As I reflect on The Trust’s wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work in 2022, I am reminded of both the light and the dark within us.
This year The Trust rescued 41 animals from snares and other insidious traps. In many ways, snares are the worst sort of challenge we witness. Snares are indiscriminate, killing unintended species as much as targeted ones, and are a dreadful way to die. The injuries inflicted can be horrific to see and treat.
But the community collaboration to combat this problem is remarkable, as is the compassion that’s inspired. They show up night or day, rain or shine, plague or no plague, to alert us and help the animal caught or dragging a life-threatening snare.
The same is true for the 22 animals that spent time in our High Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre this year, including a porcupine, honey badger, banded mongoose, nightjar, vulture, kudu, warthog, and kingfisher. Our wildlife techs cradle these animals, sitting with them night and day at times.
All said, I firmly believe that the true defenders of wildlife are the donors supporting this life-changing work. Without you, none of this would happen. We are winning, and we do amazing things when we all do our part. I hope you’ll support this work as 2022 winds down. We anticipate more rescue and rehabilitation through year-end, and your donation will put us in a strong position for the New Year.
Thank you for helping to address Zimbabwe’s more pressing wildlife conservation issues. I’ve shared some images below that tell the story about our rescues and rehabilitation work, demonstrating the light within us. Let’s celebrate the good part of humanity – the defenders of wildlife!
For wild Africa,
Wildlife Rescue and Rehab: A Snapshot of 2022
It costs $200 to remove a snare from a buffalo.
It costs $250 to care for a small animal in our High Care Rehabilitation Centre for a month.
In July, we rescued a baby porcupine found wandering in town, starved and abandoned. Unable to forage on its own, we brought it to our High-Care Rehabilitation Centre, where it has lived ever since. The time for him to be released is drawing close as the rainy season approaches, providing drinking water and abundant plants such as tubers, bulbs, strong roots, and fruits – all favorites of porcupines. We will first do what we call a soft release on the Trust’s estate, where it will remain under the careful eye of our veterinarians. and believe he will adapt quickly to being a wild animal again.
About a week ago, just outside town near the boundary of Zambezi National Park, Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit located an adult female cape buffalo with a dreadful wound from a PVC pipe wrapped around its right front pastern (part of the leg between the hoof and the fetlock). An injury to the pastern is excruciating and reduces shock absorption on the buffalo’s leg when running or walking, causing an irregular and uncomfortable gait.
Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust was asked to assist. We deployed our staff, darted the buffalo, and removed the pipe using a battery-powered angle grinder. After her rescue, the buffalo was released back into the wild, and we’re hopeful she’ll have a speedy recovery.
Our monthly budget for rescue and rehab is $5,000.
Vulture populations are plummeting throughout Africa and Zimbabwe is sadly no exception. Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, in collaboration with VulPro, is fitting white-backed vultures with tracking units to monitor their movements and record nesting sites. Because white-backed vultures are highly gregarious and feed in large groups, these tracking units will also help us detect hotspots for wildlife poaching and alert us faster to any carcasses and cases of wildlife poisonings. This vulture was injured and brought into our High Care Rehabilitation Centre where it was rehabilitated, tagged, and released to inform our long-term conservation plans to save this iconic species. (Isn’t this a great picture!)