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African Lion & Environmental Research Trust Review of the Year 2012


AFRICA NEEDS LIONS a responsible development approach to lion conservation


The Ngamo Release Site


Lion population estimates as low as 32,000 December 2012 - Researchers coordinated by a team at the Nicholas School of the Environment reported that Africa’s once-thriving savannahs are in trouble due to massive land-use conversion and burgeoning human population growth. The decline has had a significant impact on the lions that make their home in these savannahs; their numbers having dropped to as low as 32,000. The last published estimate of continental lion populations was reported in 2006 following two regional strategy workshops. Since then a number of studies have been conducted to bring clarification to those previous estimates – most concluding alarming declines or local extinction of lion sub-populations in the areas studied. This latest report brings together that work over the past six years to clarify a most likely continental wide population of just 32,000 lions. The lions of Africa are on the losing side of an intensifying conflict with people. As human populations expand, more and more of the lions’ habitat is being lost. Lions are also losing their natural prey to illegal poaching, or dying a slow and painful death in a poacher’s wire snare. As lions come into more frequent contact with humans they are being shot, speared and

poisoned in retaliation for killing livestock on which communities rely. Adding to the problem are unsustainable trophy hunting practices, the trade in lion bones to meet the increasing demands of Far East traditional medicine markets, multiple diseases - often transferred from domestic animals, the impacts of climate change and the effects of inbreeding depression. Why do we need lions? The loss of lions within Africa’s fragile ecosystems can result in serious and unpredictable consequences throughout the food chain. Lions are important in the complex system that maintains biodiversity amongst herbivore species by regulating population size of the most dominant of those species, such as zebra and buffalo. Without lions to control them these dominant In 2005/6 the IUCN identified 86 areas of “known, occasional and/or possible lion range”. In 2012, this more recent study suggests that only 67 lion areas remain – highly fragmented and isolated from natural gene flow. Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Rwanda have joined those countries that have lost their lions altogether.

Riggio J, Jacobson A, Dollar L, Bauer H, Becker M, Dickman A, Funston P, Groom R, Henschel P, de Iongh H, Lichtenfeld L, Pimm S (2012) The size of savannah Africa: a lion's (Panthera leo) view. Biodiversity Conservation Dec 12 DOI 10.1007/s10531-012-0381-4


species can out compete other animals, causing their extinction, and therefore reducing biodiversity. Lions also help to control the spread of disease by removing the weak and elderly animals in the herds of their preferred prey. Tourists, hoping to see the "the fiercest and most magnanimous of the four footed beasts" contribute significantly to the local and national economies of countries that still maintain lion populations. If lions disappear the livelihoods of those that rely on the income that tourism generates will be lost, particularly in Africa’s most needy rural communities. As the economy of these regions become suppressed so social development also slows. We must not forget that the African lion is an important symbol, not only to many African cultural groups, not only as a national icon for many African countries, but its image is an icon to the majority of people around the world. Our planet will be impoverished if the African lion exists only as statues, pictures and stories. A Responsible Development Approach to Lion Conservation The conservation strategies of the past have not worked; having overseen an 80 – 90% decline in lion populations since 1975. We need a new approach; an approach that is relevant to the stakeholders of Africa’s wildlife. As an African founded and based organisation, we are ideally placed to be able to tackle African challenges with African solutions. ALERT is working to generate locally conceived, locally relevant and long term solutions through a process we term responsible development. By uniting with communities and policy makers, with conservation managers, researchers and business leaders, we

can make the best decisions for Africa’s people, its environment and its wildlife, in a holistic way. Together we combine our expertise, knowledge and funding to generate real, long-lasting, cost efficient and responsible solutions; solutions that are reflected in policy of national governments all the way through the structure of society to the actions of the individual. ALERT, and our partners, have been operating pilot programs of our responsible development approach in Zimbabwe for five years now, expanding into Zambia three years ago. As a result, other countries have shown interest in our approach, with several agreements having been signed or nearing completion. This approach is not designed to be a quick fix and requires time, cooperation and money if it is to succeed. African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program Given the necessary time frames to protect sufficient habitat to maintain viable lion populations, a question arises as to the potential source of lions that can be released into area when conditions allow. As such, to complement the responsible development approach, the four-stage African Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Program aims to create a source of disease free lions for reintroduction. We currently have two semi-wild-living lion prides of captive origin that have already been released through this program. The Ngamo pride, released first, now includes five second generation cubs that our research is showing have natural skills and behaviours comparable to any wild-born lion. It is these cubs that will be reintroduced into Africa’s parks and reserves when they are old enough.

“What you have done goes beyond Zimbabwe, it goes beyond us as a community, it teaches the rest of the world that for this planet to be complete we must live in harmony with nature. That’s where life is. So, I want to say thank you and I want to say this pilot project should not stop here, we should make sure that the rest of the continent enjoys these skills, the entrepreneurship that we have here - and this will be known as lion country, as a lion continent for ever and ever.” Francis Nhema Minister of the Environment Zimbabwe


Restoring lion habitat in Burundi The small country of Burundi has long had a strong relationship with the lion, its image appearing on the nation's coat of arms.

In November 2011 the first of many meetings and discussions took place with the intention of bringing the symbol of Burundi back to its landscape using ALERT's responsible development approach to conservation.

The kings of Burundi, prior to becoming a republic in 1966, were given a title of Ntare, Mwezi, Mutaga and Mwambutsa in rotation. Every fourth king had the title Ntare, which means lion. The Kingdom of Burundi was founded during the middle of the seventeenth century by Ntare Rushatsi; meaning “hairy lion�. The last king of Burundi was Ntare V Charles Ndizeye who reigned from 1 September until 28 November 1966.

On the afternoon of 13th July 2012 ALERT's Chief Operating Officer signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Republic of Burundi to jointly manage five protected areas within the country. These include the Ruvubu & Rusizi National Parks that, once restored, will include the reintroduction of lions.

Records of the last lion of Burundi however are lost in history, although rumours of the occasional feline visit from neighbouring Tanzania exist.

Ruvubu covers 508km2 in the east of the country. The Ruvubu river (meaning hippo) runs through the reserve of rolling hills and flood plains. Rusizi is in the north-west of the country and includes a beautiful delta that runs to the shores of Lake Tanganyika.


Since the signing of the MoU, ALERT has been working with a steering committee comprising members of ALERT, the Ministry of Water, Environment, Land Management & Urban Planning, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Posts and Tourism, the National Institute for the Environment and the Conservation of Nature and the Burundi National Tourism Office to to create a Convention of Implementation that lays out the specific plans to undertake the work agreed in the MoU. The final draft is now being reviewed and we expect to commence operations in 2013 following a signing ceremony.

In addition to an agreement covering the two national parks the signed MoU also includes the joint management of three natural reserves in the south-west of the country. These days Bururi, Vyanda and Kigwena natural reserves are fragmented from each other by development, but are home to an ecologically important population of chimpanzees. We have been asked, through our Conservation Centre for Wild Africa division, to jointly manage these reserves to better protect the remaining chimps, with a view to reestablishing links between them to ensure a more genetically viable chimpanzee population. ALERT is extremely proud and excited to have signed this agreement, and looks forward to working with the people of Burundi, and many other partners, as we move forward to restore the natural heritage of this beautiful country.


Leya


The Dambwa release pride At the end of 2011 the six females of the Dambwa pride were joined Zulu.

At the start of 2012 lionesses were adjusting

to life with a pride male. While all was well on the social front, they were clearly having a bit of a struggle dealing with his table manners. Like most males, Zulu is an especially aggressive eater and it would appear that the majority of kills being made were being dominated by this growing male. But the girls just couldn’t seem to shake him for long enough to hunt away from him and get a good meal for themselves. While it is typical for a male to spend much of his time away from the females, Zulu clearly knows which side his bread is buttered on and wasn’t letting them out of his sight! During the first half of the year the research team were seeing evidence that one of the youngest members of the Dambwa pride was coming to the fore of group. Rusha may be second youngest but she is starting to take her responsibilities very seriously. Something we noticed a while ago is that the older pride females are starting to respond more and more to Rusha’s movements around the release site, and Rusha’s rise through the pride’s ranks seem to have continued. Her social interactions are starting to look more like Kwandi’s as well, the traditional dominant female among the group, with more social interactions received than initiated. One explanation for this could be her size; compared to the rest of the females – she’s a monster – she’s even starting to catch up with Zulu in terms of sheer bulk! On the 18th May Rusha proved her boldness of character. When the research team arrived in the morning into the site with the lions so well concealed, lying down in the tall grass, we didn’t see them until we were only 5 to 10 metres away. After moving the vehicle a more respectful distance from them, Rusha made sure to stand guard from this noisy intrusion as her pride settled back down, before finding herself a shadier spot to rest in.

“A kill has a most disruptive influence on lion society”; Schaller, 1972 Zulu managed to disrupt the Dambwa society quite spectacularly on 8th June. Lionesses may be predisposed to be more efficient and inconspicuous hunters than males, but the boys can still respond to an opportunity when presented with one. Making their way through the site that afternoon a collection of vultures in a tree close to water pan 3 attracted the attention of the research team. The vultures’ focus was fixed firmly on the ground. Getting a little closer we found Zulu under the same tree, agitated and breathless, and clearly guarding something. As Zulu charged one vulture that chanced its luck something suspiciously impala-shaped rolled over in the tall grass. Returning, Zulu snatched the carcass up by the neck and hurried to a more concealed location about 20 metres away. None of the six females were in the area, confirmed through telemetry, which meant that despite the typical view of male lions being lazy hunters, or only getting involved when assistance is needed to help bring down large prey, Dambwa’s pride male is more than capable of hunting solo, thank you very much indeed. But he didn’t stay solo for long… As we sat listening to him tearing the impala apart the signals from the girls’ collars began to get louder, and a few minutes later six wide and wild-eyed lionesses came racing to water pan 3. They were easily able to track the scent first to the kill site and then to the spot where Zulu had moved the carcass. It was at this point that Dambwa society was comprehensively disrupted. Whilst we could only listen to the almighty uproar taking place in the grass it didn’t take a genius to work out that with 40kg of animal between seven lions, table manners were in short supply. The cooler weather in the region at this time of year also gave rise to greater activity in general from the lions, but more specifically play behaviours. Whilst frequency of play behaviour drops as they age, lionesses specifically are noted to take part in play behaviours into adulthood. The pride have been engaging in the month on long morning walks through the site, and inevitably the procession ends up turning into a game of chase. Rusha’s been seen putting some moves on Zulu, practicing her wrestling skills most notably on his face and in turn we’ve even seen a slightly mischievous side to Zulu. During one of the pride’s walkabouts we watched as Zulu scaled part of a tree which had split and broken during last month’s fire. He watched on as the ladies passed below before dropping from the air and wrestling Kwandi to the ground. Amongst other functions, play serves to strengthen bonds between group members… after the scrap over the impala, perhaps the pride needed to reinforce amicable relations!


As the year progressed we’ve seen an increase in the frequency with which Zulu is scent marking; a form of advertisement of his ownership of the territory. There’s also been a notable increase in the occurrence of a display called Flehman, whereby the lion grimaces so that a scent can pass over an olfactory organ in the roof of the mouth; this is often performed by males to assess reproductive status in females. Before Zulu can do anything about that, he needs the females to be receptive and in oestrus. On the 26th of July we found the pride scattered around waterpan 3. Not long after our arrival Loma began to call softly. Standing, Zulu went over to her and appeared to begin to mount her. No mating occurred and Loma wriggled out from under him before rubbing up against him with tail aloft and moving five metres. Zulu sniffed the spot where she had been resting and grimaced, passing scent over the Jacobson’s organ. Showing no further interest in her, and with Loma neither displaying any signs of oestrus or interest in Zulu, we can only assume he mis-read the signals. Early on the 3rd August, the pride was back at water pan 3, but not for long. Kela and Kwandi seemed distracted by something and, sitting with ears pricked and eyes scanning, they soon led the pride off to investigate. Coming to rest again at pan 2, Kwandi eventually picked up on something of interest in the Acacia boundary. Re-starting the move North, one by one the pride followed. Kela is often the last lion to move, so as everyone else filed past she remained rooted to the spot until Zulu moved up to her and was about to greet her. Changing his mind at the last moment he sort of half mounted her. Again, as with Loma the previous week there was no mating, but Kela certainly seemed happy with the attention as she greeted him before walking off to join the move, flicking her tail in the air repeatedly as she went. The morning of 21st September started off much the same as any other, with the pride gathered around pan 2. But as Zulu approached Kela, Kwandi, Temi and Loma it was Kela he zeroed in on, first being met with a slap before she rose and rubbed up against him; walking away tail aloft. With Zulu in pursuit they re-settled next to the water. It didn’t take long before Kela stood and this time approached Zulu and allowed him to mate her. After several days of the courting couple bringing all kinds of social unrest to the pride with their antics things settled down. On the 2nd October we found the pride resting under a favoured tree in Kariba; a perfect spot to conduct a playback experiment from. With speakers concealed 200m outside of the site away from the resting subjects the results were instantaneous with all seven bolting upright. Playbacks in the Serengeti in the 1990s showed lions can discern the number of intruders and also gender from the roars of others. Grinnell et al. (1995) used playbacks to assess the response of male lions specifically and found that two variables affected the response: the number of incoming males compared to their own group and the degree of cover. So having chosen a recording of a group larger than the Dambwa pride and male biased, we awaited their response. Being so heavily outnumbered, the pride’s response was hesitant, Zulu and Kela eventually led the investigation and one by one the others followed. But it was a nervous pride who arrived at the fence-line and remained scanning for over an hour after the vocalisations had ended. So when we tried our second experiment at the end of the month a more measured approach was taken. The pride had started off the morning by water pan 2 but resettled during the morning in Puku Dambo, close to the Acacia treeline. At 9:10 exactly the pride bolted to attention as the playback boomed out across the area. Kwandi rose to her feet immediately, and began to move forward stopping only briefly before bee-lining for the treeline. Next up was Zulu; having been sat about 20m apart before the playback started he began to veer to the right to join Kwandi, causing her to pause and look over before he joined her and they marched side by side into the boundary. Just before the pair entered the treeline, they stopped – and in perfect unison looked to their left before heading deeper into the thick vegetation. In December the pride male was in amorous mood again. This time his attentions were focussed on Rusha, who accepted Zulu’s advances and permitted him to mate her. As the pride march confidently into 2013 the team are looking forward to the sound of tiny paws in the Dambwa release site – and the start of a new chapter in this pride’s life.


A national lion action plan for Malawi In the 2006 IUCN published regional lion strategy for eastern and southern Africa lion range states were advised to create national plans for the management and conservation of lions within their borders. Through 2012 ALERT has been working with the Malawi Department of National Parks & Wildlife to define the national plan for lions in the country. In 2010 Malawi was estimated to have just 35 lions in 4 2

habitats encompassing 12,652km , 13% of the terrestrial surface of the country). A 2012 report however suggests that only 3 areas now contain only 29 lions. ALERT has been working with MDNPW to domesticate the regional strategy, identifying five key goals: (1) Ensure that ecologically functional lion and prey populations are conserved inside protected areas within Malawi; (2) Institute targeted lethal control of problem animals by DNPW as a replacement to indiscriminate retaliatory killing of lions by communities; (3)

Encourage new mechanisms for the Malawian

people to benefit from lion populations within Malawi; (4) Continually evaluate the policy’s performance based upon a system of adaptive management, by monitoring lion and prey numbers and distribution, and conflicts with local people, and; (5) Build the logistical and technical capacity within Malawi to achieve the above. A final draft of the plan has now been produced and is being distributed for final comment to stakeholders that were identified by MDNPW during our last workshop. We are looking forward to completion of this work as ALERT has been asked by DNPW to be integral to the implementation of the plan once complete.


Problem animal control On 26th January 2012 a team comprising Dr Ian Parsons, Lion Encounter Zambia / ALERT, Mukuni Big Five and the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) captured a wild lion that had been designated as a “problem animal” in the Nsongwe area of Livingstone. The lion was darted and moved to our secure facility in the Dambwa Forest. On 3rd February 2012 WildCru researcher Brent Stapelkamp arrived in Livingstone and successfully downloaded the data from the lion’s collar, confirming his identity as “Dynamite”, and his origin as being from the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Dynamite was born in 2002 and was originally in a coalition of seven when he left his natal pride. Over the following years that coalition was reduced to four, and three of those were killed in snares. As the sole remaining member of the coalition he took over the group’s name, Dynamite, with his core area around the Gwayi. He lost his pride tenure in 2011 to two younger males then disappeared, resurfacing in Livingstone on 22nd January 2012. As soon as the lion entered Zambia it became the property of the Republic of Zambia, under the jurisdiction of ZAWA. With the lion’s identity established ZAWA contacted the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) to discuss the next course of action. In May ZPWMA requested further information on the lion, which was provided, and in July ZPWMA sent a team of ecologists to Livingstone to see the lion and prepare reports to inform their decision making process. In late October ZAWA informed us that it was their intention to translocate Dynamite to Kafue National Park. On 6th November we were informed that ZAWA would be sending a team to Livingstone the following day to dart the lion for his journey to Kafue, where he would be released and monitored by existing teams operating in the Park. Lion Encounter / ALERT were thanked for having financed the capture of the lion and for his care during his time in captivity. Unfortunately we have since learned that Dynamite died in transit before he reached Kafue National Park. We have every faith that ZAWA did everything possible to safely translocate Dynamite and to save him once things deteriorated. We are saddened beyond words that Dynamite was not able to enjoy his final days in the wilds of Kafue. We have however shown that, with the right cooperation, designating a lion as a problem animal does not necessarily need to mean euthanasia.


The Ngamo release pride The big story within the pride of course has been the development of the five cubs born in the release site in 2011.

It is

these cubs that will be the first lions to be released into the wild from the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program, having been born and raised free of any human contact. As the Ngamo pride’s eldest cub reached her first birthday in January it was with no small amount of satisfaction that we were able to report she had been witnessed initiating her very own first hunts. All that hanging out with aunts Nala and Narnia appeared to be paying off. While she’d shown interest in prey prior to this, and attempted to get involved in the elder lionesses’ hunts, the 8th of January saw her actually leading the hunt on a herd of zebra. With a 60 metre gap to close down she rose to her feet and began to stalk towards them – her shoulders hunched high as Ashanti and Phyre monitored her progress. For one of her first efforts she didn’t do badly at all, getting to within 20 metres of the herd before not being able to contain her excitement any longer and bursting into a chase, getting as close as five metres. A very promising start, but perhaps one or two more lessons with the Ns wouldn’t hurt. On Friday 13th April AT1 sniffed the air delicately as she slowly rose to her paws. She fondly glanced back at her slumbering family then melted away into the grass. Shortly after Kwali awoke and out of mere curiosity it seemed, began to follow. After 15-20mins neither had returned to the group and our researcher’s suspicions grew. We followed an old 2 track but with little hope of finding such well camouflaged cats, when suddenly something black, white and red began to appear up ahead… a zebra kill! We drew the vehicle slowly closer and quickly spotted the familiar face of AT1 pop up from behind the carcass, covered in fresh blood and panting at a furious rate. Kwali was also seated close to the carcass catching her breath after what must have been a swift kill – the first we believe AT1 was directly involved in.


At the start of the year it was still only Kenge’s cubs that were making regular visits out of the den to interact with the rest of the pride. But on 11th January Ashanti appeared out of the grass, with her two cubs in tow. Immediately the important business of play started between the four youngest Ngamo cubs, with Ashanti’s younger two managing to hold their own very well against the slightly larger KE pair. See over for a montage of a year in the life of these cubs. It’s all about territory: the Ngamo pride’s defensive response is put to the test

As we all know the lion is the only truly social cat of the larger felid species. Research upon wild prides has suggested the reason as to why the modern day lion has evolved to become a social mammal is down to territory. Nearly all large felids will hold a territory during a certain period of their life time and this area will contain all the natural resources it needs to survive and thrive. However, holding onto a territory and its resources can be tricky. What if your neighbour, who might be bigger and stronger, decides they prefer your territory to theirs? Do you stand your ground and fight risking injury and even death, or do you run with your tail between your legs and hope to find another territory elsewhere? It would appear the modern day lions' ancestors were faced with such a dilemma. Over time those lions that fought alone and roamed alone did not survive but those that began to team up did. The complexities of behavioural evolution and the effects of environmental pressures eventually led to the formation of prides. Those lions that defended a territory together were far more likely to retain that territory and consequently the resources contained within it. Those lions that are unable to claim a territory and defend it successfully are less likely to survive and breed successfully, so having a chum really does count! The most common territorial behaviour lions exhibit is of course, roaring. This unique and infamous vocalization advertises a pride's territory and warns others to stay away. Here in Ngamo however the lions are living a fairly easygoing life not having to worry about intruders threatening their territory. We often hear the pride roaring in response to other lions at Antelope Park but this appears to be more a habituated response than truly territorial. The Ngamo lions may even consider those other lions as distant pride members within their territory. It is a vital component of cub development that they understand the importance of territorial defence. Female cubs will begin to actively partake in territorial defence from just 8 months of age alongside their mothers and aunts. The cubs born in Ngamo will not encounter other lions until Stage 4 perhaps, but it is crucial they are aware of what it means to protect your home! It was decided then that our research team should begin to carry out a playback study. With the research vehicle within the release site with the pride, a second vehicle was parked outside the site behind a thicket c. 200m from the fence line. The sun began to sink and air began to lift; perfect roaring conditions. However light was fading and rigging up the speakers was taking some time. By Murphy’s Law the pride began to move off out of sight before the playback could be started and we daren’t follow for fear of the research vehicle muffling the playback. We had no choice by the time Milo disappeared along Route 66 and began to slowly follow. Fortunately just then the speakers were switched on and the first play back (of 1 male and 4 females) was broadcast. The playback started out rather softly and neither our researcher, PhD student nor volunteers could hear the roars…but the lions did. As the roaring from the speakers increased more pride members’ ears twitched and all began to turn back. Suddenly Milo shot like a raging bull towards the sound of these foolish intruders. He bellowed with all his might in response and vanished into the mopane woodland. The females began to follow quickly, though not roaring, with AT1 taking a central position amongst the group. Narnia lagged behind as Kenge called to the younger cubs and began to lead them off elsewhere, to safety. A second playback was sounded sending Milo into a further territorial spin before we sent the speakers back to camp. We observed Milo pacing the area from which the roaring was heard and frequently roaring to warn those unknown lions: ‘dare thee not enter!’ This result was more than what we ever hoped to observe. The Ngamo pride, despite having never encountered wild lions, reacted exactly as any wild pride would; Milo running to the prides defence, the females following in pursuit, the oldest cub partaking in defence and the mothers leading the younger cubs to safety. Should there ever be real intruders in the Ngamo pride’s territory they may find themselves wishing they had kept quiet!


A celebration of KE3, KE4, AS4 and AS5


Getting the message out A significant element of our work is about informing people of the conservation status and needs for the African lion.

In

March we launched the new ALERT web site and have received fantastic feedback on the design and content. We aim to make the site the most comprehensive resource about lions anywhere on the web. Since its launch we have seen visits to the site quadruple, with over 2.5 million hits over the year. Thanks to a recently awarded Google Adwords grant of $10,000 per month we expect to see these figures rise significantly in 2013. The TV series “Lion Country” continues to air around the world, however, throughout 2012 we have been busy filming a new series for Animal Planet to air in 2013. The series, currently called “Roaring with Pride” follows the lives of the Ngamo release pride for a year, documenting the success of the pride and the development of their five cubs. Talks are already underway for a second series including a move to 3D. ALERT has also contributed to a variety of print and on-line media, as well as films for TV, both as relates to our work, but also discussing issues in lion conservation. These have included the Smithsonian, First Class Magazine, The KZN Herald, and Getaway . In June we launched the world’s first interactive app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad to raise awareness for lions. The app was developed by The Pavement at no cost to the charity and is available via iTunes. In August an exhibition entitled “Africa Needs Lions” of lion images by renowned wildlife photographer Chris Weston took place in Leeds. ALERT’s patron Sir Ranulph Fiennes joined us for this special event that aimed to raise awareness of and funding for conservation of lions. We would like to express our thanks to Sir Ran and to the many people and organizations that sponsored and attended the event.

ALERT in the USA In October ALERT was awarded its 501(c)3 status as a public charity, and ALERT USA was born. as a charity in four countries: African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (UK) 39 St. James’s Place, London, SW1A 1NS UK Charity Commission Number 1120572 African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (USA) 1725 Clay Street Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94109-8805 501(c)3 status with EIN: 45-3782687 Public charity status: 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (Zambia) 3/J/297A Leopards Hill Road, P.O. Box 32322, Lusaka Zambia Charity Registration Number ORS/102/35/3583 African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (Zimbabwe) c/o Coghlan, Welsh & Guest, 3rd Floor, Executive Chambers 16 George Silundika Avenue, Harare Zimbabwe Protocol No 68 - MA82/2008

ALERT is now registered


In July we assisted our partners Greenpop with their “Trees for Zambia� program that saw over 4,000 trees planted in three weeks. Alongside this effort a series of workshops was undertaken with farmers, rural villagers and schools to develop a culture of planting trees, creating awareness of the important role trees play in ensuring food security and to promote conservation farming methods. The event will be repeated in 2013.


Conserving a wild Africa We don’t just focus on lions of course.

There are many other species that make up a functioning ecosystem, so here

are a few stories from the year on how we have been conserving a wild Africa for all species. Elephants: Every year, the seasonal migrations of the region’s elephant populations creates an influx of breeding herds and bachelor groups to Zambia’s Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, with plenty of familiar faces returning to take advantage of the life-giving waters provided by the Zambezi River. This on-going program has continued in 2012 to collect valuable information on behalf of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) on elephant population dynamics, spatial and temporal use of the Park and their foraging behaviour. Game Counts: We have continued to undertake game counts in the Zambezi National Park and have also contributed to the Mana Pool and Hwange Game Counts on behalf of the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA). Sable: Both funding and logistical assistance has been provided for a study of sable antelope. The study is a comparison of habitat use between hunting zones and national parks. The study is being conducted by the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority and the University of Zimbabwe. Waterhole Restoration: A borehole within the Zambezi National Park was renovated and a pump provided. Water now spills again on to the Chamadonda vlei site 3 assisting ZPWMA to meet its obligations under the World Heritage Convention.


Community action At all our project sites we work closely with our local communities to create the motivation to support our conservation efforts. Here is just a selection of our achievements in 2012: Mkoba 4 Primary School: A relationship was founded with the special needs class of 19 children in February 2012. As a result of greater one-on-one teaching time the children’s social skills and English have improved. In March desks were provided to the class, they were previously the only class at the school that had to write on chairs / their laps. Mickey Mouse Preschool: Two new classrooms were completed in May to provide a safe learning environment for the school’s 192 children that had previously had just one classroom. Throughout the year we have supported the teachers in class and caring for the children. Midlands Children Hope Centre: We have supported the Centre in a variety of ways throughout the year – buying groceries to feed the children, paying the rent of the centre itself, paying the children’s school fees and buying a 5000 litre water tank for the nearby school that the children attend. Finance was provided to establish three income generating programs for the Centre to help produce a sustainable income to fund the future needs of the Centre. New furniture has been provided and throughout the year we have assisted the staff in caring for the children, including conservation education visits to Antelope Park. A drop in centre was established during the year whereby street kids are invited for a nutritional meal. The children are provided counselling, and where possible, family tracing and reunification. Land has been donated to the Centre that will enable it to expand its operation, care for more children and reduce its operational costs. A $50,000 donations has been received to construct the new building and work has already started. Mtapa Polyclinic: We have provided assistance to the home care department by accompanying the nurse and helping with her various tasks in the homes, such as taking blood pressure, carrying her resources, documenting cases. The nurse is unable to make these visits alone, and with no other staff at the clinic that can accompany her, our involvement is often the sole means for the home care service to be provided. Mkoba 4 Polyclinic: Medical supplies and equipment have been provided to increase the effectiveness of this clinic’s work in the community. We have joined the clinic’s staff in various national healthcare campaigns including national immunisations for polio, measles and Vitamin A in June, and the first national deworming programme in October. Hopeful Life Preschool: Funding has been provided to the school to commence and income generating program to help fund the operational needs of the school. We continue to assist teachers educate and care for the children. “Through Antelope Park’s overseas volunteers programme we have managed to come across various volunteers who developed a heart for the children we assist. They have adopted our organisation and fundraise on our behalf; surely this is one of the greatest achievements. One of the most telling impacts of the donations coming through from the volunteers is the security of our orphans specifically on their educational needs, groceries, payment of monthly bills and setting up and support of income generating projects.” Question Ndou- Director of MCHC “Renovations were done last year which we will continue to remember and quite a number of equipment including BP machines and baby heart rate monitor machines were donated this year. Volunteers particularly assisted during days of health campaigns including the national deworming in preschools and schools. We are very happy with Antelope Park volunteers and hope that the program will continue. We wish Antelope Park all the best.” Daniel ChagwedaNurse in Charge at Mkoba Polyclinic


On 6th December the ALERT Education Centre was officially opened by Zimbabwe Minister for Education, the Honourable Senator David Coltart. The centre is the first educational facility of its kind in the country, catering for local school children in and around Gweru city. Free lessons in conservation education, basic life skills as well as health and nutrition, which are not available anywhere else in the current education system, will be provided for children in Grades 6 and 7 (11-12 years old) along with clubs and workshops. There will be two classes each day, the children attending after-school lessons, or once a week as part of their usual learning in collaboration with their school’s headmaster and teacher. Holiday clubs will be held for children unable to access the AEC during term time and, in time, adults will also benefit through a planned programme of free classes designed to develop practical work skills.


Thanks to Kelly Langdon for creating these amazing murals


“We’ve been used to local lodges dropping in and paying us a visit when they have guests who want to experience school visits. It’s so great to have a project wanting to help us develop the school, rather than just visit it. Please bring more and more volunteers – we very much enjoy working with them!” Skye, Twabuka Community School Conservation Education: All of our programs conduct conservation education programs, however earlier in the year we decided to try a new approach. As a result, the Zambezi Lions football team was launched and soon kitted out with new AFRICA NEEDS LIONS gear. The program aims to spread the message about why wildlife is important, but the message is passed on by the team themselves. At each match the Lions undertake a conservation education class with their opposing team, as well as undertaking specific environmental action. In October the team went out into their community, sporting their kit, and undertook a clean-up campaign. The team were joined on their march through town by many people. The initiative has proven to be a great success, and the team have had a highly successful footballing season. Go Lions!

Monde School: The school received a new ablution block as well as printers, ink and paper to produce educational materials for the children. Nutrition Garden: There are many AIDS sufferers within the Monde community. Thanks to our assistance they now have a garden in which they can grow nutritional food and save money on their monthly bills. An irrigation system was also installed to make tending to the garden easier.

ALERT would like to give our grateful thanks to the many volunteers who have given both their time and money to help finance our various community programs close to our conservation programs.


Thank you ALERT would not be able to undertake its work without the support and funding provided by our commercial partners and the many individuals donors and fundraisers. The list is too long to publish here, but we thank you all who have contributed. We would however like to mention and give special thanks to the following individuals and organizations due to the extent of their support:

Tomasso Bro Ennio Cadau Michaela Channings Ingrid Dalland Annette Debenham Rhian Evans Sandra Furnes Julie Gronli Zick Kolala Cephas Maingaila Jennifer McCay Rebecca McDowell Midlands Children Project (Norway) On The Go Tours The Pavement Lance Roy Anne Marie Skodje Shelley Tomkins Esther von Rohr Reece Walsh Chris Weston X-Plore (Norway)


We look forward to 2013 and the opportunities it will bring for us to benefit Africa’s people, its environment and its wildlife.


Financial Information Our financial position at the end of 2012 is the strongest in the charity’s history. Here we present the consolidated accounts of ALERT UK, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe, stated in British Pound Stirling (£) for the year ending 31st December 2012. Total income increased to £271,427 (2011: £264,484). Most of the increase is attributed to improvements in merchandising and commercial programs such as the internship program. Cost of Fundraising

Total Funds Raised In 2012 £54,980 was spent to generate income of £271,427. Of that amount £31,928 were the costs of operating our commercial programs (visitor, volunteer, facilitated research and internship programs), and £23,052 were the costs of fundraising initiatives (including costs associated with merchandise sales and holding an event). For each £1 invested in fundraising we raised £4.94.

Net income for 2012 after fundraising costs was £216,448 (2011: £212,674) of which £198,166 was utilized during the year.

£169,420 (85%) was spent on projects, equalling 100% of donations received being used to advance projects. Spending of Utilized Income Consolidated Statement of Financial Position Cash and cash equivalents Debtors Prepayments Fixed assets (net of accumulated depreciation) Total assets Creditors & Deferred Income Net Assets

Consolidated Statement of Activities

2012 32,387 47,368 3,600 61,493 144,848

2011 8,991 25,890 1,750 68,877 105,508

37,158

16,099

107,690

89,409

Notes: (i) Sales comprise income from merchandising, sponsorship and membership programs and event income. (ii) Commercial programs income includes income from internship, volunteer, facilitated research and guest programs.

Incoming resources Donations Sales Commercial programs Other income Total incoming resources

2012 169,262 30,870 67,894 3,401 271,427

2011 183,394 15,935 56,502 8,653 264,484

Resources Expended Project costs Fundraising costs Costs of operating commercial programs Governance costs Depreciation Other costs Total resources expended

2012 169,420 23,052 31,928 21,148 7,175 423 253,146

2011 148,044 23,583 28,252 19,136 2,501 208 221,724

Net movement of funds

18,281

42,760

Funds at 1st January

89,409

46,649

107,690

89,409

Funds at 31st December


Annual_Report_2012