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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe

MAY 2013 Newsletter

Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe [WEZ] formerly Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe – For Environmental Awareness –

Mashonaland Branch

Mashonaland Committee Members     
Isaiah Nyakusendwa [Chair]  0712 400 506
Chris Magadza [Vice Chair]  0775 525 999
Renee Lopes                                       0772 253 739
Portia Chifamba                       0772 967 045
Rob van Vuuren                     0772 331 612

Irene Sharp is not a member of the Committee but can be contacted on the Mashonaland Branch number 747648
The Branch would like to thank the Mukuvisi Woodland Association for allowing us to use the Education Centre free of charge for our talks, their staff for assisting in setting things up and clearing and Simon Pitt, the Chair, for the use of his printer.
Summaries of last two talks

Professor Chris Magadza’s talk on Tsetse Flies
The reproduction cycle of the tsetse fly is slow, compared to many insects, as the females only lay one egg which is incubated for about nine days after which the larva burrows into the ground and pupates. Approximately one month later it emerges as an adult fly.
The most effective way of eradicating the flies is ground spraying with DDT, which is now unacceptable world-wide. The other being the use of odour-baited traps, especially in rough terrain. There were many traps, approximately 1 km. apart, set over a vast area in the Zambezi Valley but these have not been maintained. The use of sterilising the male fly has been tested and used but is expensive and labour intensive.
Meg Cumming’s Talk on Spiders
Meg had many slides to show on the different spiders, some of the over 300 species she had found in their Highlands garden, and some from overseas, as well as their web construction. Some fairly insignificant looking, some coloured and some variegated. Meg stressed the importance of spiders in the food chain and mentioned that there is an international drive to use spiders as a biological pest control. We were also shown the many uses of their silk – bullet proofs vests, on space vehicles and parachutes are some of them. Spider silk is stronger than any man made material.

29th June       Mike Smolke on Bees
At the Mukuvisi Education Centre at 14:00 for 14:30

27th July         Outing to Twala Trust at Arcturus. This is the `new’ Bally Vaunghan
Animal Sanctuary. This will be an all day event. Entrance is $5.00 per person. Members should aim to be there by 10:00.
There are ablution blocks, and picnic sites, but please bring your own refreshments and lunch. Sarah Carter will show us around – they are not yet open to the public so we will be the first – and talk about how she and her staff made the daunting move.
Take the Arcturus Road past Lafarge Cement. It becomes s strip road, passing a new housing development on the right. After a long uphill, turn right into Gardiner Road for 8 km., turn left into Warton Drive. Twala Trust is 1.2km down on the right. It is a pan handle – they are the cream stone gate posts at the bottom. There will be a sign on Warton Drive indicating where to turn. 


31st August    Ben Vermulen on Snakes in Zimbabwe
At the Mukuvisi Education Centre at 14:00 for 14:30
28 September           Paul Teasdale from Sustainable Solutions
At the Mukuvisi Education Centre at 14:00 for 14:30

26 October     Petrus Eramus on Butterflies
At the Mukuvisi Education Centre at 14:00 for 14:30

30 November  Matthew Mitchell on Termites
At the Mukuvisi Education Centre at 14:00 for 14:30

MANA GAME COUNT                    14TH – 15TH SEPTEMBER 2013

HWANGE GAME COUNT             18TH – 22ND SEPTEMBER 2013
Primary Schools Quiz 2013
This year’s Mashonaland Preliminary Rounds will be held at St. George’s and Arundel [to be confirmed] on the 21st September with our Finals Round on the 5th October at Hellenic. Some members have already said they can help but we will need some more volunteers as scorers, time keepers and judges.

Discount on Accommodation
Antelope Park has offered members of WEZ a 15% discount on accommodation when staying in the Park. Meals and activities are already discounted so the discount only applies to accommodation. Members will need to have an up-to-date membership card. Details of the booking details, activities and accommodation will be sent to members on request.

Visit to Mana Pools in April
Our Committee Member, Rob van Vuuren, his daughter and friend decided to spend a few days at Mana pools during the weekend of the 20th April.

Initially hesitant to travel to Mana at this time of the year because the vegetation would be thick and lush making animal sightings more difficult the trip went ahead and it was simply so worthwhile and wonderful to experience Mana in its different form. There were only four other camp sites occupied at Nyamepi. All campers were kept awake for most of the night during our first night because of a territorial battle between groups of hyena adding to the usual nocturnal sounds at Mana.

Most animal species were seen including a small pride of lion as well as a relatively small buffalo herd. Not seen were eland, wild dog, leopard and cheetah. The birdlife was incredible and fishing excellent, particularly the bream fishing.

New to us was the experience shared by a few other campers of baboons ripping tents. Once they have been through items in the ten they do a final check and leave behind the expected mess. None of the tents `visited’ had any food items in them. We had no choice but to engage a camp guard on our last day. Chatting to the Parks guys they would welcome any positive suggestions to ring this annoying baboon habit to an end.

We have learnt that the Magic of Mana can be experience even with thick and green bush, tall grass and plenty of available water.


SUBSCRIPTIONS ARE     ORDINARY               $50     PENSIONERS         $30    
STUDENTS             $10     EDUCATION            $20
CORPORATE          $100   OVERSEAS              $50

Ordinary and Pensioners subscription payments may be staggered.


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