Zimparks carry on with GPS tracking of Wildlife…

Zimparks carry on with GPS tracking of Wildlife…

Zimparks rangers and Aware Trust placing a GPS collar on Bull Elephant

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority through its Scientific and Vertinary has started installing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) collars on key wildlife species for tracking, protection and research purposes in Mana Pools National Park.The use of tracking collars is one of the most common methods of monitoring the movement of wild animals.It allows researchers to collect baseline data like home range sizes, daily movements, behavioural data and diet.Depending on the species of animal, the collars can be customized with sensors to recognize different movement activity, temperature and even mortality. According various scholars when the movement sensor detects no movement, after a pre-programmed period of time, it changes the pulse rate to a higher or lower rate indicating change in behaviour (e.g. resting or stationary).

Zimparks over the years has been using different methods to track wildlife but has gravitated more to the use of GPS collars following rampant poaching and human and wildlife conflict. Mana Pools National park a UNESCO recognized World Heritage site was were a recent collaring of a Bull Elephant was conducted. Aware trust in collaboration with Zimparks saw the collaring of the bull Elephant. Zimparks Vet Dr Chaitezvi expressed his appreciation to their partner Aware Trust and how this a positive step in cabbing poaching and potential Human and Wildlife conflict.

‘Elephants cover long distance in a short space of time and this GPS will allow us to track the animal and know if it’s not close to human settlements or fields, this helps in avoiding human and wildlife conflict. This technology also allows us to track the animal’s position and also detect if the animal is in the safe perimeters of the parks and avoid poaching’

Zimbabwe has the second largest herd of Elephants in the World after its neighbour Botswana. It is through adopting such sustainable conservation methods of this nature that such large numbers of elephants still exist.

(Story by Dumisani Chihoto)

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Zimparks guns down hippo in Nyanyadzi

August 31, 2017August 31, 2017
Inset from Zimpapers. THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last week shot dead a hippopotamus that was damaging winter wheat in Nyanyadzi. The hippo, which had a calf, is believed to have escaped from Save Conservancy. ZPWMA ordered the shooting of the hippos after traditional leaders in the area reported that it was damaging crops and endangering lives. ZPWMA officer, Mr John Danfa, said they were still hunting for the calf which is believed to have found habitat along Save River. “Usually hippos move up and down rivers during the rainy season. We believe the two escaped from Save Valley Conservancy. They were both females and they do not usually click if there is no male. “They are believed to have separated. We received reports from traditional leaders in Hot Springs and Nyanyadzi that these hippos were feeding on wheat and crops in their fields.” “People’s lives were endangered so the authorities ordered its killing. The first time we attempted to kill it, it was in the company of so many cattle and could not do anything. Our officer teamed up with villagers to track it until last week when it was shot down in Nyanyadzi”. The officer is said to have fired 12 shots before the hippo died. The meat was shared by villagers. One of the villagers in Dirikwe village, Mr Tapiwa Munyati, said: “This hippo was becoming a threat to human lives in the area. It was being spotted near homes at night. “There are vegetable gardens along one of Save River’s tributaries where it was being spotted.“We were told that hippos do not like light and the danger was that lives would have been lost.” “A villager survived death by a whisker recently when the hippo strayed into his homestead.“He went out of his house to investigate when his dogs were barking. He had a torch and the hippo advanced towards him. “Fortunately he managed to escape the attack and notified other villagers and the village head. We are appealing to the responsible authorities to make sure that the remaining one is also killed,” said Mr Munyati.