Life in the bush can be a harsh, and when wild animals come into contact with people the animals can often come off second best. Seeing the ill or injured wildlife in their local area motivated a group of residents to get together to help and they created the Kariba Animal Welfare Fund Trust (KAWFT). At its heart are two remarkable women, Debbie Ottman and Sonya MacMaster. They voluntarily and tirelessly organise, fundraise, monitor and enable this charity to help wildlife, or any animal in need. The most amazing story I heard about was how they organised and successfully undertook the removal of a snare from an elephant calf. A mind boggling undertaking involving helicopters and many experts dedicated to helping this baby.
KAWFT employs a team of five committed scouts who carry out daily snare and welfare sweeps with a National Parks Ranger. Monitoring animals of concern and reporting concerns to National Parks. A tangible result of their hard work is that they are now finding as many snares in a month as they used to in one day. KWAFT has strong local support and when they can people with needed skill sets will volunteer their time to help and locals and tourists know who to phone to report an animal they are concerned about.
I was very lucky to be allowed to get involved in a zebra intervention. A stallion nicknamed ‘Faceboy” was being monitored due to his swollen face. Unfortunately the swelling wasn’t going down so after consultation with vets and Parks it was decided that he needed help.
The vets from AWARE (another amazing organisation helping animals in Zimbabwe) came as soon as they could. They darted Faceboy where they found him, on the main road near the Zambian border. A group of onlookers soon congregated and some helped to keep people well back and direct traffic, keeping the zebra and people working with him safe. Unexpectedly when the swelling was lanced a jet of clear fluid fountained out. Most of us had been expecting pus from a tooth ulcer or infected jaw.
The vets were an inspirational example of efficiency and Faceboy was under sedation for the absolute minimum amount of time as they treated him. As he came round and staggered down the road there was a palpable sense of relief and of a job well done.
Here’s Faceboy three weeks later,
The animals can’t ask for help so I’m asking for them. If you could support the work of this vital charity please consider making a donation, or even set up a monthly payment. A little goes a long way out here and this money really does make a difference.
Every penny goes towards supporting and assisting these precious wild animals.