Famous for its sizeable populations of elephants and large carnivores, Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is also home to one of the most elusive predators on the continent: the endangered African wild dog. About 150 wild dogs—also known as “painted dogs” for their colorful, patchy coats—live in Hwange and its environs. As more people settle around Hwange, the African wild dog population faces increasing pressure in the form of habitat fragmentation and human–wildlife conflict.
In August, Simon Muchatibaya joined AWF as the Technical Advisor in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Muchatibaya’s role is the result of a partnership between AWF and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, demonstrating both parties’ commitment to protecting a World Heritage Site that has been subject to intense poaching. AWF’s Communications staff sat down with Muchatibaya to learn more about his life growing up in Zimbabwe and his extensive conservation background; you can read the conversation below.
It is no way to kick off World Rhino Day. Little Bahati, from Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, had already been the victim of rhino poachers when they shot and killed his mother last year, taking her horns and orphaning the defenceless rhino calf.
If you’ve been following our blogs and recent news, you’ve probably heard about the horrific elephant poisonings that occurred in Zimbabwe early last month. When I first wrote about this tragic situation, I reported on the immediate elephant deaths—41 of Hwange National Park’s majestic giants—which was already a horrifically high number.
Two contrasting scenes stand out in my mind when I remember my past as a young boy herding my father’s cattle in the former wildlands of Domboshava, Zimbabwe. Mountains covered with forest full of diverse, juicy wild fruits—this was the common scenery in my early days as a herd boy, unforgettable, and one I cherished and so dearly loved. I remember the scenery changing, my beloved forests and flowing rivers were slowly replaced by bare mountains, lethargic rivers and leafless remnants of bushy trees still standing.