If there was an Oscar for community conservation, then Salambala might be up for an award. Best Conservancy, perhaps? In November Change Stream Media, a US film team, visited the conservancy to report on the Event Book Audit and Human Wildlife Conflict.
Change Stream Director Sean König specialises in community-based films, with a strong input from locals on the ground in the film-making process. The original idea had been to make a film about the event books that conservancies use, so that Salambala could use the film to train other conservancies in the event book, which is a tool to monitor wildlife movements, record human-wildlife conflict, and poaching incidents.
But on day one, local farmer Dominic Machili reported to the conservancy office that he had lost a cow to a lion – the fourth in two weeks. Within minutes Salambala’s chief game guard was on the spot, checking whether the farmer had taken sufficient precautions to safeguard his livestock. Change Stream were there to see the remains of the cow, and to follow the spoor of the lion, and a second film on human-wildlife conflict was born. The hide of the cow is pictured opposite, together with the event book and an editing session in the conservancy office.
The films can be viewed at How an Event Book Powers Namibian Conservation and How Namibian Conservancies handle Human Wildlife Conflict. Salambala will use the films to train future game guards and committee members, and will be able to assist IRDNC to train other conservancies.
As part of an initiative to involve conservancy youths in conservation throughout Zambezi Region, IRDNC is setting up two mobile cinema units. The two films, which are in Silozi, will add to the mix of conservation films from Namibia and overseas, and help to inspire young people with conservation ideals.