False 18 Travel Zambia May 2008 Elephant orphanage Habitat Habitat Nkani Nkani Chodoba Chodoba was just three years old and very weak when discovered last October wandering alone near Flatdogs Camp. For three weeks I monitored his condition, hoping in vain that other local elephants would take him in. But he was becoming thinner every day and was clearly unlikely to survive, so we decided to help him. With the full support of ZAWA ( the Zambia Wildlife Authority), we darted and moved Chodoba to a temporary boma at Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre. Our ultimate plan was to transport him to Kafue, where an elephant orphanage has recently been established by the David Shepherd Foundation to help with the reintroduction of a six- year- old elephant called Phoenix. Chodoba was too big to be flown, so we transported him in our modified land cruiser. The team comprised me, Moffat Phiri from SLCS, James Milanzi ( ZAWA Senior Ecologist) and Ison Simwanza from ZAWA. After a 30- hour trip, with numerous stops for feeding, watering and tranquiliser top- ups, we reached Kafue. Chodoba handled the journey extremely well and upon reaching his new home simply stepped off the vehicle and started feeding. Chamilandu As luck would have it, the day before we were due to leave for Kafue we heard about a wounded elephant cow with a young calf at Chamilandu Camp inside the park. We found her emaciated and in agony, her leg hugely swollen and infected from a gunshot wound. In such cases the elephant would normally be euthanised ( shot) immediately. However, the young calf was not yet weaned and could not survive alone, so we postponed the Kafue trip and asked the David Shepherd Foundation to send up milk formula. The following day a ZAWA scout put the mother out of her misery, and we moved Chamilandu to her own boma at Chipembele, separate from Chodoba. Obviously terrified, she screamed frantically the whole night. By the second night, however, she had calmed down and was drinking milk without any problem. Chamilandu was small enough to be flown to the orphanage in Kafue. With help and advice from Proflight, who had also recently moved a little elephant named Zamma from Lower Zambezi to Kafue, we prepared for her move. No specialized vet was available, so James Milanzi, Jaston Nyama ( SLCS scout) and I decided to do it ourselves. It was quite a job ( you’d be surprised at the strength of an 18- month- old elephant): first we tranquilised her and loaded her into her crate; then we drove her to Mfuwe Airport; finally we loaded her onto the Proflight Caravan plane. Thankfully the three- hour flight was very smooth. Jaston, her most trusted friend, sat with her at the back and fed her along the way. Update: May 2008 Chodoba, Chamilandu, Zamma and Phoenix are thriving at the orphanage. After months of hard work by the keepers, Chodoba has slowly started to put on weight. Due to local flooding in Kafue, the camp has recently been moved to a more suitable site. SLCS is thrilled that a facility now exists for orphaned elephants, and we have assured the orphanage of our total commitment to assisting them. Meanwhile we would like to thank all our generous supporters, without whom this whole operation would not have been possible: in particular DHL, Conservation Foundation Zambia, Proflight, Gero and Edelgard Heine and the David Shepherd Foundation. To find out more about the elephant orphanage – and learn what else the South Luangwa Conservation Society and David Shepherd Foundation are doing for Zambia’s wildlife????????? – visit www. slcs- zambia. org and www. davidshepherd. org. Left: Chodoba hits the road to Kafue Middle: Chamilandu is captured and sedated Right: A walk and a wash in the bush Two young orphaned elephants from South Luangwa have found a new home in Kafue National Park, joining two other elephant orphans in a unique new facility. Rachel McRobb, director of the South Luangwa Conservation Society, tells their remarkable story. Three new friends enjoy their new home. RACHEL MCROBB RACHEL MCROBB BELINDA PUMFRETT BELINDA PUMFRETT
False May 2008 Travel Zambia 19 This spectacular scene was captured by photographer Eric Gauss in February when Zambian authorities opened the floodgates of the Kariba Dam. The water burst through at a rate of 33,, ????????? 000 cubic metres per second, and large nu ????????????????????????????????? mbers of people were temporarily evacuated downstream in Mozambique as the Zambezi river rose. The decision to open the floodgates w ????? as??? made amid fears that the dam might burst ?????????? ,??? following weeks ????? ????????????????????????? of heavy rains that ???????????? had already caused widespread damage and flooding across Zambia. The Kariba Dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam, and was built between 1955 and 1959. At 128m high and 579m long it is one of the largest dams in the world. Today it supplies 1320MW of electricity to both Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba, the reservoir created by the dam, extends for 280km upstream behind the dam wall. FLOODGATES OPEN Habitat Nkani Nkani Collins Makaliki Black rhino in North Luangwa National Park NORTH LUANGWA CONSERVATION PROJECT ERIC GAUSS A day in the life of a rhino scout CLAIRE LEWIS The role of the rhino trackers is crucial to our work at NLCP. All the translocated rhinos have battery- powered transmitters fitted in their horns that emit a radio signal to help monitor their movements. But once the batteries expire, the animals have to be tracked using reliable old-fashioned tracking techniques. Forty four- year- old Collins Makaliki, a member of the Rhino Protection Unit since 2006, is one such tracker. “ I’m proud of what I do,” says Collins. “ We never saw rhinos when they were extinct but now I’m very happy that I live with them.” He described a typical day’s work. 05.00am: Wake up; no breakfast! 05.45am: Prepare for tracking; check firearms, GPS, camera, binoculars, radio. 06.00am: Set off for tracking rhino. 07.30am: Start to see signs of rhino activity from previous days, e. g. old spoor and dung middens. 08.00am: Spot fresh rhino dung and collect a sample for analysis. 08.45am: Notice signs of browsing on chipembele ( which means ‘ rhino’ but is also the local name for the plant species Cartunaregum spinosa). 09.30am: Pick up fresh tracks and begin to follow, looking out for more signs of rhino close by and also listening for other indicators such as the sound of oxpeckers. 10.15am: Hear a breaking of twigs and quiet munching; move forward very quietly and spot a rhino through thick vegetation; check wind and retreat. 10.20am: Remove boots and socks and prepare camera. 10.25am: Silently return to the rhino to take photos and make a series of observations; ear notches and horn profiles help identify the individual; we assess the behaviour and, importantly, the overall condition – such as ‘ fatness’, signs of injury, fighting or pregnancy. 10.30am: Quietly slip away from the rhino; if we’re lucky, it won’t even know it has been seen. 10.35am: Take GPS coordinates and note the type of vegetation in the area. 10.40am: Set off for return walk to base. 01.00pm: Prepare lunch of nsima, beans and kapenta ( dried fish) 02.00pm: Write up notes of the morning and make plans for the rhinos to be tracked the next day. 06.00pm: Prepare supper of nsima, beans and kapenta ( again!) 07.00pm: Sleep! NLCP is supported by the Frankfurt Zoological Society. The black rhino project is assisted by the Zambia Wildlife Authority, South African National Parks, the South African North West Parks and Eastern Cape Parks Boards. Find out more at www. fzs. org. Travel Zambia has been following the ongoing reintroduction of black rhinos to North Luangwa National Park, a joint initiative of the North Luangwa Conservation Project ( NLCP) and the Zambian Wildlife Authority ( ZAWA). Claire Lewis, who joined as a project leader in December 2007, reveals the work of the project’s unsung heroes: the trackers.