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    Salima, Malawi
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    Welcome To Wildlife Action Group Malawi

    The Wildlife Action Group (WAG) is an NGO, who co-manage two governmental protected areas Thuma Forest Reserve and Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve which are located in the Central Region of Malawi between Lilongwe and Lake Malawi on the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. Together the two forest reserves cover an area of app. 500 km².
  1. Hi Matt, I'm going to in Malawi for the bulk of the UK summer so if you want to send me an interview I can see if our manager can do it in the summer.
  2. Hi all. I have been lucky enough to secure a very small grant to conduct a camera trap based survey of Thuma Forest Reserve. The first ever. I hope to gauge distribution of meso carnivores and other cryptic species. I do however need to make the grant go a long way in order to get a viable sample size. Can anyone suggest a UK source which could possibly offer discounts or low cost bushnell traps? I'm looking at sourcing another 10 traps but I doubt I will manage that from this grant. Thanks Safaritalkers
  3. I have wondered if anyone has considered electric shock collars to target problem elephants which crop raid, like an extension of geo fencing. It has worked to prevent wolves targeting livestock. There are obvious ethical concerns but the alternatives are no more ethical.
  4. Gorgeous birds, number 2 after the SG hornbill for me.
  5. I aim to go over in a few months, until then all my camera trap footage is UK fauna. Please do spread he word to pick up support.
  6. I have to apologise for the vandalism to my grammar my autocorrect has carried out on previous posts!
  7. http://www.wag-malawi.org/nav/news/newsletter/2012/WAG%20Nov%202012.pdf My apologies, here it is.
  8. I am planning on conducting the 1st camera trap survey of Thuma Forest. The aim of the research is to investigate the differences in meso/large carnivore diversity between encroached and unencroached areas. We have conducted spoor and scat based mammal surveys previously but this will be the first formal research. 2012 has been an up and down year, some new donors but an increase in ivory poaching has taken up the majority of our time but my gut feeling is there is a lot in the forest which we just don't know about and this is not only very exciting but also an opportunity to identify new conservation priorities within our forests. We also intend to trial cyber tracker as a means of low dost digital mapping of poaching activity and wildIife distributions. hope to share the images we obtain with you throughout the Summer of 2013 but also put out a request for anyone who could support this with an equipment donation, if anyone knows of someone who would be in a position to donate a camera trap or other relevant equipment. The link below contains our most recent newsletter including an Xmas wish list should anyone be in a position to help. Safaritalk has long been a great supporter of our work, in facy it was through Safaritalk that i 1st became aware of WAG Malawi in 2009 and I'd like to thank you all for that. John
  9. While not a rhino organisation but a general conservation organisation we face many of the same problems as rhino orgs given that elephants are our flagship. We are a small grassroots NGO and we battle for private donations although I would like to think that we are different from the army of charities because we conserve and manage wild habitat for conservation rather than raising funds to be drip fed into projects. Our staff are 1 field manager and a team of anti poaching scouts, that's it. I fulfil my role voluntarily. We do have to compete with large charities for funding but the one guarantee I can give is every penny goes directly to the ground. I guess it's for you to decide if our public info gives the public confidence in this regard. The simple fact is if we were not doing our work Thuma Forest and all of its wildlife would have been gone a decade ago. I think I'll keep my personal views on rhino conservation for my own account and not WAGs.
  10. I should point out our request for old android smartphones was an error it is actually windows based or old PDA's. this is not due to gadget vanity! We are looking to trial CYBERTRACKER which runs on these devices to digitally map poaching activity and wildlife. Unfortunately at the moment it omlynruns I windows based. The website suggests Samsung Omnia SGH-i900 HTC Touch Diamond HTC TyTN II smartphone HP iPAQ hw 6500 Series Mobile Messenger If you are interested in this sort of thing check their website. I guess you could use it to track your own wildlife viewings on safari. http://cybertracker.org/
  11. Hi Safaritalkers. An update on WAG Malawis work over the past 6 months. No surprise here but it's been an up and down mid 2012 . We received funding to almost double our anti poaching team from the Abraham Foundation in the USA. This has been wonderful as many funding bodies do not pay for wages yet manpower is what we need. The key challenge now is recruiting reliable and honest scouts and kitting them out as we don't have. Funding for that. We have continued to extend our electric fence to prevent elephants wandering out of the reserve and crop raiding but this is increasing due to encroachment in other areas of the forest. We have had a lot of arrests which is great, the challenge is getting the, to prosecution and we have been working with the local magistrate to bypass corrupt police officers. We have also been working much more closely with village chiefs to implement traditional justice as this often has more impact than "western justice" thighs includes livestock fines and social stigma. We did have 3 scouts injured in a fire fight with armed poachers in September and the arrests as a result of this led to a retaliatory attack on our base camp during which we wear ransacked, losing almost all of our equipment. Last week we arrested a woman peddling ivory. So we have taken a big hit after the robbery. We have published our 2013 wish list so if anyone can or knows anyone who can help you would be making a meaningful contribution. We are planning to carry out a camera trap survey in 2013 as we still don't have a clear idea as to the mammal diversity but this is reliant on having enough camera traps so if anyone can donate a trap, we aim to get to about 15. 2013 WISH LIST Six scouts to be sponsored for next year 40 army uniforms – army trousers, army shirts, army backpack packs, sleeping bags,army rain jackets, Good quality torches with rechargeable batteries Laptop x 2 with long life battery External drive to store our back ups Oven gloves x 4 Good quality pots and pans Night vision goggles Digital camcorder Digital camera with good lens (OR: DSLR with good HD recording) Night camera to record animals (camera trap) Good quality second hand mobile phones (quad band) x 30(these are needed for fence attendants, scouts, informers etc (unlocked if poss) Walkie talkies good quality Power drill rechargeable battery Solar chargers for phones for on patrol 4 ANDROID PHONES FOR NEW GPS USE A large plastic water tank and fittings Very long water hose to assist with filling our showers etc All the best from WAG Malawi.
  12. The Wildlife Action Group is looking for 300 special people to join The 300 CLUB - by donating just 3 £, Dollars or EURO each to help protect the last of Malawi's wild elephants in their natural habitat. One lucky winner will get to name an Elephant at Thuma Forest Reserve, Malawi. (Every person who donates will have their name appear in the Wildlife Action Group Hall of Fame - and all for the price of a sandwich!) Wildlife Action Group promises that 100% of your donation will go to the employment of a local Malawian man who will be part of an already established team who patrol the forest protecting elephants and other wildlife from poachers. The more scouts who can patrol the forest, the more poaching is reduced and the more elephants are saved. He needs training, kit and a simple salary to support his family in terms of food, clothes, medicine and education. So your donation as part of the 300 CLUB, will help support hard working Malawian people as well as protecting the forest and all its flora and fauna. The 300 club will be a regular campaign which will not only secure important donations but also give individual credit to those who donate (should they wish to be credited). We will publish a montage of photos of the donors (should they provide one) until the next 300 club campaign. I hope many of you will take this campaign to your hearts and if you are unable to donate yourselves then tell a friend about us. Any comments, advice or criticism welcomed!! http://www.wag-malawi.org/nav/donate/club300.html
  13. In terms of items, basically any army surplus type equipment. Obviously dull colours! Anything which is of an advantage in the field, compass, whistles, boots, socks, general clothing, tents (small and very portable). We are in need of a decent GPS or two. We have just begun construction on a new stretch of electric fencing around some of the communities. I know this is an increasingly controversial proactice but at this point necessity dictates a requirement for physical barriers to limit human conflict. I know most Safaritalkers are seasoned Africa-philes so understand the type of kit which is necessary out in the field. Not to lay it on too thick but the kindness of others has kept us going for 15 years! Just got news of an ele spotted with a heavy infection, possibly from a snare injury so trying to locate it at the moment.
  14. Hi everyone at ST. Much of my own information is contained in the above posts. I have to apologise for a lack of posts I have been very busy with work for WAG and my day job in recent months but I hope this will lead to a more concerted effort to post and raise awareness on our work in Malawi. I have recently been in contact with a number of "professional" fundraisers if I can use that term who all convey the same unfortunate message, they have have never known the times to be so tough. Increased competition for funding is leaving small grassroots conservation projects like ourselves in tough situations but all is not bad. We have made some significant progress recently. Our field team are WAG Malawi, I take no credit for any of the work going on in Malawi although I hope to get over there soon. I feel uneasy stating this as a cause for celebration but due to the pressures we face it is indeed one, for the 1st time in 15 years our anti poaching scouts are armed. The Dept of National Parks & Wildlife have agreed to allow our scouts to carry weapons against poachers. This is after some of our scouts received their forst formal training in the governments game ranger programe so that is a big step forward (as much as we would prefer not to require firearms). Subsistence poachers are not too much of an immediat ethreat, although they are often aggressive but we have had 2 groups (possibly 2 of the same party) of armed poachers present on reserve this Winter (Malawi winter). The real reason for this post is to highlight a small campaing we are running to equip our anti poaching efforts. For the next 29 days any donation given will be matched by an anonymous donor and also if we meet the $4200 mark we will be awarded a permanent fundraising spot on Global Giving. I know anyone affiliatted with large multi national NGO's may scoff at this but it would make a big difference to us.The link is below and I plan on being more active on ST from now on with updates. I do contribute with my personal username above but I do need to add that my personal views may not be those of WAG all of the time So please at least check us out, mention us to a friend, tweet us, check us out on facebook and if you can spare a few dollars, pounds, Euros or Rand every penny can help. As many of you are seasoned safari go-ers I would also implore you to consider Malawi as an alternative to the big boys of the safari world. We run Thuma Forest which is a very rustic and genuine African experience but other parks in the country are also making good progress in regards to tourism ventures. Matt, I apologise I missed your previous post in this thread regarding field kit. Indeed we do struggle for basics like boot polish, boots, knives torches, tents, sleeping bags etc. All the things we would usually buy without much of a second thought. Most recently we put out an SOS for anyone who could donate a couple of battery chargers and rechargeable batteries. If you think the UK based Safaritalkers would be interested in supporting us in such a way I can request an up to date SOS list. I hope I have not rambled on too much and our work is of interest to all of the Safari Talkers. Should you have the means to afford us a dontation our Global Giving campaign is below http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/protecting-african-elephants/
  15. Registered as an NGO. Im UK based but spent the summer of 2010 out there and have been raising awareness, etc since. Did a lot of community outreach. The reserve was extended in 07 when we took over Dedza Salima which is contiguous with Thuma our original forest reserve which doubled the area and perimeter we have to manage and police. We have a number of villages surrounding us, some within 10m of our boundary. We suffer from subsistence poaching, organised ivory poaching and illegal bamboo cutting & charcoa burning. The bamboo cutting and charcoal burning is facilitating the elephants crop raiding which is the most direct stimullus for antagonism from the communities as they attack the elephnts and the elephants defend themselvs. In 2011 we got funding to have some of our scout team formally trained by the department of national parks and wildlife which is a huge step forward. The main aim for 2012 is to get funding together for an extension to the existing stretch of 12km electric fence which goes someway to alleviating the crop raiding but recently the ele's have been walling around it and then the fence has acted as a barrier to them returning when the locals and wildlife officer intervene. We had a fantastic new manager take over in 2010, Lynn Clifford who has done an amazing job in difficult circumstances, the main camp has been ransacked twice in the last year.

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