Save the Anti-Poaching Unit
The Hwange Lion Research Project, which has been running for 15 years, is aimed at understanding, managing and conserving the lion population of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park through the collection of valuable long-term monitoring data of population demographics, ecology and behaviour. The project is run under the auspices of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology which has grown to be one of the largest and most productive conservation research institutes in the world.
As part of this valuable research, the Hwange Lion Research Project focuses on reducing human-animal conflict, which poses a significant risk to the survival of all carnivores in the wild, through a detailed understanding of the ecological and social factors that influence conflict. In the Hwange area, this conflict arises from lion predation on the livestock of rural communities who frequently retaliate by killing the lion. The Hwange Lion Research Project has implemented several strategies to alleviate lion predation.
Anti-poaching is a priority because illegal snaring has been shown to have a significant impact on lions. The project employs anti-poaching scouts who patrol the park alongside the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.
In addition to these measures for reducing human-animal conflict in the area, the Hwange Lion Research Project is uncovering valuable information about lion populations in the area, including data about their long-range movements between protected areas. This research underscores the importance of preserving corridors of natural habitat to allow for different populations to meet and mate – an essential element in the long-term survival of the species as a whole.
Anti-Poaching Stat & Reports
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HLR employs 10 anti-poaching scouts who work and patrol with The APU & are accompanied by Parks & Wildlife Management Authority rangers at all times. An anti-poaching manager is responsible for deployment of patrols, logistics and management of the unit, under the authority of the Area Manager. HLR raises the funding to cover the costs of this programme from external donors and provides a vehicle to facilitate operations. Donors include SATIB Conservation Trust. This has the effect of increasing anti-poaching man power available to the Hwange Area Manager. The PWMA rangers are fed and supported logistically as well as receiving the assistance of the APU members. Monthly patrol reports are provided to the Area manager on activities. A distance of about 76km, and up to 20km inside the vet fence is covered by the APU.
We had hoped to create a second APU patrol in 2014 but unfortunately due to shortages in funding we had to reduce the size of the anti-poaching patrol to 8 men!
In addition PWMA have struggled with resources and has on occasion been unable to provide a ranger to accompany the APU on patrol. This has meant that the patrol has been unable to operate at these times, which has hampered activities significantly.
Use of the project’s microlight aircraft to assist PWMA with anti-poaching has been
discussed and we are awaiting an MOU with PWMA to facilitate this. Obviously we would also require funding to keep the microlight in the air.
Progress To Date
A six man team costs $50K a year to run.
Without funding Anti-Poaching in the Hwange National Park will not happen!
With your help we can ensure the efforts of this valuable team continues, & the lives of our wild animals are preserved.
PLEASE ASSIST US BY DONATING TO THIS CAUSE!