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Wildlife and Conservation News


Hwange Elephant Study

By way of update on one of our CTE (Conservation Through Education) projects, we're very pleased to report that a total of 10 elephants have been successfully collared in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park as part of a study that aims to assess the impact of social dominance on elephant movements and habitat use.

 This is particularly relevant in areas such as Hwange, where there are high-density elephant populations as well as high demand for resources such as food and water. Pierre met with lead researcher Arnold Tshipa in October 2014, shortly after Classic Africa announced our support for the project, and we're very heartened by the study's progress. Click here to learn more.


Vanishing Kings - Lions of the Namib

"In a merciless, desolate furnace, an unexpected predator endures...." So goes the dramatic set-up to the documentary Vanishing Kings by Will and Liane Steenkamp, featuring lion researching Dr. Flip Stander. Equipped with exceptional survival skills, desert lions roam the Namib. But with so few remaining adult males the small population is on the brink of extinction. The film follows a brotherhood of five male cubs known as the "Musketeers" on their epic journey to adulthood. It is an intensely personal story of a lion pride's enduring spirit that plays a crucial role in the prosperity of their population. Click here for the trailer.



Desert Elephant Conservation in Hoanib

Researchers of desert elephant conservation, Laura Brown and Rob Ramey, will spend two months monitoring Hoanib's desert-adapted elephant population at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia, in an effort to promote their long-term conservation.



As of 2014, Brown and Ramey's research results show that the number of elephants in the lower Hoanib and Hoarusib Rivers had dropped by 30% in ten years. The decline seems to be caused by natural and human-caused deaths, low rates of reproduction and offspring survival, and emigration. "Our Hoanib Research Centre is nearing completion and we are extremely excited to have this as the base for Laura and Rob to continue with this important project that will ultimately add to our knowledge of Namibia's unique desert elephant population and be used in the country's ongoing conservation efforts to protect it".


Dyer Island's Penguins

CapeNature and the management authority for Cape Town's Dyer Island have removed 32 African penguin chicks from the island and admitted them to the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) for care after they had been abandoned by their parents. According to Deon Geldenhuys, Conservation Manager from CapeNature,the penguin life cycle is divided into two phases: breeding and molting.

The molting phase begins shortly after the breeding season and the chicks are normally fledged before the onset of molting. If the timing of these two phases overlap, the adult penguins could perish from starvation; therefore, penguin parents sometimes must abandon their chicks before they are fully fledged. Xolani Lawo, Senior Bird Rehabilitator at the APSS explained that the chicks would receive special care and would be released back on Dyer Island once they had reached the required weight and had a clean bill of health. African penguin colonies are declining at an alarming rate – the present population is only 2.5% of its level 80 years ago. Around 141,000 breeding pairs of African penguins were counted in 1956, but last year the total had plummeted to only 19 000 pairs – a loss of nearly 90% in half a century. "We are therefore at a point where every bird that we can save, counts," said Lawo.


Anti-poaching dogs

Conservation Lower Zambezi has added the services of two highly-trained tracker/sniffer dogs, Lego and Bar, to assist with anti-poaching operations in Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park. Lego and Bar were supplied by InvictusK9, a company that trains dogs for US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and other elite counter-terrorism organizations around the world. Poachers beware!!

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