Building Resilience in the Time of Crisis

 In Appeal
Hi Friends,
Like the rest of the world, things at Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust are rapidly changing. We’re adapting almost daily to uncertainty while doing our best to conserve Zimbabwe’s wildlife and support rural communities. As the world turns inwards and looks closer to home during COVID-19, resilience will be key for wildlife and VFWT.
Because you’re part of our community, we want to make sure we keep you informed about developments here at the Trust.
Sadly, for financial reasons affecting most non-profits, we laid off four of our support staff and adjusted our budget for the next quarter to reflect lost support. We’ve transitioned to a virtual, remote working structure as much as possible and closed our Wildlife Disease and Forensics Lab and High Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to the public.
I assure you, our work is continuing. Just last week we attended to another elephant poisoning with wildlife agency officials previously trained by The Trust in wildlife crime scene investigation. The case is still active, and we will continue our assistance in this investigation, but it was great to see these folks putting their new knowledge into use.
Also found at this site was a very sick white-backed vulture. We took it back to our Rehabilitation Center, successfully treated and released it back into the wild.
We’ve installed “tippy taps” at communities wells, a hands-free device for hand washing – to help stop transmission of the virus and other pathogens in rural areas.
I hope that normalcy will soon be on the horizon for all of us and, personally, I remain cautiously optimistic that the outbreak’s trajectory will shift sooner rather than later if we maintain strict social distancing and adhere to the health and safety recommendations of our health experts and scientists.
To ensure unforeseen events won’t undermine our ability to protect Africa’s majestic wildlife or to retain talented staff, we’re asking that you consider helping support Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust’s Recovery Fund . Even the smallest of gifts will allow us to continue our work as uninterrupted as possible – now and in future times of uncertainty or crisis.
Let me be clear, the health and well-being of all of you and yours is of course first and foremost. If you’re unable to help at this time, we sincerely thank you for all that you’ve done for us in the past. We at the Trust know you are committed to our work no matter what. We know you stand with us in good times and bad.
For those able to help, we ask you please ensure our conservation investments are not completely abandoned. We’re very concerned that poaching of all species will significantly escalate if wildlife agencies are stifled and conservation NGOs are rendered immobile. If you can be a protector or hero during this challenging time, please do. We promise that with your help, our work will continue.
It’s important to remember how far we have come through this life, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the fears we’ve conquered. This too will pass.
Stay safe and thank you, for everything.
Bruno DeLeo
Chairman of VFWT Board of Trustees
P.S.  While adjusting to this new, temporary reality, we’ll find ways to support each other. If you’re running out of things to do I would love to recommend two books for you to read: Through My Eyes, A journey of a wildlife veterinarian by Dr. Michael D. Kock and National Parks and Wildlife Management, Rhodesia & Zimbabwe – 2nd Edition by Michael Bromwhich.