Bird and bat safari in Zambia

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2017: 26 Nov
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Bird and bat safari in Zambia

Environment

This trip focuses on Birds and Bats . We believe by raising awareness of these important animals we are supporting their conservation. Education is fundamental to the success of any conservation or wildlife management project. Despite their ecological importance bats suffer from a very negative public perception, and are often feared, misunderstood and persecuted

Raising public awareness about the importance of bats and biodiversity is vital to the conservation of these poorly understood animals. The trip includes talks and support from Guides from the AFRICAN BAT CONSERVATION (ABC)

ABC conducts applied research, conservation and education to bring bats to the conservation agenda and conserve bat populations in Africa. ABC is based in Malawi and work in collaboration with various stakeholders in the region. ABC has a number of flagship research projects including the Human Bat Conflict Project which aims to assist communities experiencing conflict issues related to bats occupying property; the Urban Bat Project which aims to assess bat diversity and abundance in Lilongwe City; the Eidolon Project through which we are using GPS tags to assess the spatial and roosting behaviour of Straw-coloured Fruit Bats in Lilongwe. ABC is founded and directed by Dr Emma Stone. Emma has been conducting bat research in Africa particularly Zambia, Malawi and South Africa since 1998.

Likewise with the birds we have the support of a fully trained Bird expert.

In addition to raising awareness about the wildlife we also ensure we do not have a negative impact on the environment.

Where ever possible staff and clients are encouraged to conserve water, fuel wood. For example no unnecessary bonfires and using water wisely.

There is a no litter policy in place on this trip which is stricltly adhered to . All cars must have litter bags In parks we not only do not leave litter but pick up what others have left behind if at all possible,.

Our local based supplier's office reuse, reduces and recycle for example the local office recycles its own waste paper first for use as scrap paper, then bags it up sends it to a Wildlife Centre where a community group make fuel wood bricketts out of the paper.

In this country our office also reuse,reduce and recycle. We are also based in an eco build which produces some of its own electricity and practices rain water harvesting.

Community

The two key aspects of this trip are the Birds and the Bats. Studying them must have community and local involvement to be viable.
The Bird Guide, Jim Katengu, on this safari is local to Malawi

Jim is 44 years old and was born in Malawi. After school he was employed at Mvuu Camp as a trainee guide and worked his way up to a senior wildlife guide. During his time in Liwonde Park Jim developed a special interest, passion and tremendous knowledge of the birds in Malawi. He led a number of specialist birding trips around Malawi and cooperated with birding professionals like Ian Davidson & Richard Cruze. He has helped with the research the Aloe Vera plant distribution in Liwonde, which has tremendous medicinal properties, where he was interviewed by the local TV station and has participated in the Orchid Walk on Zomba Plateau. He participates in the annual bird count in Liwonde. Jim is currently compiling a species list for both Dzalanyama Forest and the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre and is training local guides in these 2 areas. Jim, is a well -known and respected leader in his field and one of Malawi’s foremost birders.

ABC has a strong history of public and community engagement to promote science and ecology in Malawi. ABC has community outreach workers at each of its study sites who conduct community level engagement events through focus groups, one to one meetings and church meetings. they establish networks of community facilitators.that enable them to engage closely with communities and collect data and help with about human bat conflict
We visit a number of parks The money paid to visit these areas directly goes on conserving the wildlife and provides an alternative source of income to the local people to poaching. Operating in the parks also provides an avenue of employment that allows local people to remain in their home area rather than migrate to urban .

Clients are encouraged to buy or use locally produced products to benefit the local community. This enhances the experience and supports communities at grass root levels. We use local produce where ever possible and use locally owned accommodation.

Thornicroft Lodge is part of and supports Project Luangwa is a charitable organisation formed by the Safari Operators of South Luangwa as a part of their commitment to responsible tourism. The aim is to create an effective, coordinated approach to helping local communities improve their long term economic prospects whilst avoiding a negative impact on the environment and wildlife.

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