WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT PROJECTS
HEY SHAZ, WE STILL NEED AN INTRODUCTION TO THIS SECTION/THE PROJECTS: WHY MA’S UNDERSTANDING AND BELIEFS ABOUT SUPPORTING AND WORKING WITH LOCAL FAUNA AND FLORA ETC AS WELL AS FULL DETAILED WRITE UPS FOR PDFS (SEE COMMUNITY PROJECT PAGE).
Southern Ground Hornbill Research Project, Matobo Hills
The Southern Ground Hornbill Research project is dedicated to the long-term conservation of this iconic bird in Zimbabwe, through research on the bird’s breeding ecology, education about its importance and sustained action to preserve its habitat.
This has become a flagship conservation project in the Matobo Hills area, focusing as it does on a culturally and ecologically important bird as a vehicle to address broader aims of environmental conservation.
In short, the aims of the project are:
• To monitor Southern Ground Hornbill breeding and other activity over a period of time not less than five years
• To investigate variables relating to nest choice and construction, nest tenure, diet, territory size, breeding success, interaction with other bird species and human-bird interactions.
• To understand how interventions to enhance population breeding success such as providing artificial nests where necessary and collecting and hand-rearing the second chick (which often dies of starvation) for later release into areas where they are currently locally extinct. This is culturally sensitive.
• To reestablish woodland areas by encouraging communities to set up indigenous nurseries and managing these woodland areas for recreating nesting habitat for the birds in the long term future.
• To create an understanding in the rural schools and communities of the Matobo area of the benefits of conservation with the emphasis on the preservation of the Ground Hornbill.
• To publicise research and conservation results in scientific and popular publications
• To maintain a regular, long-term contribution to the socio-economic development of Matobo rural communities
The Trust supports several local schools in various ways including repairs to infrastructure, donations of essential educational materials and helping with lessons on the environment. Visitors are normally taken to visit the schools and it is possible to arrange a day out on fieldwork, looking for the birds, checking on nests, and recording data with no more than four people if enough notice is given.