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The conflicts continue...


David Youldon

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As predicted last month the wild dog that have moved into our lion walk area in the Mosi-oa-Tunya have come under persecution. One dog was confirmed killed by communities bordering the Park after it was discovered predating on goats. The other two have not been seen since and are also thought at this time to have been killed.

We are now in final preparations for the next community meetings in Victoria Falls where we will present the options available to them and the Parks & Wildlife Management Authority to deal with the human / wildlife conflict that is such a problem in the area around the town. We hope that we can offer both the pros and cons of each method so that the communities will understand that the only reasonable long term solution is to learn how to live with these animals around them rather than killing the wildlife which will not solve the problem. Through the partnership with the Africa Centre for Holistic Management we believe we can offer both a best option solution for both people and wildlife whilst delivering economic benefits that will give communities reason to prefer this solution.

Work is underway full steam on the Livingstone side now as well and we hope to start implementing elephant conflict mitigation measures very soon. We really need your support to fully implement these programs and we ask for any donations that you can offer. As is our usual practice we look to ensure that all programs we implement are financially self-sustaining in the long term but we do need funds to set up programs as communities themselves can ill afford such outlays.

This past month has been like a whirlwind with so much going on its difficult to keep track of everything. We have had new interest for lions to release into several reserves in both Zimbabwe and Botswana as well as in Ghana; our Corporate Pride program to raise sponsorship is gaining significant interest; the lions have been successfully hunting both during the day and at night; magazines and TV crews from all corners of the globe are asking to write articles and make films about the program; Dr. Pieter Kat visited our Victoria Falls and Livingstone programs in March; unique visitors to our web site jumped by 162% in the last month alone with nearly 6000 hits on the site in March; our community programs have been developing strongly in the last month and preparation for the publication of a number of academic papers from the program are underway. We have been asked to assist in writing a regulatory framework for the keeping of wild animals in captivity for the Zimbabwe authorities; we have been approached to provide images from the program by a jigsaw puzzle maker; we are setting up a link with a rainforest protection project in the UK to assist promotion of our Friends of Victoria Falls program to enhance protection of the mist forest that is sustained by the Falls; we have helped develop community empowerment programs related to our Livingstone project, taken our first volunteers here and facilitated students from the University of Oslo. We are in discussions with the University of Glasgow to conduct research and much, much more…

A few days ago I met with Allan Savory, founder of Holistic Management International, whilst he is visiting his home on the ranch where the Africa Centre for Holistic Management is based in Zimbabwe, and who we have recently reported that we have formed a partnership with. Our discussions were extremely fruitful and we discovered more ways that our two organizations can benefit each other. He said of the partnership “We really look forward to years of synergy between our organizations.”

Our latest newsletter is available to download at http://www.lionalert.org/Newsletter%20April%2009.pdf


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