The history of what transpired leading to the game count is well documented and members have been kept abreast of all the developments suffice to say that we were left with 8 weeks to organise the count and the Count did take place as originally planned on the 26/27 of September 2015.
116 people participated in the Count and these made up 18 Transect and 3 Static teams (Chitake, Njiri and Mashuma). These numbers were about half the number that participated in 2014. The reduced numbers were in the main as a result of would-be participants having received contradictory messages and it seems that several had made alternative plans, not knowing what was happening.
Despite the reduced numbers we still counted all the 38 transects with the exception of the croton bush area, as each transect was counted twice as opposed to the previous four. Adequate data was therefore collected ensuring continuity in counts every year. General comments received from members were that the count was successful despite glitches discussed and that we can only get better with each count. The experience, lessons and challenges can only make WEZ a better institution.
There was no Keg and Baobab this year and it is our hope that this will be resumed next year. Given the short notice it was not possible to organise talks/presentations during the count days. A briefing took place on the Friday (25th) and this included a briefing on the Carnivore Survey which was also taking place in Mana. The Wildlife Officer on behalf of the Area Manager briefed participants on the state of the park and what to look out for. A debrief also took place on the Sunday (26th) were participants shared their experiences, encounters, challenges, complaints and contributions. All these were positively taken and will contribute to the next years count.
The data is currently being compiled but of interest is that some counters sighted lions, a leopard, a pack of wild dogs (25), buffalo herds, and a group of elands with young ones, hyena, civet, jackals, hooded and white backed vultures. Interesting observations were also of 500 herd of impala at Chitake seen after the count period when counters were leaving. A cheetah was sighted also after the count.
Detailed below is the summary of all the monies raised and how they were applied:
|Total Income Generated||10,080.00|
|Less : Annual Subscriptions Raised||(2,860.00)|
|Add : T-shirt Sales 79 @ $12.00 each||948.00|
|Printing Of Maps||12.00|
|Laminating Transact Labels||100.00|
|Medical Aid Cover||480.00|
1) Income generated was from 116 participants
2) 100 T-shirts (cost $700) were printed and 79 sold (value $948) with the balance being distributed to the WEZ team, the helpers and National Parks officials.
3) Accommodation paid to Parks was for all campsites plus two lodges. In other words we paid for accommodation for 250+ participants but realised income from 116 participants hence the loss.
4) Conservation fees – we managed to get a 50% discount in addition to the 50% discount on accommodation.
5) 100 steel pegs were made.
6) Medical Aid cover – MARS provided us with two medics and a fully equipped clinic and tent (the entire count was completely incident free).
7) Game Rangers (14) were each paid $20
8) Administration costs covered the WEZ team costs and the medics (food). A WEZ team visited Mana prior to the count for an initial survey and preliminary planning. The team together with helpers went two days prior to the count to do the planning which included the pegging. These days outside the permit we were charged 100% conservation fees and accommodation. The administration costs include fuel, meals, conservation fees and accommodation. With better and timeous planning these costs can be reduced.
9) 20litres diesel was donated to Parks.
With a full counters compliment of say 250 Total income generated would have been about $20,000 and this would have resulted in a surplus of plus or minus $6,000.
The branch would have carried out projects in the Park as well as retain some amount towards the running of the branch. These activities would have been accounted for as illustrated above. Any donations received in cash or in kind incoming and outgoing would also have been recorded in the above illustrated format.
All income received above was receipted on a WEZ Mashonaland receipts book and monies were banked into a WEZ Mashonaland Bank Account. All expenditure was substantiated and fully documented and approved. The figures will form part of WEZ Mashonaland accounts for the financial year ending 31 July 2016 and will be verifiable by our auditors.
Areas identified which WEZ can work with Parks include the following:
- Education of Rangers in selected areas such as birds etc.
- Provision of education facilities for Rangers children (non-existent at the moment)
- Solarising of rangers residence and other facilities
- Healthcare facilities improvements
- Supply of relevant books to the Park
- Roads improvement
- Assisting in setting up a convenience facility
- Assisting with anti-poaching activities
- Radio communication network for the Park
- The use of a drone during counts to collaborate information from the existing counters
Donors are welcome to partner WEZ in implementation of the above programmes. WEZ has also not utilised the game counts to cross sell its other activities in particular the WEZ Primary Schools Quiz which aims to educate our children on the need to conserve and protect our wildlife and the environment and the WEZ Photographic Competition.
We wish to thank the WEZ staff, the helpers and participants who made this count possible. The count has generated a lot of interest from the authorities and the general public and this can only strengthen WEZ as an institution. For the record this game count activity had it been accounted for in the branch’s figures it would have contributed significantly to amounts recorded. This would have also impacted positively to the overall WEZ financial standing as will be revealed at the AGM soon to be held.
In furthering WEZ’s objectives for 2015 game counts were carried out in the following parks:
- Mana Pools
- Matusadona (for the first time)
- Sebakwe Recreational (for the first time)
All this information will appear in WEZ’s 2015/2016 records and the statistical data will be available at the WEZ offices for all interested parties.
2016 WEZ is planning to carry out game counts in the following areas:
- Mana Pools
- Sebakwe Recreational (to include the surrounding conservancies)
- Lake Chivero (new – used to be done)
- Gonarezhou (new – used to be done)
Of note is the need to encourage more black Zimbabweans and the younger generation to participate in future game counts.
This report was prepared for our members (as promised at the game count), potential members, stakeholders, potential donors and the public at large.
For and on behalf of WEZ Mashonaland Branch
Isaiah D Nyakusendwa
Date 13th October 2015