In the Zimbabwe Bush, a trail camera recently captured a series of photos of this magnificent leopard standing over its prey. The balls of light that surround the leopard are more significant than you might imagine, because these little orbs represent the few drops of rain in a land in urgent need of water. The leopard paused and watched hopefully as the sprinkle of rain came down but the rain was gone as quickly as it began. And that’s when rescuers decided to take matters into their own hands.
We Dig By Hand for Water for the Animals
“About 60 to 80 years ago a dam was built upstream of the Turgwe River, some 80 kilometers away,” explains Karen Paolillo, Founder of the Turgwe Hippo Trust. “The deal was that whenever the river is a bit low the people at the dam let water out. Needless to say in today’s Zimbabwe it does not happen as regularly as it should and the animals downstream are in peril.”
“So we dig by hand (with shovels) in the river to bring one channel’s waters down to the water basin. We realized after two lots of shoveling that no water was coming in as the river is so low right now. So we just hired a front end loader to direct the other channel into the pools and get more water for the animals.”
For Karen Paolillo and her husband Jean-Roger who run the Turgwe Hippo Trust conservation effort, the cost of renting a front loader couldn’t have come at a worse time. They were already coping with mounting bills to pay for fuel and to repair the four wheel vehicle which is their only means of transportation to reach the far ends of the territory where they collect snares set by poachers. These two European transplants have spent the better part of their lives protecting the wildlife of Africa, and things are tougher than ever as they subsist on meager rations during what feels like an unending economic hardship in Zimbabwe. Yet the Paolillos stay because they know that the minute they leave, poachers will overrun the area and thousands of wild animals will be in immediate danger. It is likely that all the hippos and their newborn calves would be gone within a year.
Your Role In Making It Rain!
If you would like to see more incredible photos of the Turgwe Hippo Trusts work and/or make a tax-deductible donation to help them continue their critical and selfless work to bring water to wildlife here and protect them from harm, please click here.