To increases awareness of wildlife in Zimbabwe by means of environmental education
The Southern Miombo (Brachystegia) Woodland ecoregion is distributed in several portions across the Central African Plateau. It covers central Zimbabwe and extends into Mozambique, southern Zambia and Malawi. The landscape is flat or gently undulating, with numerous inselbergs. Miombo woodland mixes with mopane, acacias and smaller wetlands to provide habitat for a wide variety of animals, including endangered and charismatic mammals such as wild dog, cheetah , lion, leopard, African elephant,b lack and white rhinos , common zebra, giraffe , sable and roan antelope. While a number of protected areas e.g. the easily accessible Lake Chivero Game Park and Lake Mutirikwe National Park - fall within this ecoregion, management and resources are sometimes lacking. Habitat fragmentation and poaching for meat, ivory and rhino horn remain persistent problems.
Sundance Wildlife Park is a 2000 ha area of miombo woodland and acacia savanna about 60 kms west of Harare. The park is located in a region where wild animals were losing their habitat, children had no environmental education, and the only wild animals they had ever set eyes on where those that were being brought home dead poached by their parents and relatives. There was thus dire need to introduce these children to their environment and wildlife.
At least 15 different species of mammals, including leopard and spotted hyena, 250 species of birds and 20 species of reptiles are currently known to exist in the reserve. Fauna and flora are being surveyed by an employed biologist and biology students from Harare University and there are daily anti-poaching patrols. The costs for the measures against poaching, which is stilla major problem, amount to 1,250 EUROS per month. Once the poaching, has been stopped it is planned to reintroduce a number of mammalian species, which previously existed in the area, such as common zebra, giraffe, sable, roan and some other antelopes.
The primary goal of Sundance is bringing children into close contact with nature and communicating to them the importance of conservation of wildlife and sustainable use of natural resources. Being easily reached from the country's capital, Harare, the park can be visited by children from all parts of Zimbabwe. The park also works together with Community leaders to address social and environmental problems such as unemployment, water shortages, illegal hunting and deforestation. Ultimately the park wants to encourage active caring for the environment and develop healthy conservation values in local communities, to inspire an appreciation of emotional attachment to the beauty of nature, to instil an appreciation in children and local communities of the ecological and economic values of wildlife, and to prepare the children to be more responsible when it is their time as adults, to care for the animals.
WAZA Conservation Project 05004 is carried out by the Sundance Wildlife Park Organisation, supported by Tierpark Hellabrunn (Munich Zoo), and in cooperation with the Painted Dog Conservation Project.
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