Zimbabwe, one of Africa's most beautiful countries and with a rich wildlife heritage, is presently struggling from the combined effects of a drought, economic problems and political uncertainty. This is putting enormous stress on wildlife, parks and people alike. At the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), we have long observed that the well-being of wildlife and people go hand in hand in Africa. When one suffers, so will the other.
Deforestation for subsistence agriculture has left much of the soil on the steep hills of the Virunga Volcanoes unstable and, therefore, vulnerable to mudslides. This rainy season's heavy rainfall took its toll.
On April 27th, an enormous mudslide carrying with it boulders, trees, and large amounts of water, crashed through the District of Bukamba in Rwanda, killing at least four people. Seven children are reported missing. The mudslide destroyed vast areas of the landscape, and more than 17 homes. In addition, at least two cows, along with many sheep and goats were killed.
The Jules Verne Film Festival recently awarded the Jury Special Award to The Ghosts of Lomako, directed by Kenton Vaughan, 90th Parallel Productions Ltd. This highly personal documentary follows a team of scientists, including the African Wildlife Foundation's primatologist Jef Dupain, in their mission to save the bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country struggling to survive post-civil war.
Much of AWF's conservation work on the ground centers around these three questions: where do groups of wildlife migrate? Which routes do they use? And when? When we need answers to these questions, we turn to GIS.
In 2004, AWF established the Kilimanjaro Elephant Research & Conservation Camp to serve as the base station for studying elephants in the area along the Tanzania-Kenya border. This region is part of AWF's Kilimanjaro Heartland, a conservation landscape that is home to populations of elephants who travel from Amboseli National Park in Kenya across the border to the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. However, the camp does more than simply studying elephants.