June 2019 Newsletter: ‘Bush Talk’

 In Newsletter

Greetings!

Nature is not cautious – just look at what it’s produced: rhinos grow horns strong enough to impale the king of beasts, vultures are immune to the very diseases that kill their prey, and the fluidity of bold stripes on zebras confuse predators, affecting fate and survival of both. Specialized and bold adaptations have resulted in a resiliency in Africa’s wildlife that allows them to survive unimaginable dry-season drought conditions, escape predation and persevere in the face of increasing human encroachment on habitat and resources.

But Africa’s landscapes, once teeming with wildlife, are fighting for their lives at the hands of human greed and a continent-wide population explosion. We’re on the verge of losing pangolins, elephants, vultures and lions – just to name a few. Our ground-breaking and tireless work can mean the difference between life and death for our iconic wildlife.

Protecting nature requires conservation initiatives as bold as the challenges faced. As I write this, I am preparing to attend a wildlife forensics conference in Denver, Colorado where I’ll learn how to determine the species to which a piece of confiscated ivory belongs. This training will help us distinguish between elephant, warthog and hippo ivory, which will provide sound science to help prosecute those involved.

We have the science and knowledge to save these animals and heal our landscapes. Our greatest challenge is one of heart and will. Terry Tempest Williams, an American author, conservationist and activist, beautifully said: “The eyes of nature are looking back at us and they’re praying for us to see beyond our time.” The power to save Africa’s wildlife is at our mercy. The heart of the work to be done lives within Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. The will and support comes from you.

Thank you for making our work possible.

For Wild Africa,

Jessica Dawson

Executive Director

IN THIS ISSUE…….

RHINO POACHERS ARRESTED

Zimbabwe has been effective in protecting its black and white rhinos. In December 2018, seven Chinese nationalists were arrested in possession of more than 60 pounds of rhino horn worth more than USD1,000,000. Read More …

 

LION CONSERVATION CHALLENGES

The lions in and around Victoria Falls are another conservation priority for The Trust. If anyone localized population disappears, it could irreversibly disrupt the continuity needed to maintain genetic diversity in one of only six metapopulations remaining on the continent. Read More …

 

WILDLIFE RESCUE AND REHABILITATION

Our feathered friends occupy volumes in poetry and literature and, much like the Phoenix that rose from the ashes, this little goshawk inspired awe and joy as it healed in our care and flew back into freedom. Read More …

 

FORENSICS

Angola is a major smuggling hub on the route to Asia for illegal wildlife trade. Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is helping train their wildlife authorities in how to secure crime scenes and distinguish whether a wildlife carcass has died from disease or malicious poaching such as cyanide poisoning. Read More …

 

WALKING FOR WILD IS BACK!

On July 16th our board member Leon Valley will lace up his boots once more and walk his impressive 140 km trek from the fishing Mecca of Msuna on the western border of Lake Kariba all the way to Victoria Falls to raise money to support our important work. Read More …

 

LOOKING FORWARD

The end of 2018 showed great promise for our programs and organizational growth. Unfortunately, the unrelenting drought and economic challenges that Zimbabwe faces is resulting in an escalation of poaching, more incidents of wildlife-human conflict, and a fear of more malicious cyanide poisonings. Our already vulnerable vulture and lion populations could take a significant hit if we are unable to respond accordingly with increasing need. Read More …

 

DONOR SPOTLIGHT

Late last year, an elementary student Lucia Steines and her family visited the Trust in Victoria Falls. Our Executive Director Jessica Dawson gave them a tour of the facilities and Lucia was enthralled with all of the work we do. She was of course smitten with Sylvester and Judge. Upon returning home, she began a noble effort to raise funds for The Trust and, to date, this conservation hero has raised more than US$24,000! Read More …