Early one morning late in March, CWF’s Field Ops Manager, Steve Alexander, went looking for a lion carrying a snare in the vicinity of Makwa Pan. Friends of Hwange’s Gary Cantle had spotted it late the previous afternoon lagging some 400m behind some lionesses – he thought he saw a snare around its neck but could not be sure. That evening Gary alerted Steve and other conservationists in the area. Steve found the young lion lying on its own in the sun on the road, a snare tight around its neck and the wound obvious. Jane Hunt from Hwange Lion Research, also looking for the lion, arrived soon after with a ranger from ZPWMA. Jane darted the lion and, after waiting ten minutes for the drug to take effect, they removed the snare. They treated the wound, injected the lion with a long-acting antibiotic, and took measurements for research purposes. They then administered the antidote to reverse the sedative and waited until he woke up and eventually moved off. A great example of cooperation and team work!
The effects of anti-poaching patrols
Ngamo Forest, on the eastern border of Hwange National Park, is a hot spot for snaring activity. CWF scouts have joined with rangers from the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) to do regular, combined multi-day anti-poaching patrols in the area. In April, one of the anti-poaching units (APUs) came back with a total of 27 snares, some of which had been freshly set. A week later more snares were retrieved, one with the remains of an impala ram still in it. Every week since then, the APUs have found less and less snares until last week’s 7-day patrol recovered only one snare – and that was an old one. This shows that the constant, or at least regular, presence of APUs are having the desired effect.
From this: 5 April joint CWF/FCZ patrol in Ngamo forest with wire snares set for large mammals
… to this 20 May after another 7 day joint patrol in Ngamo, we are pleased to report that only one old snare was collected
Impromptu horse patrol
When the Covid-19 related restrictions were announced, Hwange Horseback Safaris decided to move their horses the 83km from their Camelthorn stables at Ngamo to their base in Dete where there is more grazing. An experienced rider, the CWF Field Ops Manager went along to help and took the opportunity to do some snare sweeps along the way.
Assisting Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) with research
CWF assists ZPWMA by collecting the lower mandibles of elephants that have died and delivering them to ZPWMA for research purposes.