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News from the field

David Youldon


Our Night Encounter area is now complete in Dambwa, just outside Livingstone, and populated with game including zebra, puku, wildebeest and impala. The choice of species and number for this first reintroduction of game to the area was compiled following a further environmental impact assessment by the Zambia Wildlife Authority. The lions have been on their first forays into the site already but full operations are not due to start until the end of June after we have had the opportunity to install a third permanent water source and other small maintenance tasks.

Over at Antelope Park the release area is nearing completion and we hope that the lions will be given free run of the site in July.

With land for eight other release areas already confirmed we are busy raising finance and planning the logistics of the builds. A further two sites for stage three have been offered to us and we are currently considering these options.

In addition to interest from the many wildlife authorities that have contacted us already to discuss the reintroduction of lions as stage four of the release program, including Zambia, Swaziland, and Ghana to name a few, we have also recently been asked by Uganda to open talks on the same. We hope that these will commence in August of this year.

Community programs have been given greater significance at both our Zimbabwean project sites over the last few months with a multitude of new programs in place. Operations continue in Zambia with the first of a number of new school buildings that we have planned nearing completion.

We have been working with Parks & Wildlife in Zim to improve the methodologies of a number of research studies that have been running there for a while now, and have ongoing studies with students from Manchester Metropolitan, Exeter and Wageningen universities. We have been in ongoing discussions with a number of other universities with regards joint research programs and other co-operations recently including Ohio, Montana, Copperbelt and University of California Berkeley. One of our research staff, studying through the National University of Sciencce & Technology in Bulawayo has also now become published in a journal, so well done to her.
We hope this will be the first of many with a number of papers currently being prepared.

With series one of Lion Country still airing, having reached a total of 19.4 million viewers over its five episode run to date, ITV have already completed filming of the first six episodes of a twelve part series two. The crew will return in July for a further 10 week period to film the remaining six episodes. ALERT has also featured in a variety of other TV and print media around the world raising awareness of lion conservation.


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