I’ve just moved from the hustle and bustle of city living in Cape Town to a region called Zululand in Northern Natal. A few years after meeting the team from Wildlife ACT on a rhino poaching assignment for Getaway magazine, I’m now one of their permanent employees.
In two weeks we’ve darted and collared 11 rhino, one elephant and relocated two African painted dogs. Phew! I can’t wait for more of these exciting missions to unfold over the next few years. I’ll be blogging from the field and filling you in on what these on-the-ground, passionate conservationists are doing for our threatened and endangered wildlife in Africa.
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I now work for Wildlife ACT and the Wildlife ACT Fund. Wildlife ACT runs critical endangered and priority conservation work in South Africa, focusing on monitoring, and has a volunteer programme. Volunteers can join our expert teams on five of our projects in KwaZulu-Natal and work with African painted dogs, cheetah, rhino, lion, elephant and vultures.
The Wildlife ACT Fund focuses on four key areas of conservation:
• Finding and funding the right equipment needed for effective and meaningful monitoring.
• Delivering time and expertise to reintroduce these species into new ranges.
• Implementing anti-poaching measures and technology in the field.
• Community outreach, conservation education and economic development.
In May, the Wildlife ACT Fund collared an elephant and a male white rhino on Bonamanzi Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal. In light of the recent surge in rhino poaching in South Africa, conservationists are looking for alternative ways to monitor and track rhino. The Wildlife ACT Fund’s Simon Morgan and Chris Kelly have assisted with the development of a state-of-the-art tracking collar that fits tightly around a rhino’s back leg. The tracking device will assist with monitoring rhino on reserves more effectively. Constant monitoring is vital to see how the animals adjust to the new collars.
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