Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe that lies in the west of the country, on the main road between Bulawayo and the Victoria Falls

The Park hosts over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores. All Zimbabwe's specially protected animals are to be found in Hwange

Although it has been argued that elephant populations cause change in vegetation structure, some recent studies suggest that this is not the case, even with the large increases in elephant population recorded in the late 1980s. There are approximately 44 thousand Elephants which is about half of the countries total  population.

Elephant at WhangeThere is very little natural surface water and the park relies on pumped water from the large number of boreholes scattered throughout the park. When all the pumps are working the animals thrive. Friends of Hwange Trust (FOH) is a non-profit organization that was established shortly after the 2005 drought in which many animals needlessly perished due to the lack of water. The Trust’s principal focus is providing water, but it also assists with fireguards, anti-poaching, road and borehole maintenance as well as helping the Wildlife Authority whenever the situation warrants it.

Many of these water points are powered by wind pumps requiring no electricity, although the water is for their benefit several of these pumps have been damaged by the elephants and consequently stop working. The cost of repairs can be quite substantial depending on how severe the pachyderm's attention has been.

A solution had to be found and proved quite simple. A solar energiser has been Trapper Solar energiserattached to several wires around the wind-pump. As the elephant contacts the electric fence wires, he receives 6000 volts for only 1/300th. Of a second. This is more than enough to persuade him from doing any further damage to the fixture. Perhaps most humorous was a semi-adult who touched it with his trunk. This very highly enervated and sensitive organ resulted in such a severe lesson - such that he continued wiping the trunk on the ground for a while. The supplied Trapper AS70 Integrated Solar Energiser has a built in battery with a built in automatic charging controller and has two outlet functions. 

The energisers were installed at the beginning of the last dry season and in the following 12 months has eliminated all damage. No expensive repairs have been necessary and water has been supplied to all animals using the pans fed by this water.

Wind Pump

 

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