The Bushlife Painted Wolf Conservancy is a branch of Bushlife Support Unit Trust, funded by Bushlife Conservancy a registered 501C3 in the USA .
The Bushlife Support Unit Trust efforts are divided into three core areas.
Boots on the ground approach. We have purchased 6 vehicles for anti-poaching deployments in Mana Pools and the surrounding areas. We have received donations of 2 boats for river patrols. We have received tents from Rooneys tent hire for the establishment of remote ranger bases in 5 different areas in the Valley. At each remote base, we supply a vehicle, driver, fuel and food for the Rangers on deployment. We employ a pool of 8 drivers, 2 mechanics and a boat driver to deploy National Parks Rangers. We have done several months worth of roadworks, opening roads into remote areas to increase accessibility.
Investigations - we have been working the investigations section based in Chinhoyi on the setting up of an informer network. We have printed out and distributed thousands of flyers advertising a reward for information, and these have been distributed in the Rural areas. We have set up a hotline in Chinhoyi. We have provided the Chinhoyi investigations branch with 3 vehicles for operations, one of which was a replacement for the officers' personal vehicle, which he wrote-off during operations. For every useful bit of information leading to a convicted arrest, we pay the informer $300. We also fund the operational costs for the investigations branch, providing operational fuel and food.
Collaring - we have initiated a collaring programme with Parks, whereby large elephant bulls are identified and collared. We are lobbying for the SI to be implemented whereby these Iconic Elephant Bulls are not allowed to be legally hunted if they leave the Park. To date, we have put 4 collars on bulls and have another 5 to be put on this year. We hope to raise funds for a further five collars this year. It costs about $5000 to get each elephant collared. The resident ecologist is also using data collected from these collars for a PhD study.
Achieved with direct funding from BSUT from September 2015 to date:
Deployment of over 3000 rangers on patrol over this time period.
Provision of over 4000 ranger days of food.
7 poachers shot by ZimParks Rangers on patrols.
several firearms recovered from poachers.
One informer wounded - we paid surgeons $6000 to repair his arm.
150 elephant tusks recovered.
19 live pangolin recovered and handed to Tikki Hywood Trust for rehabilitation and release back to the wild.
6 dead pangolin recovered.
Lion, zebra and crocodile skins recovered.
179 arrests made with 1300 years of convictions being served in jail. The investigations person we work with has the highest arrest rate in the country, such success is unprecedented.
Trail cameras and Domain Awareness System
We are currently working with a WPS ( wildlife protection solutions) on a project whereby we will be installing trail cameras with 4G LTE in Mana Pools World Heritage Site. This will enable remote hidden cameras to be installed through the park, in hot-spot areas. The cameras will feed in real time to the operations centre. Any insurgents can be reported and reacted to immediately. We hope that using this technology will all but halt the poaching of our wildlife in Mana Pools National Park. Vulcan will be setting Mana up with a Domain Awareness System (DAS).
We are working on providing meat for rangers, there are 55 rangers and their families needing to be supplied. Rangers have to feed themselves, so this assists the Parks community. We have assisted in getting the Parks clinic outfitted with the required infrastructure to become a registered facility in order to receive free medicine. This needs further improvement in the form of maternity beds.
We were instrumental in providing and transporting 100 tonnes of sand and stone from Chinoyi to Nyakasikana for the building of the ZAVARU base which accommodates rangers for the reaction unit.
Community hall – we have assisted with the development of a community hall which is a start to improvements of the Rangers standard of living at Nyamepi Station, construction of this is currently underway.
BSU has a letter of support from National Parks HQ, containing the need to raise money for aerial
surveys sustainably every 2-3 years. This is to monitor the health of the elephant population. We would also like to purchase a savannah ultra-light plane for monitoring the area and possibly incorporating into game counts, strictly for use in the Zambezi Valley.
BSU would like to establish a pangolin rehabilitation centre at Chinoyi Northern Region HQ. We have recovered 19 live pangolins. Nick believes that we can set up an educational centre whereby people get to learn about and see pangolin before they are released back into the wild. Chinoyi Caves had 35,000 visitors in 2016.
The vehicles take an absolute hammering doing their job, and to do their job properly there is no way around this fact. We need to replace our vehicles every 3 years.
A future project we would like to work with Parks on is the reintroduction of Black Rhino
into the Zambezi Valley.