It is the start of the denning season for our wild dog packs in Save Valley Conservancy and Gonarezhou National Park, and whilst the wild dogs settle down to breed and welcome new (small, cute and wrinkly!) members to their packs, we have been doing all we can to ensure they have a safe environment in which to do so, and to give the species the best chance of survival in the Zimbabwean Lowveld.
RUNNING TO SAVE AFRICA’S WILD DOGS
This year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon was a huge success with a total of USD 14 500 raised for African wild dog conservation and our conservation work! We had runners from across the globe come together and run for our cause, and some pulled out all the stops to do so!
Marine Drouilly was so dedicated she trained at night, and by head lamp (!), to avoid the intense heat whilst busy with research in the Karoo! This resulted in an unfortunate fall into an aardvark hole one evening and a badly sprained ankle. However, this did not stop Marine from competing on the day and being our second highest fundraiser for the event! Heidi Mehring was our top fundraiser, and she most certainly deserved it after all of the pole-a-thons, spin-a thons and boot camps she organised!
The aardvark hole Marine fell in – thanks for sharing Marine!
Thank you Heidi for your incredible fundraising effort!
Some of our proud runners on the day.
First AWCF runner across the finish line!
Thank you to our team, and a HUGE thank you, once again, to all our generous sponsors and supporters. Steve Adams and the Safari Store (www.thesafaristore.co.uk), Jeremy and Emma Borg of Painted Wolf Wines (www.paintedwolfwines.com) and local artist, Lin Barrie (http://wildlifeandwilddogs.wordpress.com/art/).
Also to Franni Vivier from EventsOne (www.eone.co.za) and Wendy Crous from Bahaza Cooperate Clothing and Gifts (www.bahaza.co.za) for our gorgeous kit on the day! And finally, to the OMTOM for giving us the opportunity to be a part of the event once again. Hopefully see you all again next year 🙂
CHILOJO CLUB EDUCATION PROGRAM LAUNCHED!
On the 11 May, we officially launched our Chilojo Club Education Program around Gonarezhou National Park. We have collaborated with Zimbabwe National Parks and Frankfurt Zoological Society to form the Chilojo Club; an over-arching term, and an umbrella initiative, for our joint community outreach efforts. Chilojo Club was chosen after the Chilojo Cliffs; part of the natural heritage of the people in the area, a uniting symbol, and natural beauty.
Local chiefs, councilors and village heads gathered together for the launch.
The room was also filled with local teachers from the schools neighbouring GNP, and which will be supported by the program.
Children performed songs, dances and plays of wildlife conservation and what Gonarezhou National Park means to them.
Poachers caught by the Park’s rangers!
The Chiefs, village heads and District Education Officer showing their support for the Chilojo Club.
A keepsake from the event for the people.
It is still early days, but we are hoping that the Chilojo Club may become a symbol for many good things over time. The start of a Chilojo Soccer Club perhaps, Chilojo community engagement initiatives, and so forth. However, we are starting with Chilojo Club Education Program, which we hope will have many benefits, not only for the local people, but for the wildlife too.
This is still plenty more to come over the next few months. And, whilst we carry on doing our best to reach our conservation goals, we wish our wild dogs a successful denning season!