On the 11th January 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZWPMA) and African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) to partner in research and other management activities in Chizarira National Park. The chairperson of ALERT (Zimbabwe), Dr Charles Msipa signed on behalf of ALERT and the Acting Director General, Mr Geoffry Matipano signed on behalf of ZWPMA.
ZWPMA is the Governmental body that manages 13% of the land mass in Zimbabwe for conservation. ALERT is a non-profit conservation organisation dedicated to the conservation of the African lion and the ecosystems on which they rely
Chizarira National Park (1 910km2) is situated on the edge of the Zambezi Escarpment overlooking the Zambezi Valley. The Escarpment plateau rises sharply 600 meters above the Valley floor. The Park, is an area of magnificent scenery with savannah vegetation on the plateau interspersed with deep gorges. A wide variety of wildlife is found in the Park including: elephant, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, zebra, warthog, duiker, sable, wildebeest, eland, lion, spotted hyena, leopard, as well as smaller carnivores such as serval and caracal. The Park is contiguous with Chirisa Safari Area (1 713km2) making a continuous conservation area of some 3 623km2 that contains spectacular scenery and good wildlife populations.
The Park has been neglected over a number of years and no research has been carried out in the area for about two decades. Ecologists and biologists from ALERT, in partnership with ZPWMA, plan to undertake a number of research projects on the Park’s wildlife. Additionally, social scientists will be working with the surrounding communities in an effort to reduce their reliance on natural resources, an underlying cause of human/wildlife conflict and poaching in and around the Park.
ALERT will refurbish some abandoned buildings as a research base where researchers from various disciplines will operate from, as well as making an abandoned school building functional again. ALERT is also committed to raising the public image of the Park to promote visitors, and thereby raising revenue that ZPWMA can utilise to manage the ecosystem.
Anyone wishing to support this work can do so at www.africanneedslions.com.
To ensure viable populations of African lions are maintained as an integral part of functional ecosystems.
The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is dedicated to a multi-disciplinary approach for the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion (Panthera leo) and the ecosystems on which the species relies.
Through responsible development we aim to realize the species’ potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits, that are distributed equitably amongst stakeholders to promote sustainable motivation in them for the protection of Africa’s natural heritage.