Bush Talk Newsletter: Cause for Celebration
A STRONG FIRST QUARTER BODES WELL FOR PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE
We have some good news to share! Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust ended the first quarter of 2021 in a strong position as we experienced a welcome surge of collaboration and contributions. Our work has never been more important and we appreciate every ounce of your support.
The Government of Zimbabwe prioritized Victoria Falls as a critical area for COVID-19 vaccinations and has impressively vaccinated 77% of the urban adult population. We hope the COVID-elevated poaching levels will drop significantly as people start earning a salary again and our wildlife agencies have greater resources to fight wildlife crimes. Photo credit: theglobeandmail.com Read more….
Join us in welcoming Dr. Harley Peacocke to our team. Dr. Foggin is stepping back from fieldwork in the next few years, and Dr. Peacocke will train under him. This was a critical position to add because without a wildlife veterinarian, our work stops.
WILDLIFE RESCUE AND REHABILITATION
The rains in this part of the world stopped early this year. The landscape is quickly becoming dry so the wildlife are not dispersing as far as they normally do. Our rescue and rehabilitation team has been busy dealing with snare removals, rescue, and rehabilitation. Read more….
Our High Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is currently looking after a leopard tortoise injured by a car, two orphaned baby warthogs, a lappet-faced vulture, and an eland calf found abandoned.
Mistakenly reported as a painted dog, a young jackal pup fell into an unused septic system in the rural community in January. The team was able to capture the young jackal and happily release it away from the community.
Unbridled snaring continues to be a major concern in the area as people are increasingly desperate for food and revenue. We’ve removed to date 18 snares, 5 within the last week, from 8 different species: elephant, buffalo, hyaena, kudu, waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, and warthog.
WILDLIFE- HUMAN CONFLICT
In February, a young bull elephant was causing chaos at Victoria Falls Airport. Craving wild melons that had been growing between the runways during COVID lock down, the elephant stormed the runway through the fence each night to enjoy a midnight snack.
Deemed a serious threat to safety, the animal ran a real risk of being euthanized. We argued to immobilize the elephant and use chili oil to discourage him from returning. We also collared him so that we can track him and try to head him off should he decide to visit the airport again. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Read) Read more…..
Drs. Foggin and Peacocke will begin rhino operations in May to ear-notch and assess the health of any calves under 18 months of age. Because of country-wide quarantines and stay-at-home orders in 2020, we could not proceed with normal rhino work.
HONOURING SYLVESTER – CHEETAH AMBASSADOR
Sylvester’s Legacy Photo Campaign yielded hundreds of photos from around the world of folks with our beloved Sylvester. This ambassador cheetah continues to fulfil his mission through a legacy supported by thousands. The campaign exceeded our goals raising $13,240! All photos will be made into a mosaic of his legacy logo and printed on a t-shirt, which will go on sale soon. Proceeds will support the Sylvester Legacy Fund. Read more….
We are thrilled that our 2020 Impacts are being highlighted in the latest issue of Travel Africa magazine. This is terrific exposure for The Trust and proof of how donors can make an enormous difference. Thank you Craig Rix and our friends at Travel Africa!
I am again inspired and full of hope. Because of the people reading this update, we were able to carry on here during and despite an extremely challenging year. We will never give up on Africa’s wildlife, or the people who rely on this magnificent land.
Thank you for everything. Stay well.