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Chuilexi Conservancy is now experiencing the peak of the rainy season. It is always that much harder at this time of the year to sight lion and wild dog due to dense vegetation growth. However, this does not stop Chuilexi scouts from patrolling and continuing anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring activities. Scouts are maintaining their patrols using the five outposts and the central headquarters as the springboard for these law enforcement efforts.
Fortunately since the last update no further poisoning incidents of lion have been recorded. Nevertheless there are caveats. There are still gaps in patrol coverage in Chuilexi, which will only be addressed with further scout recruitment and ongoing road development to improve access and reach for scout deployment. In addition the poisoning threat to lion is expected to reduce sharply over the rains as water availability is widespread and wildlife is dispersed, making it difficult to poison a particular water point or a carcass at a particular site, which lion concentrate around in the dry season. It is anticipated that this threat will re-emerge once the dry season is in full swing so constant diligence and patrol effort will be required. To assist in its protection of lion, Chuilexi has also been working with the local communities resident within the Conservancy and highlighted not only the conservation threat to lion, but the risk to human health with the poisoning of water points and carcasses as baits. This is all part of a broader community programme aiming to establish these communities as firm conservation partners to Chuilexi.
Once in the dry season again, sightings of lion and wild dog will improve and be recorded in Chuilexi’s monitoring database. Chuilexi’s Monitoring Officer is planning this year to roll out SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool), which will be the core process and methodology used for future wildlife monitoring and trend analysis. A training programme will be designed for the scouts to this end. As you will see, we have however been lucky enough to sight a wild dog in great clarity – see the attached photo – very exciting!
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