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News & Updates
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News & Updates

. Indian Newspaper
"the Hitvada"
reports about Martin's visit in October, 2006

. "The Times of India" online reports about anti-poaching in TATR (Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve) and Mr Dhanwatey collaboration with Martin...

Zimbabwe, Newsletter December 2009 - Jan & Feb 2010

Dear readers,
The first report of 2010.

I try by all means to keep you updated per month, but sometimes there is either not much to mention or, as it was lately, the technique plays a part as well. Lightening struck several times this month and we are (still) without internet connection for more than a month now.
December and January are historically the least productive in terms of snare recovery and because of this a lot of the days off are being taken in this, warm and wet period. February was very wet for Hwange. Clouds gather every day and also release their precious cargo almost on a daily basis. The bush is dense and not easy to patrol.
I mentioned the snare effectiveness in the previous (Nov.) report. The only way to make an accurate assumption in my opinion is to accompany a poacher on his ‘patrols’ through the bush and to see how many snares he sets and thereafter how many snares have caught something. Do this with a number of poachers and we have variable nr. 1. The next one is to find out how many poachers are active in different villages and we would be a lot more knowledgeable about what really is going on in the bush. However, as we are a repressive force, we , ourselves, are not able to do such a thing.
Next best to estimate how effective snares actually are is just to ask different individuals. We ask them the result of capture if they put 10 snares in an area where they know there are a lot of animals. Most people have set some snare in their lives so the answer can in general be taken seriously. Answers vary between 3 up to ten animals caught within 3 days. This makes between 30%-100% effectiveness. If we look at our last annual report were we recovered 1652 snares and we consider 30% of these snares effective this would mean 495 animals saved that year. We can roughly state that males and females are equally represented in these snares which means that almost 250 females would have been saved, of which approximately 2/3 would have been able to reproduce (The rest is either too old or to young).
Harder to predict is how many snares would be set in a scenario where there was no ALL4AP or sister organization that did something to control the poaching. We can only assume, but if looked at the history when we first started (PDC) where only one anti poaching team was able to recover >3.400 snares we can only guess. That our absence would have had a large negative effect on the wildlife is obvious.

Enough about numbers and assumptions; In the mean time the team spend time in the bush, whilst I was hammering my brain with questions about drugs. Not ordinary drugs, but drugs used for the immobilization of wild animals. It was about time that I went to the only course in the world, which is held in Zimbabwe (for vets and non vets), for the ‘Dangerous drugs course’. If one passes the exam, you can apply for a permit that permits you to immobilize animals. In my case mainly to remove snares from unfortunate wildlife. After a week of sweating (literally, it was over 40C!) , numerous lectures and immobilizations, I managed to pass the test on the last day. Hopefully we will be able to use these skills to save some of the beautiful wildlife in the future.

Looking forward to seeing you here next month,

Martin & Team

Buffalo’s at Dete Vlei