Healing Ecosystems – Wildlife Veterinary
Our Wildlife Management team is a specialized, inter-disciplinary team of veterinarians, scientists, community specialists, and rangers. We strive to train and employ next-generation Mozambicans and leaders in protected species recovery and research, wildlife veterinary, endangered species translocations and re-introductions, management of sanctuaries and specialized areas and equipment, and response to emergencies such as snaring or wildlife crime events.
At Gorongosa National Park we are proud to have launched the 1st wildlife veterinary unit operating full-time in a national park. Recruiting and training young and passionate Mozambicans to lead the way, our vets go far beyond just doing veterinary work. They are frontline, Mozambican conservationists and part of a growing team tasked to healing and sustaining functional ecosystems. We our also very proud to have recruited and trained the 1st Mozambican woman to be fully employed as a Wildlife Veterinarian in the nation’s national park system.
Our team adopts a “One Health” approach recognizing that environmental, animal and human health are deeply interconnected. We recognize the spiritual importance to traditional communities of species such a lion, hyaena, pangolin and Painted Wolves and we work within that framework to develop stronger, shared bonds between management of such species and communities.
Veterinary personnel provide such support to a growing array of projects requiring safe chemical immobilization of wildlife (elephants, ungulates, meso-predators) towards tracking ecosystem recovery. The Wildlife Management team also responds alongside rangers and community relations specialists to human-wildlife conflict situations in communities. Response includes, but is not limited to, safely and humanely rescuing stray or “problem” wildlife from local communities. We also strive to pro-actively reduce such conflict and promote co-existence, for example building of predator-proof corrals.
Wildlife Management in partnership with Law Enforcement also oversees wildlife crime site forensics. Wildlife forensics is an emerging field of expertise focused on extracting valuable data from crime scenes (example an elephant poaching, or poisoning event) to aide in the apprehension of suspects towards deterring future incidents and securing the integrity of protected areas. Personnel are trained on crime scene protocols and have the expertise to not only extract data from a site, but also treat or manage injured or poisoned wildlife.
Our focal areas include:
Training and deploying next-generation wildlife managers with expertise in population recovery and research strategies, habitat restoration, wildlife veterinary and vaccination campaigns, and human-wildlife co-existence.
One of our most important roles is to transfer knowledge directly to wildlife rangers in the form of mentorship, training, and strategy.
Within the Park a few select species serve as “sentinels” and are critical indicators of long-term ecosystem health and management success. Our team monitors such populations using cutting-edge technology, for e.g. Vulcan’s EarthRanger.
Gorongosa is unfenced and our strong wildlife recovery means periodically animals stray from the Park in to communities requiring a combination of interventions by skilled personnel such as re-capture and relocations, community education and disease vaccination campaigns and also development of co-existence strategies with community leaders.
Advance an integrated multi-partner approach to conservation and to people-centred development. The Gorongosa Project protects the Park’s biodiversity and ecosystem services and unlocks its economic potential for the community inhabitants of the Gorongosa Buffer Zone, Sofala Province, Mozambique and further afield.
A thriving, biodiversity-rich, Greater Gorongosa conservation landscape, which supports Sofala Province as an engine for resilient and sustainable development enabling nature experiences and wellbeing for its people, enriching all of Mozambique and the world.
A Park for Peace
On 1 August, 2019 a historic ceremony was held in Gorongosa to celebrate the Cessation of Hostilities Accord between the leaders of the Government of Mozambique and the opposition Renamo Party. The accord established Gorongosa National Park (GNP) as a ‘Park for Peace’, delivering human development to the communities that share the greater landscape.