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.
False 20 Travel Zambia May 2008