Rescuing Mbuzini (for those not speaking N’dbele: Goat): David Macdonald reports on the interface between conservation and animal welfare and the activities of Lovemore Sibanda in the village communities around Hwange


Lovemore, as you will have read in earlier News Items, is the member of our lion team who specialises in working with villages to understand the human dimension of depredation by lions on domestic stock. On the 7th December Lovemore investigated a conflict report of a young male lion that had killed a bull in the tsholotsho area. Realising there was serious trouble, he mustered our Long Shields (the community members who work with us – also described in earlier News Items) and they soon picked up spoor and followed the lion. It became apparent that he was dragging a snare attached to a log and so they called Brent Stapelkamp, to arrive with a ranger and a dart gun. Skilfully, the lion was darted, and the WildCRU team removed a cable snare and the log that it was attached to, and translocated the anaesthetised lion to a safe place in the park where currently there are no competing males. They named him “Mbuzini” because, sadly, that’s what he has a predilection to eat, and surely saved his life (the photos show the wounds we have to deal with as a result of illegal snaring).