Just two decades ago, people from across the world made their way to Zambezia Province in Mozambique to experience a kind of place that screensavers are made of. The Gilé National Reserve (GNR) boasted unrivaled magnificence, untouched by the manic world around it.
Fast forward two decades and the Gilé National Reserve is a mere shadow of its former glory. Wracked by 20 years of civil war, the park has lost all its infrastructures and its wildlife has almost been completely decimated. Deforestation, human-wildlife conflict, crop-raiding and poaching have added to the brutal trail of destruction.
It’s a heart-breaking story but we’re determined to do our bit for a happy-ever-after ending. Over the past years, eco-warriors around the world have been hard at work trying to restore the area to its former pristine glory. Today, GNR is home to more than 60 mammal species including elephants.
South African humanitarian and environmentalist and founder of the Blue Sky Society Trust, Carla Geyser, has been involved in dozens of philanthropic and conservation SOS missions across Southern Africa. Now, Carla will head up a select group of like-minded individuals for a critical elephant-collaring expedition in GNR in May 2019.
The 14-day Journeys with Purpose: Mozambique 2019 mission will see the team working alongside experts from the NPO, Elephants Alive and Wildlifevets to fit GPS collars on these majestic beasts. As the reserve consists of thick vegetation and difficult terrain, it is extremely difficult for experts to monitor the elephants on foot. Tracking them via their GPS collars will help them protect the elephants against being killed for their ivory. This is why it is so important for us to raise enough funds to collar at least five elephants.
Sadly though, the threat from man is two-fold. When two vastly different groups call the same place “home”, there is bound to be discord, conflict and even death. GPS-monitoring of the elephants’ movements will also help mitigate elephant/human conflict, which is as devastating to the elephant population as poaching. People living around the reserve face an ongoing battle with elephants that raid and damage their crops. Educating them on why elephants need to be protected and how this, in turn, will improve communities’ lives, can be the defining factor between life and death. Funds raised for the expedition will also assist Carla and the team to carry out crucial wildlife and conservation education among communities living near the park.
Gile NR has a small but significant population of about 80 to 100 elephants spread over 2-3 large groups and a few bulls, because of the thick terrain monitoring them visually and on foot is extremely difficult, and also because Gile isn't fenced they sometimes roam outside the reserves, putting GPS collars on them will give Alessandro Fusari (Head of Wildlife, Conservation & Tourism ) a better idea of their seasonal movements and range area, and also herd dynamics.
Making our continent a better place for animals and people who share the space, is a mammoth task, and if we simply shake our heads in sympathy and do nothing, we could very well be among the last on Earth to see magnificent beasts such as elephants. Kindly consider contributing to the Journeys with Purpose: Mozambique 2019 SOS expedition. By helping us help the elephants and people at the Gilé National Reserve, you could quite literally be saving lives, not just this year, but for generations to come.
The Gile National Reserve (GNR) is situated in Zambeze Province, covering the districts of Gile and Pebane. The GNR was initially declared at first proclaimed Partial Game Reserve of Gile in 1932.
Area: 2,860 km2
It is mainly made up of miombo forest, dambos, reforested savannah and riverine vegetation along various rivers and rivulets. Of great interest the granitic Kopjes' habitats which are either inside or around the GNR.
ELEPHANTS ALIVE - BENEFICIARY
Elephants Alive is one of Blue Sky Society’s beneficiaries, it was started by Dr. Michelle Henley in 2003. Their research contributes towards the long-term survival of the African elephant. Elephant’s Alive researchers work towards achieving a greater understanding of the complex relationships that elephants have with each other and their surroundings, including the humans with whom they share their world. Dr Michelle and her Elephants alive crew are working with Gile National Reserve and Wildlifevets (Dr Ben Muller) with this particular project.