The past months have been quite extraordinary for MozParks Foundation: several wildlife rescues, community work, overseas events, awards and articles in the National newspapers – not bad for an organization still learning to navigate uncharted territory in Mozambique.
WILDLIFE VETERINARY UNIT
The first wildlife veterinary unit in Mozambique is gaining momentum and as the word spreads we are getting more and more requests to help with injured, sick, problem animals and wildlife research programs throughout the country. Mozparks Foundation is supporting the unit financially and we need your help to keep up with the good work.
Lone lioness in trouble
On the morning of the 6th of November, we received a request to help with a “problem lion” that had killed a heifer in one of the communities surrounding Sabie Game Park. It turned out that due to a shortage of water in their water trough, community leaders asked Sabie game Park (SGP) management to temporarily use one dam inside the reserve (200 meters from eastern fence) to water their animals for one hour every morning until the problem was fixed. As usual SGP helped the community by organizing game scouts and other personal to assist and safely bring the animals in and out for a quick drink.
On the second day the unexpected happened. As the cattle were making their way to the dam accompanied by at least 15 people, a lone female lion quickly and tacitly killed a young heifer – no one except one scout witnessed the hunt.
Mozparks foundation veterinary unit was deployed to the area. In a matter of hours, we managed to dart and collar the lioness.
Thanks to the VHF collar, SGP management now has the ability to locate this brave lioness before the cattle come into the reserve to drink and to act accordingly. Community members were present during the operation and fully supported what we were doing. Without Mozparks vet unit support this healthy breeding animal´s future would be uncertain as she is a threat to the community’s livelihood.
Fig.1 – Monitoring vitals and fitting the VHF collar
Lion research – collaring operation
As part of an ongoing lion research program in the GLC (Greater Libombos conservancy), Mozparks foundation vet unit captured and collared a young male lion who is a member of the resident pride. Long-term monitoring of lions in Mozambique is vital to protect them, understanding population trends, trans frontier movements and to support science based management and conservation decisions. Blood, tissue and faecal samples were also collected for disease screening purposes.
Fig.2 – Collaring a young male Lion for research purposes
Elephant in trouble
On the 12th of November we received a call from Maputo Special Reserve (MSR) to immobilize an injured elephant that seemed to have a cable/wire snare around it’s the left forelimb.
With the support of DAG´s (Dyck Advisory Group) APU helicopter, Mozparks vet unit travelled to MSR to assist. After one hour of searching we found the animal and darted it. The young female went down in 4 minutes. What we saw next was much worse than expected – a terrible wound in the sole of her foot causing a massive leg swelling.
We are not sure what the cause of such an appalling injury was, but evidence indicated that “the usual suspect” (humans) were involved. ANAC (Administração Nacional das Areas de Conservação) have been receiving increasing reports of elephant traps that might explain such a lesion (see picture below).
Due to the severity of the animals’ injury we were left with only one option, to end its suffering. Despite sad events like this one we will keep on fighting and try our best to mitigate the effects of the enormous poaching surge Africa’s wildlife is currently experiencing. Thank you to Mr Natercio, ANAC, Miguel Parreira, Gonçalo Correia, DAG antipoaching unit, and Peace Parks Foundation for their support.
Fig.3 – Darting operation, assessing the lesion, elephant traps apprehended in northern Mozambique.
Lucky the rhino – an update
On the 14th of November Mozparks Foundation’s veterinary unit in collaboration with Saving the Survivors and ANAC immobilized and successfully treated a white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum), in Mozambique, who was the victim of a terrible poaching incident but somehow managed to survive.
The suffering animal was shot twice in the back and had both horns hacked off, causing very severe wounds that could have resulted in life-threatening infection if left untreated.
Our first sighting of “Lucky” was in late September when the antipoaching team spotted her roaming freely between several reserves in the GLC (Greater Libombos Conservancy) along with a beautiful white rhinoceros male. However, initial reports indicated that she had no horns and was bleeding. After enormous efforts by the GLC rangers we were finally able to take good quality photos and assess her condition. It was all too clear what had happened and a rescue operation was swiftly put in motion.
All wounds were cleaned, treated and disinfected, subsequently a cast was applied and secured with screws fixed into the nasal cavity bones, protecting the large and more severe wound caused by hacking off the frontal horn.
After a 50-minute procedure the reversal agent was administered and “Lucky” calmly walked away. The healing process will be long but we are confident that she will recover fully.
Rhino poaching has significantly increased over the past few years and is being driven by the relentless demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, particularly Vietnam. It is utilised in Traditional Chinese Medicine and it is becoming more and more commonly used as a status symbol to display someone’s success and wealth. As Southern Africa is home to the majority of rhino population in the world it is being heavily targeted by poaching syndicates. However, poaching is now a threat in all rhino range states and game reserves are having to invest heavily in anti-poaching activities
Mozparks foundation is working on the Mozambican frontline against rhino and other species poaching supporting both security, rescue and rehabilitation operations.
Lucky´s story was extensively covered by Mozambican news agencies, please see:
Fig.4 – Lucky´s capture and treatment operation.
Elephant in trouble ep.2
In late October we received pictures from one GLC game ranger of a young female elephant with a bad trunk injury (pictures below). The Mozparks vet unit was mobilized and the following day we began our investigation. Despite a considerable effort to track her down in the vast wilderness that forms the GLC, coupled with the very tall grass, it was nearly impossible to find the suffering giant.
Weeks went by and finally on the 27th of November the same animal was spotted and darted.
Wild animals never stop surprising us, their ability to survive and adapt is remarkable – this particular elephant had its trunk almost completely cut off at the tip probably by a wire snare, however it healed beautifully and against all odds the proboscides (finger like structures at the tip of trunk) was still working 100%. After we collected some samples and took pictures, the animal was up and had joined its family within 15 minutes. We can now be assured that despite the injury she will lead a healthy life for many years to come.
Fig.5 – Elephant immobilization for assessment of trunk injury.
We are glad to announce that the two baby Serval that Mozparks foundation raised are now fully independent, hunting and only showing up in camp from time to time for some extra meat.
MOZPARKS LAUNCH EVENT – HOUSTON, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On Saturday the 21st of October 2017, MozParks Foundation’s official launch party took place at the residence of Stephany and Will Perry in Spring, Texas. The event venue was decorated in true African Safari Style and executive chef David Cordúa of Cordúa Restaurants prepared an exquisite menu for guests to enjoy. Alex McDonald as the keynote speaker, provided an overview of what MozParks is all about and what we hope to achieve in the near future.
McDonald Safaris, Morani River Ranch, Emanuel Kapp and Tito West donated the following items to the live-auction: Cape Buffalo Hunt in Mozambique, Photographic Safari in Kruger National Park, “The Huntress” Bronze Statue, South African White Rhino Vita-Dart and a weekend for the family at Morani River Ranch. Eighty guests attended the event and we raised nearly $100 000 which will be used to equip the MozParks Veterinary unit with much needed equipment and supplies as well as funding our future projects.
The good work mentioned in this report would not be possible without the donors that fund our cause, we would like to express our gratitude to them. If you would like to donate please visit our website: https://www.mozparks.com/donate. Photo credit www.AlexandersPortraits.com ©Alexander Rodgers 2016-2017
Fig 6 – Above left: MozParks Launch leaflet. Above right: Key note speaker Alex McDonald. © Alexander Rodgers 2016-2017 Photo credit www.AlexandersPortraits.com
During the months of October and November, Mozparks foundation and Sabie game Park (SGP) in collaboration with the Mangalane community, achieved the following objectives:
- A cattle trough was built outside our northeast gate, by Mpitzini dam, to provide drinking water for community cattle.
- A new valve was installed in the water tank near Ndindiza school. Professor Jaime’s reports indicate that the previous valve was stolen by a community member.
- A new borehole near Ndindiza school was sunk and equipped at a cost of 300 000 meticais payed in full by SGP. 90 meters deep, 1000 L/hour capacity
- A solar water pump system was installed at Chief Mangale´s house.
- The Mavanguane village borehole and pump was fixed following a request by community members to assist. In a matter of hours, the system was repaired and access to clean water was restored.
- We began the process of compiling community profiles in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
- School material and books were distributed to Ndindiza school.
- School trip organized: 30 students from ND school will visit Sabie Game Park on the 2.12.2017. They plan to do a game drive, some educational activities, enjoy a light lunch and to distribute PHASA’s donation material.
- Mozparks and SGP visited Baptine school. Introductions were made and future collaboration is in the pipeline . Baptine school is one of the largest in the Mangalane community – these students will determine the success of wildlife conservation in this area, therefore working with them from an early age is paramount.
- 19 smart phones were distributed to all village police personal to improve communication and incident reporting.
- 10 residents from the Mangalane community were hired and trained to assist in a house hold survey conducted by Peace Parks Foundation (PPF), hosted by SGP. Each person was payed 500 meticais / day.
- A trip to Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa and to the South African Wildlife Collage (SAWC) headquarters was organized with community members. The objective was to familiarize them with the concept of conservation based economy and development. Briefly to show how conservation can generate money, contribute to the country’s economy on a large scale and benefit communities on a smaller scale. A win / win concept for neighbouring communities, animals, the environment and landowners.
- Bank accounts for the villages were registered at BCI bank in Moamba in collaboration with SAWC/WWF. A number of selected entrepreneurs from each village will be able to access small grants to kick start local business initiatives.
- The following loans have been granted to individual community members:
- A 20 000 meticais personal loan was granted to an individual community member to support his wedding costs.
- SGP continues to help one village induna with 2000 meticais to manage his ongoing ocular disorder.
- Both Fauna Bravia and Ndindiza school were supplied with water tanks multiple times.
- 14 fields were ploughed (almost all villages’ lands – except some in Mukakasa due to the heavy rain at that time) and are now ready to sow maize, peanuts etc.
- Elephant meat was distributed at Costine, Mavanguane, and Mukakasa.
- Zebra meat was distributed at Ndindiza village.
- Buffalo meat (one back leg) was given to Chefe Mangalane.
- SGP offered one kudu to the “Posto Administrativo de Sabié” for the celebration of the “professor´s day”.
- One VHF tracking collar was fitted in a female lion previously responsible for attacking cattle inside SGP. The cow´s owner was payed 15.000 meticais to reimburse him for his loss.
- The building of 15 kitchens and 15 toilets is in its final stages in Mukakasa village.
Fig.7 – Distributing school material at Ndindiza school.
Fig.8 – Ndindiza new borehole.
Fig.9 – Solar panel installation and borehole being fixed.
NATIONAL CONSERVATION AWARD
On the 16th of November, during the 2017 ANAC annual meeting, Sabie Game Park received, from the hands of vice-minister of the MITADER (Ministry of interior, land and environment) her Excellency Celmira da Silva, the award for best conservation practices in Mozambique.
Mozparks foundation is working Sabie game Park and Dyck advisory group (DAG) protecting the only permanent Rhinoceros population in Mozambique – a full time and expensive job that requires the best of the best in antipoaching operations. The direct results are self-explanatory, not only for rhinoceros but also for the whole ecosystem, rhinos are the “umbrella species” by protecting them we protect everything else (see below). However, the greatest impact is the barrier effect that SGP/DAG are having for the Kruger National Park where the largest population of rhinoceros in the planet lives.
|Month||Entries Eastern fence||Exit Eastern fence||Arrests||Firearms||Rhino losses||Elephant kill||Rhino Count Max||Rhino Count lowest||Rhino Count Average||Flying Average|
INTERNATIONAL LAW ENFORCMENT ON WILDLIFE TRADE VISIT
SGP had the pleasure and responsibility to host Mozambican and Chinese law enforcement officials – wildlife police, CITES officers and customs – for a two day visit and expose them to the frontline of rhino antipoaching and conservation operations. International law enforcement agency cooperation is paramount in the fight against the highly organized wildlife trafficking syndicates.
Fig. 10 – Chinese delegation visiting Sabie Game Park
Thank you to our partners and supporters, ANAC, DAG APU, SGP staff, Maputo Special Reserve game scouts, Club of Mozambique, Dr Carlos Lopes Pereira, Miguel Parreira and many more for helping Mozparks foundation.