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Endangered Species Conservation

Faculty-LedFaculty-Led | Ecology & Conservation Zimbabwe

Overview

With poaching rampant in much of Southern and East Africa, the nation of Zimbabwe has seen some remarkable successes in conserving a number of Africa’s most endangered species. Researchers on the ground are pioneering in the areas of anti poaching, breeding and reintroduction into the wild programs.

The program starts off in the capital city (Harare) where students meet with the National Parks Department in order to understand their structures and systems and come to grips with the conservation challenges being faced, including the wildlife history of the country.  The bulk of the course is then be comprised of field study and research focusing on the following: Rhino Conservation & Breeding (Save Valley & Malilangwe), Elephant overpopulation, conservancy formation & carrying capacity assessment (Gonarezhou), Transfrontier National Parks – the concept, implementation & challenges, Lion Breeding & Reintroduction into the wild (Zambezi Valley), Wild Dog Monitoring & Research (Save Valley & Hwange National Park) and finally, Anti Poaching Strategy & Practice (Victoria Falls). It includes lectures, limited prescribed readings, guest lecturers, group discussions and field research with Dr Norman Monks and Dr Jackie Abell. The course is strongly field based and candidates need to be comfortable with moderate physical activity and rural settings. It concludes with final presentations in Victoria Falls town, home of the majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site locally known as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’.

Location

Different activities will take place in different parts of the country, namely Harare, Save Valley & Malilangwe, Gonarezhou National Park, The Zambezi Valley, Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls. Due to the nature of the program, some parts of it will be spent camping in the field, but otherwise, students will be accommodated in lodges at these various locations.

Educational Outcomes

Through both practical and theory elements of the program students gain an appreciation of field-based data collection and analysis, animal tracking skills, poaching intervention strategies, wildlife population management, fire management, elephant overpopulation interventions, the concept of Transfrontier Parks and their sustainability as well African Lion and Painted Dog conservation efforts.

Module Length

The minimum duration for this module is 6 days.  The maximum length is 21 days (longer modules may incorporate additional study locations).

Contributors

Dr Norman Monks

Norman holds an MSc in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, a Certificate in Industrial Environmental Management from Rhodes University, as well as a Doctorate in Wildlife Management from the University of the Free State. His MSc research study was entitled “The Population Status, Diurnal Activity Patterns, Range and Territory Size, and Habitat Use by the White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) in Kyle Recreational Park, Zimbabwe”. 

His PhD study on lions was entitled “The Demography and Population Status of Lions (Panthera leo) in the Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.” Norman’s 36 years of experience of working for the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority has included the management of the Authority’s Game Ranching Research Unit, Gonarezhou National Park, and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Mana Pools National Park and Matopos National Park.  He has overseen all aspects of management including tourism, law enforcement, conservation, research and administration.  Norman is a member of the African Lion Working Group and IUCN SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group. In 2003 Norman was presented with the “Researcher of the Year” award by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and in 2005 he was awarded the “Conservationist of the Year” award by the Conservation division of Safari Club International for his conservation and management contribution during his long career in the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe. He currently works as the Director of Conservation for Antelope Park.

Dr Jackie Abell

She obtained her first degree in Psychology from the University of Dundee before going on to complete an MSc in Critical Social Psychology at Lancaster University. She became particularly interested in discursive psychology during this time and upon completion of her MSc, she went to study for a PhD at Loughborough University after which she was offered her first job as a Research Associate on a Leverhulme funded project about the impact of Scottish devolution upon notions of British, Scottish and English identity.

From here she was awarded her first lectureship at Lancaster University, in social psychology. She continued to research and publish work on identity. More recently she has become interested in conservation and lion reintroduction, and how social psychological models and concepts could be applied to this field. To improve her biological knowledge she completed an MSc in Animal Behaviour, and took up a role with the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust as Director of Research. Jackie has since published papers on conservation, reintroduction programmes and identity. She is the lead author of the David Myers ‘Social Psychology’ textbook (European edition) which is now in its 2nd edition. Recently, Jackie was approved as a member of the IUCN, SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, who are a select group of experts responsible for conservation strategies throughout the world and hopes to continue championing the role of social sciences in conservation work.

Ms Tatenda Muchopa

She grew up in the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare but somehow developed a great passion for all animals and nature. She graduated with an Honours Degree in Natural Resources Management, majoring in Wildlife Management from Africa University in Zimbabwe. She then worked as a volunteer at the Wildlife Veterinary Unit in Harare. It was during this period that she started towards a Diploma in Applied GIS and Remote Sensing which she completed while working with Dr Rasmussen in painted dog research in Hwange.

Naturally, she then fell into the role of being the GIS personnel within the organisation as she exercised her skills and training while working on any GIS related projects with regards to research work. Since completing her Diploma in GIS, she has represented the Painted Dogs Research Trust at The Society for Conservation GIS conference in California, USA in 2015 and work in GIS consultancy for various organisations. Currently she is working on a project with Birdlife Zimbabwe on The Distribution of Vultures in Zimbabwe. As an environmentalist, she is also involved in work with the Development Reality Institute which focuses on Climate Change Education and Sustainable Development Planning. Other roles she has had in the past were volunteering with the SPCA, Mukuvisi Woodlands and interning at Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek, Michigan, but her main field of expertise has become GIS

Customize Your Program

Thank you for your interest in this module and developing a faculty-led program with EDU Africa. We pride ourselves in our ability to customize a program that will meet your requirements, exceed your expectations and make your vision come to life.


Featured Experiences

Boma Restaurant

Meaning “the place of eating,” Boma appeals to the senses with a variety of local dishes including game meat such as kudu, warthog and ostrich. Guests are welcome to take part in traditional drumming and dancing. You even have the opportunity to eat a local delicacy – mopane worms!

Craft Workshop

Enjoy a cultural evening with Zimbabwean musicians, after which the local craftsmen will be available to teach you how to craft beautiful pieces of jewellery and sculptures. This cultural immersion experience will not only teach you new skills, but give you insight into the cultures and traditions of the people of Zimbabwe.

High Tea at Victoria Falls Hotel

Visit the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, renowned for it’s colonial-era architecture. This five-star hotel is only a ten-minute walk from the falls themselves, and was built in 1904 as a key part of the “Cape to Cairo” railroad dream. Today, enjoying a high-tea on the terrace gives you insight into what life was like over a hundred years ago as you gaze at the Victoria Falls Bridge, mist rising from the thundering waterfall.

Tiger Fishing

These ferocious, predatory fish lurk throughout much of the Zambezi, catching prey with their enormous jaws and needle-like teeth. Add a tiger fish to your repertoire during your sports fishing adventure on the Zambezi.

Flight of Angels

Hover through the pounding mist of Victoria Falls as you explore the stunning landscape from the air. A specially designed helicopter, providing panoramic visibility to every passenger, takes you high into the sky to be truly encompassed by the mesmerizing grandeur of the falls.

Victoria Falls

Known as the “smoke that thunders,” Victoria Falls is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The waterfall system is the largest on Earth, about 1.7 kilometers wide and one hundred and eight meters high. Enjoy being awestruck by the sheer magnificence of the falls.


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