September 2019 Newsletter: ‘Bush Talk’

 In Newsletter
Friends,
When it comes to symbolism, vultures paint a sober picture. Icons of life and death, these birds are ironically facing an urgent conservation challenge – they’re consuming lethal amounts of illegal poisons, and they’re dying by the thousands. In honor of International Vulture Awareness Day , I wanted to highlight what Victoria Falls is doing to save these birds, why they matter, and why we should care.
The increasing use of poisons in commerc ial elephant poaching is having devastating effects on vulture populations. In June of this year, wildlife authorities happened upon a disturbing scene on the Botswana-Zimbabwe border. Seven elephants lay dead with their tusks chopped out of their heads and 537 lifeless vultures covered the landscape. This happened during the breeding season so the implications for the survival of the eggs and/or chicks is frighteningly grim bringing the death toll probably closer to 1500 animals.
This crisis deserves attention because vultures are essential to healthy ecosystems. They’re immune to the very diseases that kill their prey and, as a result, stop the spread of diseases across species, including to humans. Without them, we could lose animals like painted dogs, elephants and lions through epidemics of rabies or anthrax.
In response, our Wildlife Disease and Forensics Lab is developing procedures for analyzing water and soil samples from crime scenes that will increase the numbers of successful prosecutions so that more poachers go to jail. We’re also conducting species and population assessments, outreach and education to rural school children, and providing rescue and rehabilitation support for injured or poisoned birds.
Your support allows us to do this great work, and for that we are forever grateful. Although vultures are known for their patience and resourcefulness, they don’t have much time. Please donate if you’re so inclined. The world needs vultures, and vultures need you. Thank you, for everything!
For Wild Africa,
Jessica Dawson
Executive Director

IN THIS ISSUE…….

Canine Distemper Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust has been working closely with the Ntabayengwe Animal Health Clinic to contain a canine distemper outbreak in rural communities adjacent to Zambezi National Park. Distemper is highly contagious and the proximity of these rural dogs to nearby wildlife poses a real risk of creating an epidemic. Read More…

 

 

Our Community Guardians are back! A lack of funding forced a temporary suspension of this critical program at the beginning of the year, but we’re thrilled to announce that funds have been secured to bring these trained wildlife experts back to work. Read More…

 

 

Walking for Wild News! In feat of shear passion and dedication for the work the Trust does, one of our esteemed board members Leon Varley walked more than 118km in 24-hours to help raise funds for Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. The annual event, called Walking for Wild, took place on the July 16-17, 2019 and an online Crowd Funding campaign raised more than $8000 (£6,500). Read More…

 

 

Challenge yourself for VFWT in 2020! We are very excited to announce the 2020 dates for the Zambezi Cycle Challenge, which will be on the 10th – 12th of July next year. This adrenalin-rushing, 3-day mountain bike event through the Victoria Falls National Park and along the mighty Zambezi River gorge will raise critical funds for wildlife conservation, anti-poaching and community education. Read More…