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LOWVELD RHINO TRUST

Staff

PROZ-ZimLowveld
Lovemore 2011 SVC Op
Natasha and rhino - small
simba
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Raoul du Toit - Director

In 1985, du Toit was appointed as Scientific Officer for the IUCN African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group, and diverted from his previous professional focus on Environmental Impact Assessments. In 1988, du Toit developed a WWF project to survey the status of black rhinos in the Zambezi Valley and remained a Project Executant with WWF until 2009. In 1990, du Toit was seconded from WWF to the Zimbabwean Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, where he worked for seven years to initiate and implement the Rhino Conservancy Project in Zimbabwe (funded by the Beit Trust, via WWF). This project entailed establishing viable rhino breeding groups in semi-arid Lowveld region of Zimbabwe, amalgamating game ranches into large conservancies to provide adequate habitat, setting up protection and monitoring systems, and helping to deal with the ongoing economic and political challenges to these private sector projects. Du Toit also helped to establish the regional rhino conservation programme of the Southern African Development Community and was involved in this programme as a technical adviser on rhino projects in several countries, over the period 2000-2007. From 2009, the Rhino Conservancy Project has been subsumed into the Lowveld Rhino Trust which du Toit set up and is now Director of. Du Toit acts as the African Program Coordinator for the International Rhino Foundation, which is a primary support agency for the Lowveld Rhino Trust. Du Toit has been awarded the Sir Peter Scott Award (by the IUCN Species Survival Commission) in 2009, and the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa, in 2011.

Lovemore Mungwashu - Operations Coordinator

In 1982, Mungwashu joined Zimbabwe’s then Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management as a ranger. By 1990 he had worked his way up through the ranks to become a Provincial Warden. During this period Mungwashu was directly involved in fighting the massive poaching onslaught that decimated Zimbabwe’s rhino populations. Due to this experience he was invited to join the Rhino and Elephant Security Group and acted as Chairman of this group for over 10 years. In 2000 Mungwashu became Chief Warden for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. In that role, he was the head of all the Department’s field programmes, ranging from law enforcement, parks management, wildlife population management, infrastructure development and maintenance and other field related activities. In 2004 Mungwashu joined the then WWF Lowveld Rhino Conservancy Project (now LRT) as Operations Coordinator, dealing with a wide variety of roles from international security liaison through to driving translocation trucks.

Natasha Anderson - Rhino Monitoring Coordinator

Australian born Natasha Anderson came to Zimbabwe in 1996 as a volunteer worker after completing a Master of Environmental Studies degree at the University of Melbourne. She has been based in the South East Lowveld throughout her sixteen years in Zimbabwe. Her initial work focused on natural resource management and education projects in the Maranda Communal Lands working under the Mwenezi Rural District Council. Post 2000 she became involved with the Lowveld Rhino Trust when she offered some of her spare time to help with monitoring rhinos – especially those sharing their range with newly settled farmers in the Bubiana Conservancy.
Over time she developed opportunities to mesh her interest in education with rhino conservation and under the Southern Africa Development Community Regional Program for Rhino Conservation, developed education support materials called the Rhino Cards. These materials form the foundation of LRTs current education program, which Natasha helps manage along with her monitoring work on a much expanded population of rhinos in Bubye and Save Valley Conservancies.

Simba Chiseva – Community Liasion Officer

Chiseva is a social ecologist working on linkages between biodiversity conservation and human well-being. As an intern, he joined African Wildlife Foundation in 2006 dealing with community outreach activities focusing on harmonizing humans and wildlife in Zimbabwe, Zambia & Mozambique (ZiMoZa) TFCA. He later enrolled for Masters in Tropical Resource Ecology in 2008 at University of Zimbabwe. In 2009, Chiseva rejoined AWF as a Programmes Assistant. Noticing his passion in conservation and community development, he was elevated to be a Community Development Assistant based at Tchuma Tchato Camp, Magoe District of Mozambique. Collaborating with ZiMoZa TFCA’s three states conservation stakeholders, he coordinated diverse conservation activities including land use planning, education and capacity building, development of conservation enterprise to improve livelihoods and applied research. In August 2011, Chiseva joined LRT as a Community Liaison Officer for the Lowveld Conservation and Livelihoods (LOCAL) Initiative where his work focus on developing appropriate institutions in the South East Lowveld region for joint ventures in wildlife operations, in which rhinos are flagship species, with tangible community benefits being generated through win-win arrangements.

Lowveld Rhino Trust Rhino Monitors

The LRT Rhino Monitors are a group of hard working and highly skilled bush trackers dedicated to monitoring and protection of rhinos. They are at the coalface of LRT's rhino conservation effort and their intimate knowledge of individual rhinos provides the basis on which management and intervention decisions are made. Not only are these men prepared to, on a daily basis, track one of Africa's most dangerous animals, but are frequently called upon to provide tracking skills in the persuit of armed poachers - an undertaking which they perform with courage and commitment.

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