AFRICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FOUNDATION
Creating Awareness for Wildlife Conservation, Critical Care and Rehabilitation, Especially for Endangered & Threatened Species
To Create Wildlife Conservation In Action in Africa, With a Specific Focus on Conservation and Veterinary Mercy Missions, Critical Care and Rehabilitation.
AWCF & BOTLIERSKOP
AWCF and Botlierskop realised the dire need for very specific rescue and rehabilitation missions. The result is this alliance, to enhance conservation in Africa with specific attention given to special-needs projects.
All donations, as well as funds generated from Veterinary Safari procedures done at Botlierskop, will be channeled to the AWCF projects fund.
The Cape Mountain Zebra (CMZ), which only occurs in Southern Africa, is classified as CITES II ( endangered) and has three distinct genetic lineages: Gamkaberg, Kammanassie and Cradock.
While the Cradock lineage is quite common and widespread, the other two only occur in two protected areas – Gamkaberg and Kammanassie Nature Reserves. The entire CMZ population, especially the Gamkaberg lineage, has experienced a severe genetic bottleneck.
In 1974, seven of the remaining 13 Gamkaberg zebras were poached, leaving an all-time low of six animals. Fortunately, these have bred up to about 30 animals, but inbreeding is a major concern. While the Gamkaberg and Kammanassie lineages ought to be kept pure, it is biologically important to improve the genetic diversity of the CMZ population as a whole.
Another threat to the CMZ is interbreeding with other members of the horse family. If reserve fences are damaged and down, CMZ might breed with other types of zebra, or even horses and donkeys on neighbouring farms.
Keeping track of the Gamkaberg and Kammanassie zebras is thus essential and technology can help with this. Moving animals is sometimes necessary, but game capture and translocation is expensive. Sponsorship of any items on the list below will make a valuable contribution to the conservation of these unique animals. Currently, there are three female CMZ on farms neighbouring the Kammanassie Reserve which need to be translocated back to the original population. Due to its mountainous terrain, the only way to do this is by darting from a helicopter, slinging these animals out and transporting them back to the reserve.
AWCF has committed to assist with the sponsorship of the costs of this translocation procedure. You may contribute directly to this valuable conservation effort by donating towards the direct costs of translocation back to the Kammanassie Reserve. Those sponsoring more than R140,000 may accompany AWCF during the translocation, including the helicopter darting.
“What can we learn from African elephants?”
Recent reports claim that large, long-living mammals, such as the African elephant, are more resistant to the development of cancer than are humans. This phenomenon is considered a paradox in the animal world.
One may assume that the number of mutations that may lead to cancer would increase with body size (number of cells) and the species’ lifespan (number of cell divisions). A hypothesis that could explain this ability of elephants to suppress cancer, is the fact that they have at least 19 copies of a crucial tumour-suppressor gene, TP53, while humans have only one.
“With this research project, we will investigate the influence of the multiple TP53 copies on the response of African elephant’s blood samples to radiation exposure. This information may be crucial in the development of new strategies to prevent radiation-induced cancers. It should also give us better insights into the role of this tumour-suppressor gene to sensitise cancer cells to radiation therapy.” – Dr Charlot Vandevoorde – Nuclear Medicine Department (Manager Radiobiology Section)
AWCF successful translocation of the Ivory Coast Rhino was achieved under challenging conditions. The rhino has now settled well into its new environment at N’Zi River Reserve.
Our next phase is to find financial resources to import two young female rhinos to the Ivory Coast in order to establish a breeding nucleus, the only one of its kind in that country.
These female rhinos would need to be transported from Namibia to the Ivory Coast.
Tuberculosis surveillance in Elephants, Lions and Cheetahs
AWCF is participating with Animal TB Research Group, based at Stellenbosch University, to collect blood samples for baseline TB values in free-ranging elephants, cheetahs and lions.
These blood samples will be used to develop immunological assays for detection of M. bovis infection using a variety of techniques – serological, cytokine gene expression assays, cytokine stimulation assays. Samples are typically processed and stored in the Molecular Biology Laboratories in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University.
Motivation: Mycobacterium bovis and M. tuberculosis, the causes of animal and human tuberculosis, have been reported in more than 21 different wildlife species in South Africa. Despite extensive research in humans and cattle, diagnosis of infection and disease remains a challenging yet crucial component of its management and control. Tests based on the detection of the host’s immune response to infection remain the most sensitive methods of determining its status in humans and animals. However, few tests have been developed for wildlife species.
The research programme of the Animal TB Research Group, based at Stellenbosch University, aims to investigate and evaluate tests that can be used in a variety of South African wild mammals that will facilitate surveillance and management of this disease.
Somali Cheetah Rescue
The aim of this project is to rehabilitate eight critically endangered East African Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii). These cubs were confiscated by the Somali Government from illegal smugglers. Smugglers snatch baby cheetahs from wild conditions in Ethiopia, then smuggle them through Somaliland to the Middle East, where they are destined to be sold as pets. This rewilding programme is spearheaded by Botlierskop Game Reserve and Ashia/Kuzuko, working in conjunction with the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The end destination for these cheetahs will be the magnificent Akagera National Park in Rwanda, where they will form a breeding nucleus for this highly-endangered subspecies of cheetah.
Oxpecker Re-introduction in Southern Tip of Africa.
Operation Oxpecker project was initiated by the Endangered Wildlife Trust in 2002 with the aim of conserving existing populations of Red-billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) in South Africa.
They became extinct in many areas years ago due to the use of organophosphate sheep and cattle dips.
Botlierskop and AWCF have embarked on a mission to reintroduce these extraordinary birds to their former home range along the Garden Route. These birds play a critical role in maintaining the balance between land-living mammals and a balanced tick burden. Farmers in the vicinity are currently being mentored on the importance of using only oxpecker-friendly pyrethroid dips.
Bringing back these birds will reduce the need for the use of highly-toxic dips and lead to a cleaner, safer environment.
The North African or Red-necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is the largest ostrich subspecies. It roamed West and North Africa before becoming locally extinct. Currently, it’s on the ‘Critically Endangered’ list, however, the parent species – the common ostrich – is not endangered.
AWCF has been commissioned by African Parks to assist with a rewilding and breeding programme in order to reintroduce these primitive birds back into the Sahara.
Sometime during the 1980s, the last wild oryx was shot during ongoing wars in northern Africa. It has been 30 years since this rare animal was seen in Chad. Working in partnership with African Parks, AWCF is making available expertise to re-establish these rare animals back into their natural habitat.
AWCF AND BOTLIERSKOP ALLIANCE
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE AWCF TO HELP SAVE & PROTECT AFRICAN WILDLIFE
AWCF and Botlierskop allied to enhance conservation in Africa with specific reference to special needs projects. Dr Willem Burger and Botlierskop are offering Veterinary Safaris to obtain additional funding for AWCF.
Your participation in our Veterinary Safari ensures funding for AWCF. You are thus contributing directly to the worthy AWCF project fund for wildlife conservation in Africa. Book your VET SAFARI now and ensure a sustainable future for our precious wildlife.
DONATE TO AWCF
AFRICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION FUND
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Cape Mountain Zebra Translocation
In May 2019, six Cape Mountain Zebra (a family herd of five including a lone stallion) escaped from Gamkaberg Nature Reserve when a herd of eland moved through and collapsed a section of the boundary fence.
This family herd was successfully returned to the reserve by means of a helicopter and a sling after the animals were immobilised. However, it was decided to translocate the lone stallion, which was originally part of the Gamkaberg bachelor herd, to Sanbona Nature Reserve to improve the genetic diversity.
Dr Willem Burger from AWCF, with his expertise and guidance, did the immobilisation and translocation of the zebra at no charge. This was another positive step towards long-term CMZ conservation.
The Cape Mountain Zebra (CMZ) has three distinct genetic lineages: Gamkaberg, Kammanassie and Cradock. While the Cradock lineage is quite common and widespread, the other two only occur in two protected areas – Gamkaberg and Kammanassie Nature Reserves.
The entire population of CMZ, especially the Gamkaberg lineage, has experienced a severe genetic bottleneck.
In 1974, seven of the remaining 13 Gamkaberg zebras were poached, leaving an all-time low of six animals. These have bred up to about 30 animals, however, inbreeding is a major concern. While trying to keep the Gamkaberg and Kammanassie lineages pure, it is important to improve the genetic diversity by mixing the three lineages at other sites.
Ivory Coast Rhino Rescue
Leadership Conservation Africa (LCA) contacted AWCF to translocate the one and only surviving rhino on the Ivory Coast from a local village to a safe haven on a private reserve within the country.
This rhino survived a devastating, eight-year-long civil war on the Ivory Coast. Due to the possible risk which the rhino posed to the village children and, as requested by the village chief, the rhino was relocated to a more suitable destination.
The successful translocation took place in challenging conditions. The rhino has now settled well into its new environment at N’Zi River Reserve in the Ivory Coast.
Our next phase is to find financial resources to import two young female rhinos to the Ivory Coast in order to establish a breeding nucleus, which will be the one and only for the Ivory Coast. VIEW the thrilling rhino relocation procedure https://vimeo.com/322635121
Male Lion Translocation
In April 2019, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve bid farewell to two formidable and much-loved young lions, a coalition that had been born on the reserve.
Turning four-years-of-age, the two brothers were translocated by air from the arid plains of the Klein Karoo to their new home in KwaZulu-Natal, approximately 1,250 km away. As with any private game reserve, it is imperative to manage wildlife numbers responsibly. Bringing fresh new genes into the KZN reserve was the reason for this translocation which was made possible with sponsorship from AWCF, AIFA and Botlierskop.
Rewilding Five Elephants in Garden Route
Currently there are five free-ranging elephants on Botlierskop. Three of these elephants have been rescued and rewilded at Botlierskop: one elephant originated as a baby from a culling operation in Zimbabwe, another was rescued from a zoo and the third was saved from a circus. The other two elephants were born at Botlierskop.
They are thriving on 4,200 hectares of natural vegetation and assisting to destroy alien vegetation on the reserve, through their natural browsing behaviour.