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)