Good news on elephant conservation!

Dear Friend,

Because of the generous spirit ­of our friends from all around the world, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is doing some pretty heavy lifting when it comes to elephant conservation throughout southern Africa. We have some good news to share: a new IUCN study finds that the number of elephants dying from poaching is declining . I wanted to pause and just say… thank you for your support and your confidence in our work!  

We’re not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination ; elephants throughout Africa are still very vulnerable to poaching. Impoverishment is one of the biggest motivators, and d rought and the economy here in Zimbabwe are once again elevating a poverty crisis .

The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) is home to half of Africa’s remaining elephant population. Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is a leader in this cross-border, transfrontier collaboration. The Trust and its partners collect valuable data on elephant movements, incidents of conflict with people, and to identify and protect wildlife corridors and migration paths in the face of growing human populations.

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust is developing a forensics test to match DNA from seized ivory to a database of validated samples from known geographic areas. It’s critical to determine where the ivory has come from to improve poaching convictions, alert wildlife authorities to poaching in their areas, and to connect the dots within illegal wildlife trafficking syndicates.

Preventing the spread of disease also plays a role in conservation . In April, because of an early and prolonged drought, The Trust identified anthrax in a recently deceased elephant. We were concerned as the disease emerged very early in the year; an epidemic might have followed had we not detected it right away, conducted a rigorous outreach to rural areas about this situation, and seen cool winter temperatures that soon arrived.

We’re also expecting to see a rise in human-elephant conflict. Low rainfall is limiting quality vegetation and forage in adjacent national parks; elephants will soon disperse in search for food. They'll look to crops, water wells and gardens in neighboring rural settlements.

The Trust’s “ Community Guardians ” program mans a conflict hotline 24/7, and employs locals in protecting villages from unwelcome wildlife. Out of the 123 conflicts so far this year, we had 100% deployment of guardians, zero human or livestock fatalities, and only one elephant casualty.


Our lab needs improvements, equipment and capacity expansions to keep up with forensic and pathology needs. Our rescue and rehabilitation efforts need to handle the forecasted rise in poaching and we need to carry on with our research on elephant movements and wildlife corridor usage to inform management plans and mitigation strategies.

Major decisions will be made at the next CITES meeting in Geneva in August that will affect the future of elephant conservation. A proposal by Southern African countries to allow a legal trade in ivory will be put forward to derive income to support conservation and communities in those member countries, which have half of the remaining African elephant population.

Other CITES signatories will put forward a proposal to completely ban the legal trade of any elephant products in an effort to close loopholes in the illegal wildlife trade.

It is the role of Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust to provide the best science on elephant ecology and movements, and effective mitigation practices so that the best management decisions are made.

We’re counting on you to help us do just that.

Please give a gift today to help Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. The present and future of these wonderful, iconic giants is in your hands; together, we have a real chance to save them!

For wild Africa,
Jessica Dawson
Executive Director

P.S. You can read more here about the role you are playing in protecting Africa's last remaining elephants.
The business of saving wildlife will never stop but the more we can do now, the more battles
we will win .
Situated where the borders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge, the KAZA TFCA spans an area of approximately 520 000 km² and includes 36 proclaimed protected areas.

Elephant collared for human-wildlife conflict study
One of the collared elephants we monitor to collect information on home range, migration routes, and any interaction with humans.

Chili guns spray hot chili powder at elephants causing them to turn and run. Chili fields and fences are effective deterrents as well.
GPS Elephant Collars

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust laboratory is the only wildlife disease and forensics laboratory in the KAZA region.


Seized illegally traded ivory.
Photo: CITES.org
Leon Varley is lacing up his boots again for Walking for Wild: a 140-km long and winding trek will take him from the tourist Mecca of Victoria Falls to the very Western reaches of Lake Kariba - the world's largest man-made lake and reservoir.

This is the seventh year Leon has undertaken the twenty-four-hour endurance walk to Msuna and, together with the Walking for Wild team, he's managed to raise more than US$70,000. The money raised has gone towards various VFWT programs, including snared animal rescue, wildlife rescue rehabilitation and mitigating community-animal conflict. 

Stay tuned for updates and visit Facebook for a countdown to July 16th when he launches from Victoria Falls. You can read more about Walking for Wild here.

VICTORIA FALLS WILDLIFE TRUST

PO Box 159, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe | +263 782 799 006

PO Box 23183, San Diego, CA 92193 | (619) 602-1725

9 The Clock Tower, Redlers Waterside Dudbridge Road, Dudbridge Stroud,
GL5 3LH  United Kingdom | +44 (0)74 76 227 684