in partnership with Lion Encounter Zambia
On the banks of the Zambezi as it topples over Victoria Falls lies the Mosi‐oa‐Tunya National Park. Though only 66km2, it is home to abundant wildlife including giraffe, warthog, buffalo, zebra, and numerous species of antelope, as well as hippo and crocodile along the river. Also resident are a herd of white rhino, under 24-hour protection by the Zambia Wildlife Authority from poaching, and the Park is occasionally visited by predators such as the endangered African wild dog and hyena. Birdlife abounds, as do a large variety of reptile and insect species.
Just north of the Park is another ALERT project site known as the Dambwa Forest; an uninhabited indigenous forest with undulating open savannah grasslands. At present it is mostly denuded of game species, though elephant are regular transient visitors when they cross the river in the dry season from the Zimbabwean side. A managed ecosystem has been created within the Forest into which a pride of lions has been released as part of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program.
The National Park and adjacent Dambwa Forest are surrounded by rural communities and the city of Livingstone itself. As such, this location offers a multitude of development and conservation economics based research opportunities in addition to plentiful conservation and environmental studies.
Studies facilitated here include:
- Differences in hunting success and prey preference in African lions; effects of group composition
- Exploring the Motivations of Participants in Volunteer Conservation Tourism and their Understandings of Biodiversity Conservation
- Voluntarily Ending Aid Dependence
- Economic Impacts of Tourism in the Livingstone Area, Zambia
- Influence of human presence on play behaviour and development in captive bred lions cubs
Victoria Falls or Gweru, Zimbabwe
in partnership with Lion Encounter Zimbabwe and Antelope Park
The 56,200ha Zambezi National Park, wild with bush and big game, stretches along the Zambezi River for 40km. It is contiguous with the Kazuma Pan–Matetsi‐Hwange complex, forming a total conservation area of over 1,846,700ha excluding forest reserves. Game includes mega fauna such as elephant, buffalo, lion, and larger antelope species (including greater kudu and waterbuck); also present are smaller mammal species such as common duiker, small‐spotted genet and honey badger.
The Victoria Falls National Park is home to a unique floral community. A relic of a rainforest that closely resembles that of a true equatorial rainforest; the vegetation supported by a seasonal spray from the Falls themselves.
The town of Victoria Falls and the surrounding rural communities are located within the National Park, and this interaction between people and wildlife provides many opportunities for study.
Antelope Park is a private game reserve of mixed Acacia and Miombo woodland on the banks of the Ngamo Dam. Besides game species such as zebra, impala, giraffe, kudu and hartebeest, the birdlife is prolific as water‐birds frequent the dam. Most importantly, the Park provides refuge for a variety of vulture species; six have been recorded, including White‐backed, Cape and Lappet‐faced vultures. Adjacent to Antelope Park is the Ngamo lion release site, home to a released pride as part of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program
Antelope Park is near the city of Gweru and next to the township called Mkoba. As such, a wide variety of socio-economic studies are also possible at this site.
Studies facilitated here include:
- Behavioural Sequencing and Character Development in Lion Cubs
- Is social influence a better promoter of conservation attitudes than education alone amongst communities affected by conflict with wildlife
- Influence of Social Upbringing on the Activity Pattern of Captive Lion (Panthera leo) cubs: Benefits of behaviour enrichment
- An acoustic analysis of lion roars