Imvelo Elephant Trust
The Imvelo Elephant Trust aims to secure the long-term conservation and well-being of the African elephant in Hwange. We educate locals, raise awareness, spark scientific debate and provide a temporary ‘band-aid’ to Hwange’s current crisis.
Our directors have been protecting Hwange’s landscape and wildlife for almost three decades. In 2012 they decided to formally establish an independent organisation: Imvelo Elephant Trust. IET continue to fight for the welfare of Hwange’s 40,000+ elephant, the Park, and its wildlife.
Why Hwange’s elephant:
Hwange National Park: one of the few corners where you can still find the Big-5 in their natural unfenced habitat. At 14,600 square kilometers, it is home to over 100 mammal species, including 19 large herbivores, eight large carnivore and 400 species of bird. It is the only protected area in Zimbabwe where gemsbok and brown hyena occur in large numbers. However, over the last 50 years, Hwange has become most famous for its enormous herds of elephant.
Today, somewhere between 30-50,000 giant proboscidea reside in the Park – depending on the time of year and whom you ask. Together they help form a significant part of the world’s largest contiguous population and offer an unforgettable wildlife spectacle.
The observation and study of Hwange’s elephants has enabled countless researchers and scientists to gain great insights into the behaviour and ecology of these intelligent and complex creatures. But more than this, elephants are considered a keystone species – meaning they have a disproportionate effect on their environment because of their biomass. Because of this, they have a crucial role to play in the future of Hwange, the savannahs, and ultimately Africa’s landscape.
Why the elephant? Because their future is uncertain. Because their story is a long, complicated and – in recent years – painful one. But most of all, because the elephant is an iconic species; a symbol of hope. And Africa would be a very different place without them.
What we do:
We offer immediate support to our wildlife communities by managing and maintaining eight water pumps, drinking troughs and bathing pans across the east portion of Hwange National Park. Every dry season, the provision of 24-hour fresh water supplies helps to protect thousands of animals against dehydration and death.
We also maintain a large portion of the eastern boundary to protect the vegetation from fire. This ensures that the annual bush and forest fires cannot destroy valuable food sources.
In conjunction with this, we work closely and support the law enforcement groups in anti poaching as well as educate and raise awareness about the elephants’ plight within our surrounding communities. Many of our neighbouring villages have come to understand that the giant pachyderm is perhaps their greatest resource and must be conserved in order for the Park to survive and their progress to continue.
Our directors have been nurturing symbiotic relationships between man and nature for over twenty years. We are at last gaining a little pocket of equilibrium; we are learning how to coexist and protect wild animal populations, live sustainably, and create mutually beneficial relationships within our surroundings.
In the absence of National Park’s funding we, at IET have partnered with National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (DNPWMA) and our big brother Imvelo Safari Lodges, to assume responsibility for the wellbeing of surface water within 1500 square kilometers of Park. And we intend to continue providing the artificial resource until a realistic and manageable solution is found.
There are currently a number of management options being proposed, but none of them – as yet – offer what we would consider a realistic working solution. In a attempt to get the problem defined – and some answers found – IET are working with an independent documentary film crew, Ecomentaries to give an impartial, in-depth look at all the proposed solutions, get the debate-ball rolling and hopefully evoke some action.
IET’s short-term and ongoing goals:
• To provide the elephant, and other wildlife, with sufficient water to see them through the dry summer season.
• To reduce the suffering of malnourished animals.
• To minimise conflicts with the local communities.
• To promote tourism within the Park.
• To generate income for the local villagers and their communities.
• To improve education in the surrounding communities.
IET’s long-term and additional goals:
• To generate enough awareness about the current situation in order to provoke a call to action.
• To organise and host a ‘Hwange Crisis’ symposium. We are working hard to organise and fund a four-day seminar for a carefully selected group of delegates – including world leading elephant experts, veterinarians, ecologists, park managers, community leaders, safari operators and politicians – with the objective of defining the problem and agreeing on some feasible management actions.
• To ultimately find a long-term sustainable solution to the problems of elephant overpopulation.
Bomani Tented Lodge
This luxurious tented lodge is situated in a private concession on the edge of the magnificent Ngamo Plain, in the remote and unspoilt south eastern corner of Hwange National Park. Bomani is famous for its unique scenery as well as its large herds of elephants and all other animals and birdlife resident in Hwange. To find out more click here
Camel thorn Lodge
Deep in amongst the Camelthorn and ebony trees our stunning new lodge offers villas with huge glass fronts, overlooking small watering holes and birdfeeders that will attract some of the smaller and less destructive woodland creatures; bushbuck, duiker, mongoose and squirrel – not to mention a plethora of colourful birdlife. To find out more click here
Gorges Lodge is home to an incredible population of raptors, as well as a stunning array of butterflies and wild flora. You can look on in amazement, as black eagles and lanner falcons soar overhead. Several tame bushbuck, baboon and vervet monkey also roam the grounds, in the hope of finding a treat. To find out more click here