We are pleased to announce that we finally have a reliable presence on Facebook under our NEW page AWARE Trust Zimbabwe. If you ‘liked’ our last page (AWARE Trust) which was seldom updated, you will need go to http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Aware-Trust-Zimbabwe/208441509209247
to keep following us.
Ndlovu Communal Land (Victoria Falls) Sterilisation Campaign
The AWARE team recently returned from the Victoria Falls Ndlovu Communal Area where they performed their 6th pro-bono sterilisation, vaccination and basic health care campaign for under-privileged rural dogs and cats. 52 dogs (27 females and 25 males) and 9 feral hotel cats (5 females and 4 males) were safely sterilised, vaccinated, Frontlined and de-wormed, and a total of 453 animals were vaccinated with 5n1 and rabies vaccines. This brings our running total to 417 animals sterilised, preventing at least 1000 unwanted puppies being born every year. A total of 2427 animals have now been vaccinated, and this is hopefully preventing the spread of disease into adjacent wildlife populations.
During these campaigns there are always a few dogs that decide to camp out with us for the week (no doubt the left over oats porridge mixed with sardine oil for lunch has something to do with it). One black and tan Cassanova followed his girlfriend, an in-season spay to us on the Monday morning and hung around the entire week. He often sat quietly outside the ‘theatre’ door and watched the operations with the intensity of “Hachiko”. On the Thursday he ran off and got himself bitten by a puff adder, so he found himself on the receiving end of hospital treatment for a night. There was a case of parvo that had to be isolated (with some difficulty) and hospitalized. We also had the most anaemic pup we have ever seen (his blood was straw coloured) which, not unexpectedly, passed away within five minutes of arriving. One other dog had a massive lump caused from a baboon bite removed under GA from under his chin.
We were pleased to see a number of hotel cats at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge that we had sterilised last year, identifiable by the ear notches at the tips of their left ears. Neutering them had made a big improvement in their body condition.
We have recently engaged with 2 Masters’ students at the University of Zimbabwe, who will be running Leptospira and Brucella canis antibody prevalence studies on approximately half of the 400 odd canine serum samples we have collected in the last few years. We have also started collecting blood samples in a DNA buffer to screen for antigens by PCR in a collaborative project with Professor Pat Kelly of Ross University, St Kitts. A preliminary dung screening survey is also underway to identify the presence and impact, if any, of Echinococcus internal parasites.
A number of wild animals have had emergency treatment in the last 2 months, including a civet that was hit by a car, that, sadly had to be euthanased; a zebra in the Domboshawa area that had a deep embedded leg snare removed; a
zebra at the Humana People to People Project that had a less serious snare removed; a beautiful juvenile duiker named “Sylvie” who was attacked by dogs and had her sciatic nerve transected, as well as a chunk of muscle in her rear
leg torn out – she is currently recuperating well at Anton Newall’s house; and a lioness at Simply Wild in Masvingo that had to be euthanased due to a degenerative spinal disorder. We vasectomised Hyundai Joe, the lion at Simply Wild, as well as treated a kudu bull there for a severe lameness problem. We also helped move a couple of very aggressive dogs for the Friend Foundation.
Rhino monitoring project
Our camera trap project continues to delight us as we capture black rhino antics without them knowing we are watching. We now believe we have photographed every rhino in the Park in question. One of our shots enabled the early detection of
a neck snare around one of the rhinos, and scouts were able to track the rhino and Dr Foggin and his team removed the snare. Sadly, another female rhino was lost in August; we are concerned that poison may have been used as the horns
were still on the carcass and no metal , ie, bullets, was detected with a metal detector. In the last 6 weeks we also discovered 3 groups of unarmed poachers in the camera trap footage, one group with dogs. The pictures have been
forwarded to the Authorities. We were pleased to learn that National Parks rangers shot and killed 3 armed poachers in early September and we salute the brave men who risked their lives to do this. A meeting of NGOs directly concerned
with rhino conservation was recently convened in an effort to find a common viewpoint on the extremely complex situation of rhino in National Parks. There are suggestions to consolidate all the rhino into one area so as to get the most out of donor resources that are being spent in the country. If you have an opinion about this, please use our facebook page to let us know your view. The outcome remains to be seen.
SPANA visit to donkey clinics
Representatives from SPANA, the sponsors of our donkey veterinary clinics, visited our donkey project in late August to evaluate the programme. Their comments were largely positive, and equine vet Jane Harry will be providing an advisory role from afar in the future. SPANA have pledged some equipment that will make the clinics more cost effective. In the last three months Erick has carried out veterinary treatments on 411 donkeys in areas ranging from the edge of Matusadona to Chimanimani to Victoria Falls. This is not simply spraying superficial wounds, but involves a full veterinary work up and treatment, including hoof and tooth checks and corrections, rabies and tetanus vaccinations, and dipping and de-worming. Our thanks as always go to the staff of the Veterinary Department with whom he works so closely.
AWARE’s funds are fast evaporating! Please renew your membership if you haven’t done so already this year. We can only continue to help animals if we continue to receive your support.
Please also support the fantastic Debby Hart art exhibition this Friday evening at Zimbrellas, the cover charge of which will be donated to AWARE.
With kind thanks to:
- David Scott
- Anton Newall
- Roxy Dankwerts
- The Victoria Falls Hotel
- Victoria Falls Safari Lodge
- Ilala Lodge
- Lion Encounter
- Wild Horizons Trust
- Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit
- Charlie Pinkham
- Zoe van Zyl
- Dave Bradshaw
- Jo and Robin Brown