April 2011 kicked off the first of ex-military tracking specialist Pete Clemence’s 2011 Ranger Training Courses in rhino Intensive Protection Zones in National Parks Estates throughout the country. Late last year AWARE facilitated Pete and Bryce Clemence becoming endorsed by PWMA as official trainers, and we are proud to continue our facilitatory role in 2011. SAVE Foundation of Australia has made the implementation of this training programme possible by providing the lion’s share of the funding.
Rangers are being put through Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Levels of aggressive tracking and paramilitary training according to their capabilities, and will gain a huge amount of confidence in confronting poachers. We see it as absolutely crucial to support the men at the front lines in the battle against poaching. This is the level at which the war will be won or lost, and we cannot expect under-trained and under-resourced rangers to perform adequately.
The first course in Matopos was well received and 15 of the 26 rangers trained passed the Basic Course. Their passing out parade was filmed by ZBC and attended by the Director Conservation of PWMA, Mr Edson Chidziya, who read out a strong warning to would-be poachers.
In May the Clemences ran their first course in the vast Sinamatella area where there is an almost continuous stream of incursions. Sadly, a large black rhino bull, Big George, was shot and killed this month. Rangers on patrol (not on the course) disturbed the poachers in the process of hacking off the horns and opened fire, but the poachers managed to escape. The horns were recovered. Later in the month two elephants were poached for their ivory.
Please help these rangers who risk their lives to protect our wildlife heritage. There is still a huge shortfall of equipment needed, especially binoculars and sleeping bags. We have also been asked by PWMA to source funding for the extra ammunition needed for the courses. This is $1 per round and we need about 6000 rounds.
Kariba Sterilisation Campaign
In early May the AWARE team consisting of vets Keith, Lisa, Vin and Erick, volunteers Ashley-Kate and Jayne Godfrey, and Kenny and Elliott, deployed to Kariba to perfom a free vaccination, sterilisation and basic health care campaign for underprivileged dog and cat owners. AWARE had been alerted to this area by Kariba residents complaining of the large numbers of roaming dogs that were chasing away the smaller wild mammals from the town. Unfortunately the campaign was not as well advertised as we would have liked, despite the tireless efforts of Cavan and Sonja Warren, Debbie Ottman, Sonja Mc Master and others. By the end of the week we had vaccinated 187 dogs against Five in One and rabies, 13 cats against Three in One and rabies, and de-wormed and Frontlined all of them. A total of 57 operations were performed (23 bitch spays, 23 dog neuters, 5 cat spays and 6 cat neuters). There was only one post op complication in a bitch with a subcutaneous bleeder, who we suspected had tick fever as her blood did not clot well. Her skin was re-stitched on day 3, and she recovered well after that. A further 6 dogs were treated for clinical problems, including biliary, snake bite, and post whelping infection of the uterus.
Erick went from the spay campaign onto his routine ambulatory donkey clinics funded by SPANA, in the Msambakaruma and Kapfunde areas of Matusadona, where he treated 79 and 99 donkeys respectively. His service continues to be welcomed by the local villagers, and donkeys continue to be dipped, vaccinated against rabies and tetanus, and have hoof and dental checks. This trip included having to anaesthetize a donkey to remove a deep snare embedded around the donkey’s foot.
In April we were also called to Hippo Pools to look at an eland with a ‘milky eye’. Fortunately the eland was so tame that we could walk her into a boma and examine her eye without immobilizing her. She even let us squirt fluorescein dye in and wash it out with saline. The problem turned out to be a luxated lens inside the eye, which will be monitored for signs of complications such as glaucoma.
We are extremely grateful to the following people for their continued help and support:
SAVE Foundation Australia
Zoe Van Zyl
KDB (Dieter Balzer)
24 Hour Vet Surgery
Cavan and Sonja Warren
Sonja Mc Master