July 31st, 2020

African Parks - Nkhotakota June 2020 Report

Written by:

Toby Pheasant

Category:

Sustainability

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Key Activities, Events, and Achievements – June 2020

  • Continued to implement and update Covid-19 park response plan.
  • Hosted Malawi Broadcasting Cooperation TV crew who came to film the “African Parks Corner” programme on MBC TV.
  • Made good progress with establishing new monitoring plots (vegetation monitoring and camera trap installation).

Management and Infrastructure

  • Repaired the fence and closed gaps from washed away river crossings between Bua Camp and the Kaombe River (10 km).
  • Repaired electrics on the eastern boundary fence with multiple damages due to elephant breakouts (20 days).
  • Cut fire break on the Eastern boundary fence line from the Bua River to Dwangwa River 36 km.
  • Cut fire breaks along Tongole Road 6 km.
  • Cut fire break around Livezi camp and water tank, game hide, and solar equipment. 
  • Cleared along the fence line from Tongole Road to Bua River 5 km.
  • Used TLB to clear fence line track from Bua camp to Kaombe River (10 km).
  • A thousand facemasks were made by a local tailor for distribution to reserve staff and their families.

Village headman Chunga poses on thatch grass bundles that were harvested in the park under the resource use programme.

Law Enforcement

  • Law enforcement patrol teams removed 138 wire snares during the month.
  • Two people were arrested for hardwood timber sawing and were fined. Unfortunately, four other people who had also been sawing timber managed to escape.
  • Twenty-two women collecting firewood in the reserve were apprehended, they received a formal warning from law enforcement staff and were released.
  • The case against a suspect who stole two solar panels and two batteries from Bua Lodge in May was withdrawn, as lodge management did not want to press charges.
  • Seventeen patrols long patrols (255 man-days), 59 short patrols (118 man-days), and four-night patrol were conducted.
  • Three investigations operations took place during the month.
  • Thirteen incidents of elephant breakouts were recorded and reacted to (98 man-days).

Biodiversity Conservation

  • Fifteen new monitoring plots with camera traps were established.

Community Development

  • Conducted eight community outreach meetings with 332 people. The meetings focused on addressing illegal activities in the park such as charcoal burning, poaching, firewood fetching, timber production, protection of fence from vandalism, and tsetse fly awareness.
  • Conducted two zone meetings to strengthen Natural Resources Committees on collaborative management of natural resources, leadership, and governance. A total of 106 people were in attendance at the two meetings.
  • Supported Nkhotakota district hospital with mobile outreach clinics in the 5 km radius. Four clinics were served where over 600 people (30% under-five children) were attended to and received treatment for different health conditions.
  • Conducted one community visit to the reserve in the month. Eighteen community members attended.
  • Together with Banja La Mtsogolo, rolled out a family planning programme in areas around the reserve within Nkhotakota District, 10 awareness meetings have been held, 290 people were reached.
  • Conducted two meetings with scholarship beneficiary students and their parents/guardians to stress on the guidelines of the scholarship programme and highlight the importance of parents/guardians taking an active role to encourage their children to work hard in school.
  • Communities conducted four patrols in the reserve this month. During two of the patrols, members came into contact with other community members harvesting resources without permits. The offenders were convicted at traditional chiefs’ courts.
  • Completed rehabilitation of teachers’ houses, two at Muuta Primary School, and two at Kaperula CDSS.

New elephant sculpture at the EE Centre.

Economic Impact

  • We had 81 (YTD 226) visitors at the park in June 2020. The gross revenue collected from Gate entry, guides, and Mphatso Restaurant was US$488.23 (YTD US$2,737.79).
  • We had 31 bed nights, 28-day visitors, and 36 non-paying Visitors. The impact of COVID-19 is still being felt as monthly revenue is significantly lower than in June 2019.
  • Five types of resources under the Resource Use programme were harvested in the month worth US$4424 benefiting 561 community members.
  • The reserve currently employs 135 people permanently and 101 people on short term contracts.

Key Activities and Events Planned for – July 2020

  • Continue construction at Ching’amba Mushroom and honey house.
  • Continue cutting and burning of firebreaks in the reserve.
  • Attempt to complete all new monitoring plots under the USFS program, and start an intensive programme to check and service existing ones.
  • Select site and plan for construction of new ranger accommodation in the park.
  • Deployment of Tsetse targets and traps after firebreaks.

For more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us directly, or visit the African Parks website here.

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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