These are the achievements of the last 10 years
E4C – Education for Conservation
For us, species conservation is inseparably linked to education and development aid. The protection of species can only succeed if the local population is involved responsibly from the very beginning.
Knowledge about the wilderness and the animals living in it is the basis for teaching children and adults why nature is worth protecting and can even be profitable in the long term.
SAVE has been active in Botswana since 2011. After 10 years, SAVE has established a total of 28 children’s playgroups there in close cooperation with 22 Village Development Councils (VDCs), which are taught using an environmental education and conservation curriculum developed by SAVE in each case appropriate to the age group. The teaching materials were also designed and provided in collaboration with SAVE. By 2020, a total of nearly 14,500 children aged 3-18 had participated in the education projects – 4,068 of them in 2020/21 alone. The main focus here is on awareness and respect for nature. The goal is to reach 62,000 (about 90%) children and youth in wildlife areas and adjacent by the end of 2025 with our conservation education programs.
Facts and figures:
- 28 projects
- 77 teachers
- 459,000 teacher hours
- 12,539 children supported
- 2 Learning Centers built, 1 new one currently in planning for 2021
Within the project “Books for Education” we have had wildlife books – written, illustrated and printed by Matto Barfuss – translated from English into Setswana by our employee Kgomotso Belinda Mothibi. Over 800 copies of “Wildlife at my Home” were distributed to children in Botswana in 2012. The books explain the wildlife of their country to children in order to learn about and appreciate it. In 2014, more copies of “Wildlife at My Home” were distributed to Botswana primary school students, so we have now given out over 1,000 copies. Also, over 7,000 books of SAVE- textbooks and curriculum were distributed to the projects
Facts and figures:
- 20,000 books (textbooks and curriculum included)
To generate a regular income for the community, we help people in rural areas to build structures and businesses, for example in ecotourism. An example of this is the Tshaa Riverside Camp, which we have built and whose profits flow into local social projects. Our approach is always to mobilize existing skills and support the learning of necessary new skills.
Each camp requires, in addition to management and marketing, at least three staff members on site to take care of maintenance and guests, and also act as an anti-poaching unit. They manage and monitor the sustainable use of natural resources. So not only do we help build the camps and get them approved by the government, but we also support the communities financially in hiring well-trained staff and training local community members.
The three camps that have now been established are all located in northern Botswana on the Khwai River on the edge of Chobe and Moremi National Parks. The campsites, idyllically situated on the Khwai River, could – until the beginning of the Corona crisis – already be booked for tourism. They are equipped with all necessary sanitary facilities and offer space for up to 100 campers each. The income is fully at the disposal of the community and flows into further social and nature conservation projects.
Facts and figures
- 2015 Start of the Tshaa Riversidde Camp
- 2016-2017 Construction and completion of two more Mababe community camps in Dijara and Dizhana.
- 2018 Opening of the two camps in Dijara and Dizahna.
- 3 campsites for 100 guests
- 100% ownership of the community
- Income of the campsites: 8.000 – 20.000 EUR/month
- Staff: 20-30 (due to seasonal occupancy)
Together with the Department of Wildlife and National Park Botswana and Grassland Safari Lodge, SAVE reintroduced 400 blue wildebeest and 100 eland to three different areas of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in 2015. The goal of the largest reintroduction to date was to significantly increase the species population of these animals so that the natural population could recover. As a result, there is now twice as much prey for the resident lions, African wild dogs, cheetahs and leopards, which no longer have to turn to farmland to find food. As a result, human-wildlife conflict is mitigated by fewer livestock losses and there are fewer predator kills.
The project belongs to the SAVE conservation pillar Immediate Action and is at the same time closely linked to the research area. The research work of student and researcher Moses Selebatso, supported by the SAVE Capacity Development Program, served as the basis for the project.
Facts and figures:
- 400 wildebeest and 100 elands purchased and relocated to CKRG National Park.
Botswana has been experiencing intense periods of drought for years, during which the rivers and the so-called pans sometimes dry up completely. For the hippos that chase the water, this became a deadly trap in Nxaraga in 2019 when they literally got stuck there due to a lack of water and food.
Together with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and local companies, we replenished the water point in an impromptu effort. Using solar energy, 46,000 litres were pumped into the basin every 10 hours. Until the water level was high enough for the animals to move on, they had to be additionally supplied with about 50 kg of hay per day and animal. This required the help of many local people. Through a supply and control plan developed jointly with the DWNP, our teams were thus able to check the condition of the animals and the water independently and alternately. When the Okavango River basin was refilled in the summer of 2020, the animals moved on and were once again able to fend for themselves.
Facts and figures:
- 168 hippos rescued along with their offspring
- 46,000 litres of water pumped into the Okavango River basin every 10 hours
In order to curb human-wildlife conflict, it is necessary, among other things, to create protective corridors in suitable areas through which lions can migrate. This not only favours the search for wild prey, but also improves the basis of a naturally functioning ecosystem, as it allows the animals to meet other populations and thus facilitates better genetic exchange. SAVE has therefore dedicated itself to research projects that investigate the positive effects of such long-term conservation measures. In 2015 and 2016, SAVE supported a project of the Lower Oder Valley National Park in Mozambique. In this context, a lion research project of the Limpopo Transfrontier Predator Project emerged. For this purpose, SAVE donated two satellite collars in 2015, which were used to transmit two lions in order to obtain information about the animals’ behavior and movement patterns.
Facts and figures:
- 14 research projects supported and partially operated
- 18 papers were published from these in scientific journals
The national parks in southern Africa are connected by wildlife corridors through which wildlife can move freely. However, due to the lack of water points in the wildlife corridors, more and more elephants and other wildlife are making their way into the resident village communities in search of water. Farmer Bobota from Phuduhudu, shared, “The villagers have a lot of trouble with the elephants as they regularly trample the fields in search of water and get too close to the people in the community.” These conflicts further distress the already endangered wildlife. People feel threatened.
We are working with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to revitalize a long-standing but disused wildlife corridor between the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi Pan. Through our technical support with a solar-powered pump, financial help and the cooperation of many stakeholders, the wildlife corridor is thus being renewed piece by piece. Work started in May 2020 and – despite delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic – in August 2020 the first phase of this project was completed with the rehabilitation of the first water point: an 80 km long part of the wildlife corridor could thus be revived!
Facts and figures
- 80 km elephant/wildlife corridor section with water supply restored
The opening of the Eastern European borders has supported the natural reintroduction of wolves to Central Europe. In order for the animals to take advantage of their opportunity, the fears and lack of acceptance of predators that still exist in some parts of the population must be taken seriously and dispelled. To achieve this, we provide up-to-date knowledge about the wolf population in the region, inform people living there about wolves in the region and wolf biology, launch poaching prevention projects and other actions to ensure the continuation of wolf conservation in the region.
Facts and figures:
- 2006 Discovery of the first pack of wolves in the region
- 2006 to 2011 monitoring of wolf numbers and offspring from this first pack
- 2011 Expansion of wolf monitoring to include four new packs
- 2015 First conference on wolves in the region
- 2015 Establishment of the WILKnet website
- 2017 Established a network of volunteers to assist with wolf monitoring and educational opportunities.
- 2018 Second conference on wolves in the region.
- 2018 The wolf “Pumpak”, which we had transmitted as a pup, disappears without a trace in Saxony. A petition for his protection had been started in Germany via Change.org.
- 2019 wolf observation includes 10 packs
- 2020 The first two wolves with GPS collars in Świętokrzyskie donated.
- SAVE Poland has become the largest wolf conservation and research project in Poland.
- 845 evidences of wolf presence (scales, tracks, direct observations).
- 1200 hours of wolf tracking
Wolf Project Lower Oder Valley
Wolves are slowly returning to Germany, but are endangered by hunters, population does not always welcome them, irrational fears of people and illegal shooting,
For better protection of wolves in the Lower Oder Valley, SAVE started the cooperation project “The Wolf in the Lower Oder Valley” together with the Species Protection Office Lower Oder Valley at the end of 2014.
The joint project investigated and documented the behavior of the wolf in the cultivated landscape of the Lower Oder Valley. The pack sizes were also recorded and their movements observed. At the same time, the wildlife population in the wolf territories was researched and documented. The aim was to ensure the survival of the wolf and to improve its image in the population.
Power pylons can become a deadly trap, especially for large birds, if they touch live lines and pylon parts with their bodies at the same time.
Although the Federal Nature Conservation Act has stipulated since 2012 that pylons must be defused and, if necessary, rebuilt in a bird-proof manner, many grid operators are not fulfilling their obligations. Expert investigations by the bird of prey expert Detlef Regulski in the Lower Berg area revealed that only 50% of the 92 low- and medium-voltage pylons checked were adequately secured. He paid attention to whether a so-called “bridge” had been installed so that birds could land safely and not suffer electrocution. By spring 2016, about 100 more power poles had been mapped, photographed and inspected. SAVE confronted the commercial operators of the power poles as well as the responsible authorities with the results and urged for an immediate bird-friendly retrofit.
ZeroPalmoil is the name of our campaign dedicated to protecting the rainforest and minimizing palm oil consumption at the same time. Palm oil is extracted from the oil palm and can be found in quite a few food and cleaning products, in cosmetics and also in pet food.
Palm oil extraction is the main cause of rainforest deforestation. Every year, about 12.55 million hectares of rainforest are lost – equivalent to an area of about 17.5 million soccer fields.
Facts and figures:
- In 2015, our app “ZeroPalmöl – PoP products without palm oil” went online and was already downloaded over 2,500 times in the same year.
- The database currently contains over 7,000 articles from 265 different manufacturers.
The protection of the rainforest is important on every continent of our earth. Around the Congo Basin is the second-largest rainforest on our planet after the tropical rainforest on the Amazon.
Already since 2011, the American major investor Heracles has tried to clear about 73,000 hectares of intact rainforest for palm oil plantations – against the resistance and the rights of the local population, who would have been deprived of their fields and thus their livelihood. Gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and around another 400 mammal species – around 7.5% of all known mammal species, over 1,000 bird species (around 10% of all known species) and more than 10,000 plant species were also at risk of irrevocably losing their habitat. Therefore, we supported the protests against the palm oil plantation by the local population from the beginning and also provided education about the ecological and social consequences of the planned clearing. Important international decision-makers were made aware by SEFE and SAVE of the threatening overexploitation of people and nature, and in parallel the local population received support in their fight against Heracles and other investors. SAVE also participated in studies on the ecological classification of the affected areas. The “High Conservation Value” of some areas could already be proven.
Heracles could be stopped for the time being thanks to the local and worldwide initiatives!
Facts and figures:
- 70,000 hectares of rainforest saved in Cameroon
SAVE has been supporting the organization “Friends of the Orangutans” in a rainforest reforestation project in Indonesia since 2015. The area is located near the village of Kampung Pantak on West Kalimantan. Local people are actively involved in the reforestation, which consists mainly of shorea seedlings. The forest-forming shorea trees are native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia and are a good source of food, including for primates. Since 2018, we have been working with Indonesia’s Yayasan Hutanriau Foundation under the auspices of Friends of the Orangutans. Hutanriau is an NGO in Sumatra that shares the same interests: Protecting wildlife through education and conservation. The strategy: degraded forest areas in Sumatra are replanted and future forest clearing by local villagers is prevented.
To achieve this, villagers were provided with seedlings with which they established tree nurseries. Connected to this are also educational projects that teach how to improve people’s livelihoods with an agroforestry project – an alternative to growing palm oil plantations. This is because indigenous peoples are being driven off their own farmland by large corporations and see their only chance of survival as their participation in oil palm plantations. In 2019, an area of 1,200 hectares was planted in the village of Air Buluh in Riu province.
Since the farmers started reforestation, illegal logging has decreased. The constant presence of the farmers deters illegal loggers and thus reduces overexploitation of nature.
Facts and figures:
- Saplings purchased for 1,200 hectares of rainforest
Impressions from our work
With community development projects, SAVE supports village communities in building up tourism, economy and social engagement.
Under the guiding principle of “helping people to help themselves”, this programme is designed to mobilise the population to improve their living conditions themselves. In all these different education and community development projects offered and supported by the SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund, children and community development projects offered and supported by SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund, children and adults learn that the unique treasures of their land are worth protecting and are important.
“There were many moments that made a big impression on me. For example, the first time we relocated a lion that was trapped on a farm where the farmers wanted to kill it. Watching the lion move into the wild was a magical moment and increased my personal motivation to do more.
In the fight against rainforest clearing in Cameroon, I traveled to NY City on behalf of the local people to explain our united opposition to the investor. After many years of intensive work by our whole team in Europe and Cameroon, the project was stopped.
In 2019, there was an extreme drought in Botswana. This posed a problem especially for the hippos, as they got stuck in the last existing waterhole. Without further ado, we enlarged the waterhole, pumped in water from a deep well and fed the animals 1-2 tons of hay per day to help them survive. Many of the approximately 168 hippos rescued had babies in the following 6 months. We could watch the hippos drinking, bathing and relaxing. That was a special event.
My goal has always been to do something with lasting impact. We have accomplished many achievements within the last ten years. At the end of the day, when you see the happy children from our 25 projects in Botswana dancing and playing the marimba, you feel a lot of humility for what you have.”
Lars Gorschlueter, Fundation Founder
“My personal highlights are our successfully running children’s project E4C – to achieve habitat and species protection through education fascinates me every time anew – and the beaming children’s eyes always keep in mind! Another highlight for me as a biologist was the reintroduction project of wildebeest into the Kalahari – on this scale our campaign remains unparalleled so far.”
Dr. Maike Gorschlüter, stellvertr. Vorstand
“My highlight in the last 10 years was seeing a positive response from our children projects growing from 5 playgroups in 2014 to 25 children playgroups in 2020. And support for wildlife projects through water provision was amazing, imagine saving stranded hippos from the dried up pool to reviving the wildlife migration corridor that connects North-South Botswana game reserves. I am so delighted to be part of these projects and a hard working team!”
Wabotlhe Letubo, Country Project Director
Bildung und Entwicklung
Unsere Erfahrung zeigt: Das friedliche Zusammenleben mit Wildtieren kann nur gelingen, wenn die betroffenen Menschen genug zu essen haben und ihre Existenz gesichert ist. Diese essenziellen Bedürfnisse müssen nachhaltig gestillt sein, um Arten langfristig zu schützen. Denn erfolgreicher Wildtierschutz funktioniert nur, wenn die Bevölkerung mit im Boot ist. Jedoch fehlt es häufig an Wissen oder Chancen, um Einkünfte im Einklang mit der Natur zu erzielen. Durch die Schaffung von Bildungsmöglichkeiten für alle, die gemeinsame Entwicklung und Umsetzung guter Ideen, sowie die Bereitstellung von Mitteln setzen wir gemeinsam Projekte um, die die Lebensräume der Wildtiere langfristig sichern.
Our sincere thanks go to all donors, partners, organisations, volunteers and staff, who have actively supported us over the past 10 years.