Julius Obwona is the Warden in Charge of Law Enforcement at Murchison Falls and he is is an extraordinary individual! Uganda Wildlife Authority @ugwildlife In 2018 he won the Tusk Ranger Wildlife award for his exceptional work!
By 2017 Julius and his team had removed 24 tonnes of snares from the Murchinson Delta reducing the ‘three elephants a day’ formerly being seen in traps to around three a month. Dozens of AK47’s, 100’s of rounds of ammunition and 700 poachers’ boats were decommissioned. His leadership has led to the prosecution of 720 suspects involved in wildlife-related crimes.
The @ugandaconservationfoundation (UCF) @was founded in 2001 to support the work of the national conservation agency, the @ugwildlife These are exciting times regarding developments in Murchison Falls – for example, 14 new ranger posts have recently been constructed to enable better distribution of rangers in priority areas. This will enable UWA to conduct anti-poaching patrols and respond to elephant crop raiding and other “problem” animals in areas that where inaccessible. Right now, two of the final ranger posts are being constructed, both deep in the park south of the river Nile. With wildlife numbers now increasing once again, UWA, with the support of UCF and other partners including Tusk, are now installing Murchison Falls’ first-ever digital radio network and command centre, at the park HQ. Being able to coordinate and communicate across the park is going to dramatically increase the effectiveness of rangers and their successful management, and in turn, save rangers lives. For too many decades, rangers have been left in the depths of the ark, many miles from any kind of support or assistance when things do go wrong. This coordination means rangers can now support communities where, for example, elephants are maybe destroying their crops; they can respond to lion, buffalo or the rare Rothschild giraffe caught in snares or with bullet wounds and of course, they can meaningfully and accurately deploy the rapid response unit to counter armed elephant and other wildlife poachers. Led by Tusk Award Wildlife Ranger winner, Julius Obwona, the Warden in Charge of Law Enforcement, the new operations building that will control the ranger force will be dedicated to him. He personally chose the final target for the grant funds, that came as part of his award as bestowed upon him by HRH the Duke of Cambridge at the recent Tusk Trust Awards 2018. The funds will be put directly into the construction of the operations centre, a wonderful way to show future generations of Ugandan rangers how the world recognized one of their own, for his energy, passion and commitment to Murchison Falls and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. 📸 @ugandaconservationfoundation
The endangered Okapi is the only other living member of the giraffe family, and survives only in the forests of war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). @okapiconservation Okapi Conservation Project (OCP) provides direct support to the local ICCN operation with healthcare, housing, equipment, supplies, training and more, enabling them to greatly increase the range and effectiveness of their activities. Between January and September 2018, ICCN rangers conducted 451 patrols covering 15,108 kilometres. During that time, the ICCN rangers destroyed 24 poaching camps, arresting 148 people, destroyed 57 illegal mining camps, evacuated 722 miners, confiscated numerous guns, rounds of ammunition and one AK-47. While on patrol, the rangers also removed 3,380 snares preventing numerous animals from getting caught in the traps. Two aerial surveys funded by USFWS were conducted in May and October 2018 to accurately identify and collect GPS coordinates of illegal activities including mining, logging, agricultural expansion into the forest zones and poaching camps to determine the areas that ranger patrols needed to be mobilized and dispatched to remove threats to the wildlife and forest. OCP continues its camera trapping program employing members of the community and ICCN rangers to collect footage and document the presence of select species in areas around the Okapi Wildlife Reserve. A lot of first-time footage has been collected in 2018 including the first-ever footage of an okapi calf in the wild. We plan to expand our camera traps to closed mines to document how quickly wildlife return to the areas in the coming year.
The Comoros islands in the northern Mozambique Channel are home to some of the highest levels of marine biodiversity found anywhere beyond the southeast Asian archipelagos. Working with their partner Dahari on the island of Anjouan, @beyondconservation recently supported the Comoros’ first periodic closure of an octopus fishery. 100 hectares of reef flat, adjacent to the villages of Vassy, Dzindri and Salamani on the southwest peninsula of Anjouan, was closed to fishing for four months. The closure was organised by the fisherwomen’s association Maecha Bora, which includes members from all three adjacent villages, and was inspired by a community exchange visit to Blue Ventures’ partner Mwambao in Zanzibar.
On opening day, 10 September 2018, the average octopus weight recorded was double the average weight before the closure. After seeing the increased catches, several fishers who had initially been opposed to the closure quickly changed their minds, becoming outspoken advocates for the model within their communities. Communities across Anjouan are now enthusiastic to organise more closures, and discuss other management measures, exemplifying how closures can act as a catalyst to increase buy-in and interest in community-led marine management.
2018 was a challenging and exciting year for Conservation South Luangwa - CSL with an array of valuable conservation programs going on. Like much of the rest of African parks and protected areas, wildlife is under great threat. @conservationsouthluangwa CSL has seen the results of poaching first hand but with new support and strategies for 2019 they are positive it will be a good year. From wildlife veterinary work to de-snare countless animals, expanding the human-wildlife conflict program, expanding our K9 Unit and training the dogs on ecological monitoring, providing aerial anti-poaching support and embarking on a massive 6-month recruit training program to help make up the critical shortage of wildlife police officers in South Luangwa. Recently 92 highly trained new wildlife police officers graduated in Mfuwe, and in January they will be deployed in the national park and game management areas to protect this spectacular area and its wildlife. TUSK has been a big part of CSL’s efforts and over the years has supported each aspect of our anti-poaching programs. In 2019 with new support from TUSK, CSL will embark on scout camp renovations and providing new equipment for the newly trained Wildlife police officers.
In 2018 our law enforcement support to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in South Luangwa has resulted in 760 patrols, 8734 patrolman days, 95 anti-poaching aerial patrols, 82 arrests, 76 firearms recovered, and 410 snares removed from the bush. With the new wildlife police officers in lace next year, we expect to double this.
PACE (Pan African Conservation Education) is about sharing solutions to environmental problems between communities - sharing simple ideas to make big changes. Launched by TUSK in 2006, PACE is now a continent-wide network of education and conservation practitioners. PACE is run by UNAFAS, the coordinator works closely with Hubs and Champions on the ground who provide resource materials, training, outreach and follow up at local and national levels – to early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, teacher training and technical colleges as well as community groups, rangers, NGOs, professional networks and education authorities. Together they are building capacity and interest in conservation and conservation education. With generous support from DHL 14,000 sets of the renowned PACE, materials have been shared with partners in 35 African countries. In 2018 we sent more than 2.2 tonnes of PACE materials (books, charts, teacher guides and digital material) to remote conservation sites and major cities in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
We have recently extended the PACE pack, adding new elements and new content. There are booklets on Wildlife Conservation and Climate Change with up-to-date background information, solutions and successes. There is a new Careers in Conservation, and Women in Conservation feature and the educator's guide explains clearly how PACE supports the educational frameworks that African governments now expect their schools to use. The updated PACE chapters and new resources are being tested now, for final versions to be distributed in 2019. We are thrilled that wildlife rangers, school inspectors, teachers and conservation projects all continue to find that PACE helps them achieve more and better conservation education – education that our evaluations show has brought about positive change, for people and wildlife.
Loijipu with his keepers. Loijipu is a rescued black rhino back in Sera Conservancy, where he is gradually being re-introduced to the wild. In 2001, local Samburu communities formed the Sera Wildlife Conservancy (SWC) with the aim of bringing together three historically rival ethnic groups to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in their traditional lands.
The initiative was so successful that in 2015 the Sera Rhino Sanctuary was established with the transfer of ten rhino from other areas in Kenya. It was the first community conservancy in East Africa to operate a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the critically endangered black rhino.
Tusk’s funding was instrumental in the construction of the Rhino Sanctuary, which has already seen the first black rhino birth on community land in Kenya for 25 years. We also provided support to construct and maintain the Moto outpost, to improve the monitoring and protection of the rhino. In addition, we have helped run conservation awareness campaigns and install water pumps for local communities.
With support from Tusk, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) has been working with farmers in the Eastern Communal Conservancies of Namibia to test a new Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) mitigation tool, the E-Shepherd Collar. @ccfcheetah When an animal wearing an E- Shepherd Collar begins running, the device emits a high-pitched sound and triggers lights, all designed to deter a would-be predator giving chase. CCF fitted different types of livestock -- goats, sheep and calves – in different situations and geographic areas with the collars, to test their efficacy.
Collars were deployed mainly with communal farmers in the Otjituuo, Okamatapati and Wild Dog Conservancies, but CCF also included commercial farmers in Kavango West and the Waterberg Conservancy in the study. In total, 20 farmers received E-Shepherd collars. Collars were deployed in three phases beginning in January 2018. CCF has been following up by phone and with in–person visits to determine livestock lost and whether farming conditions have changed. Preliminary results show the collars can be effective under certain conditions.
To supplement the research project, CCF has been conducting workshops on Integrated Livestock and Predator Management in the same areas. By providing farmers with more tools and skills to manage lands shared with predators, CCF can help farmers protect livestock and enable wildlife to flourish.
HWC is one of the main threats to large carnivore species, and specifically cheetahs, in Africa. Successful conservation lies in first helping the people who live alongside these animals. With the support of key partners like Tusk Trust, CCF continues to explore new and creative solutions to help people and wildlife thrive.
Levison will be sharing fascinating tales and insights from his recently completed 5000-mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula from Syria to Lebanon. As well as talking about his collaboration with the charity and will also be signing his latest book: “Arabia: A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East”. The talk will be held on Wed 23 January 2019 19:00 – 20:30 GMT at Cadogan Hall, 5 Sloane Terrace, London, SW1X 9DQ
Vultures continue to face ongoing declines across the African continent which has resulted in several vulture species being listed as CITIES I; which affords them the highest level of protection. As a result, the need for an extensive holistic approach which encompasses both in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies is of paramount importance. VulPro is the embodiment of such an organization and has been recognized as the leading vulture conservation centre in Africa. This achievement is impossible to obtain single-handedly and VulPro is incredibly proud to have Tusk's support. @vulpro1 With the support from Tusk, VulPro continues to lead the way in vulture rehabilitation, conservation breeding, field-driven conservation surveys and research, education which covers all spheres, threat mitigation and proactive measures and conservation strategies as well as extensive training throughout Africa. In 2018 VulPro was presented with the conservation award for 2018 by Cellular Tracking Technologies as a tribute to their all-encompassing work. This is a true reflection of the belief bestowed on us by their supporters and followers in making a significant and positive impact for African vultures. Tusk is undoubtedly a large part of our success given their support and partnership with Vulpro over the past decade. In summary, VulPro has rehabilitated over 693 vultures, released just short on 300 and to-date, has 220 non-releasable vultures in captivity. They have successfully released 21 captive bred parent raised Cape Vultures in just 3 years and continue to monitor 50% of the global Cape Vulture population which stands at 4200 breeding pairs. Vulpro continue's to grow their tree nesting vulture survey and research projects across southern Africa together with proactive mitigation strategies. Never before has the world taken the vulture crisis seriously up until now and Vulpro are positive that together, we may have a chance of reversing the downward spiral of the African Vulture Crisis
In 2018 it was great to hear that the critically endangered mountain gorillas status had been changed to endangered. This was incredible news and a massive win for all those involved! Our project partners Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) is very grateful to Tusk Trust for funding their work with the endangered mountain gorillas and local communities of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. CTPH Gorilla Conservation Camp @ctph_uganda Tusk funding has enabled CTPH to build a permanent home. This year they completed the second block of the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre and started to equip it with furniture and equipment. This will enable CTPH to carry out additional tests that will result in them being able to accurately detect cross-species disease transmission between people, gorillas and livestock. The CTPH team also participated in the Bwindi mountain gorilla census that occurs every five years, this gave them the rare opportunity to research gorillas that are not visited by tourists or researchers. In September, CTPH hosted a ranger-training workshop at the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre on gorilla health monitoring and management of tourists during gorilla viewing. Together with CTPH's partners, 28 new and old rangers where trained and another 135 in other sectors as well as new ranger recruits during their orientation in October. Tusk Trust has enabled CTPH to start a new project with Uganda Wildlife Authority by working with reformed poachers and engaging them in meaningful professions and livelihoods that reduce their dependence on the gorillas' habitat to meet their basic needs. Support from Tusk has enabled CTPH to contribute to the population increase of mountain gorillas to above 1000 changing their IUCN status from critically endangered to endangered and hope that the Bwindi gorilla census will show a similar positive trend.