Camera Trapping for Conservation
Niassa National Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Africa, and covers 40,000km of wilderness, in northern Mozambique. The Luwire concession is the biggest block in the reserve, and itself is 1/3 the size of Kruger National Park. However, apart from the excellent work of the Niassa Carnivore Project, relatively little research or evidence-based conservation has been carried out in the area.
Perhaps the most fundamental information one can gather about any area of land is "what's here?". Indeed, without basic information on species presence, population size, and movements, it is impossible to create a replicable baseline through which to understand changes to local biodiversity. In 2021, I initiated a camera trap study across the Luwire area; this will be repeated on an annual interval. In total, myself and my research team will cover 2,400km this year alone, in three separate camera grids, which will generate tens of thousands of images of local wildlife. Through this work, we will establish population baselines for key species, and understand more deeply the local biodiversity.
Alongside the camera trap study, we are also collecting various other pieces of baseline data. In particular, we are interested in sources or mortality for wildlife, and any patterns in human/wildlife landscape use. I am also supervising a Mozambican MSc research project exploring local bird biodiversity.
For more information about upcoming biodiversity projects, student research, or our biodiversity research fundraising targets, please get in touch.
Social and Development Programs
As one of the most deprived areas of one of the poorest countries in the world, people living in Niassa province have very challenging lives. Healthcare, schooling, and basic infrastructure are all challenges, as is ongoing conflict with wildlife, and the threat from Islamic extremists in nearby Cabo Delgado.
Luwire's community programs aim to help alleviate the challenges faced by local people. Although we run a basic program of activities, I have identified three priority areas for development over the coming years:
1. Food security: as the most basic, animal need, food security is of paramount importance. At present, subsistence crops are raided by animals, both before and after harvest, and families have little access to secure supplies;
2. Education: there is inadequate supply of government education in the area, and therefore low levels of reading and writing amongst local people. This prevents people from being able to access opportunities.
3. Healthcare, including reproductive health: malaria, typhoid, and various other tropical diseases are part of life here. So too is a very young age of first conception (often 14), and understanding of reproductive healthcare is limited. Better healthcare provision would have material impact on quality of life.
Along with our excellent community team, I manage the social and community development initiatives in the area. These currently include basic protein production, agriculture and wildlife-proof fencing, and human-wildlife conflict response, although many other projects are starting in late 2021 and 2022. For more details of the development plan, or to help support a program, please get in touch.