Malilangwe - Zimbabwe Pamushana - Zimbabwe

Our conservation objective is to restore and sustain the historic biodiversity of the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. In addition to the benefits for the reserve, it is envisaged that lessons learned here will help to derive best practice protocols that will have application in other conservation initiatives, both regionally and internationally.

On the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, which is home to Singita Pamushana Lodge, we have adopted a scientific approach to conservation. Our management practice is underpinned by rigorous scientific research conducted by an on-site Research Department.

Research is directed at understanding how the Malilangwe ecosystem works and findings are used by the Wildlife Department to tailor management activities that ensure natural functioning of the key ecological processes.

Rhino Reintroduction Programme

From the outset, the Malilangwe Trust recognized that elements of biodiversity were missing from the reserve. The local extinction of black rhinoceros and the depletion of white-rhino numbers to only nine individuals was cause for great concern.

A programme to reintroduce these species was initiated in 1998. It was thus decided to purchase 28 black and 15 white rhinos, which were transported from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and held in pens in the north of the reserve until they were acclimatized.
Upon release, the animals were closely monitored by Malilangwe’s security force. All animals were individually identifiable through a system of ear notches. Monitoring and protection has been sustained over the past 17 years.

The effort has paid off handsomely, with substantial increases in both populations.

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Protection of biological assets

A motivated, well-trained and equipped security force works around the clock to protect the reserve’s wildlife. Malilangwe is a fenced reserve, and a maintenance team works tirelessly to ensure that the 121km of fencing is in good working order.

On-going monitoring

Monitoring of the vegetation resource, large mammal populations and aquatic systems is on-going.

Alien plant control

A work force dedicates a portion of its time to controlling the spread of invasive alien plants within the reserve.

Research programme

The Research Department identifies pertinent conservation questions that are answered by scientific research conducted by postgraduate university students. To date sixteen MSc, and three PhD level studies have been sponsored.

The findings provide essential information for conservation planning and decision-making.

 

Preservation of cultural heritage

Malilangwe has had a long history of human occupation, from the early hunter-gatherers to the more recent agro-pastoralists. Each of these groups has left behind evidence of their presence. One of our objectives is to understand how these people interacted with the environment and also with each other.

To this end, several archaeological studies have been conducted, and preservation of rock art and other sites of cultural interest is an important component of our work. In addition, Kambako Living Museum of Bushcraft has been set up in the adjacent communal area to preserve the vanishing bushcraft skills of the local Shangaan people.

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