This is the last blog on my recent trip to Africa and it covers my time spent in Zimbabwe visiting the Tikki Hywood Foundation (THF).
It was great being back in Zimbabwe and spending time with Lisa Hywood, founder of THF, as well as her right hand woman Ellen. It’s been 4 years since my last visit and their wildlife rescue and rehabilitation work has gone from strength to strength.
For those of you who don’t know, THF is Africa’s leading expert in the rehabilitation of pangolins. In addition to rehabilitating and rewilding large numbers of them in Zimbabwe, they partner with 12 other African countries and provide critical advice on the intricacies of pangolin care and rehabilitation.
Pangolin are a critically endangered species and one of most trafficked wildlife species. The main reason for this trade is the supposed medicinal values of their scales in Chinese medicine, but they are also traded for their meat, which is considered a delicacy. To help combat this, THF very works closely with the Zimbabwean government on implementing new legislation to help protect them.
THF was founded on a small holding property a short distance from the capital city, Harare. It comprises of 60 hectares of pristine miombo woodland and over the 28 years of its existence has become a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife species and a small number of domestic animals too. All the animals which have found sanctuary there have been rescued from either the illegal wildlife trade or have become orphaned for a variety of reasons. Most animals arrive compromised and require intensive care to regain their health. Following expert rehabilitation programmes, some are able to return to their wildlife origins, but sadly some are too affected by their ordeals and remain in lifetime care.
OAT has been supporting THF’s work for a number of years and following my recent visit, we decided to extend another grant for further development of the sanctuary including extra onsite accommodation for the animal carers. See photos below of some of the resident animals I met when I was there, as well as some of their dedicated carers.
That about wraps up feedback from my Africa trip and as I am posting blog, I am en route to Vietnam. I will be spending time with the Animals Asia team based there and I will be attending the ground breaking ceremony for their new and second bear sanctuary. I will also be visiting their elephant project there that enable elephants to be retired from exploitative elephant riding camps and live out their lives in the national parks. Exciting times ahead and more on this when I get back! Bye for now.