightings of brand new cubs, the buffalo herd exploding in numbers after the rains, a very cheeky elephant nicknamed “kloppers” by the rangers, an old tom leopard who occasionally allows you a glimpse as he slinks back into the bush and of course, our resident rhinos.
It’s these experiences, exciting and often heart stopping at the same time, which keeps us doing what we do. It’s not just the famous species that need protecting though. In order to save one, you have to work from the ground up. Literally. That’s why this is a very important time for us out here. Once the rains stop and the temperature begins to drop, we enter a new season and a have to tackle a new threat… wild fires. Grading the roads, controlling erosion and making sure that our fire guards are well maintained is a big part of the work that needs to be done in the coming months. Uncontrolled fires can have a huge detrimental effect on a property such as this one. They spread quickly through the dry grass, removing food sources for the game and exposing the soil to the harsh sun and winds. This can lower the quality and quantity of next year’s growth and it may be years before we’re able to restore things to the natural balance needed. No soil equals no plants, which equals no animals. It’s as simple as that.
We’ve progressed well with our vegetation study, and now it’s time to put some of that work into action. We couldn’t have done this of course without help from all of our volunteers to whom we owe huge thanks. Their hard work and dedication has allowed us to thrive and continue on with our goals. So from the IAPF, the SALGR staff and all the animals here in the bush, thank you.
You can keep up to date on everything happening at the IAPF through this blog. For those of you who would like more information on the Green Army program or want to make a commitment, please head over to our website or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and join us, and see what all the excitement is about for yourself.
Game Ranger & Green Army co-ordinator
The IAPF are proudly supported in Zimbabwe by: