University students prepare the specimens back at camp after the day’s work. (photo/Shiela Broadley)

Biodiversity Field Surveys Commence in Zimbabwe’s Limpopo Region

The Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe recently carried out a ten day field research expedition during the local rainy season  in the southern part of the country. This new JRS grant supports field work for accurate mapping of herpetofauna diversity data, the production of field guides and species occurrence publications as well as training and education in Zimbabwe. Led by Project Director Shiela Broadley, the field team included museum staff and university students, who worked near the Limpopo River in the area of Border Ridge/Sentinel and Nottingham Estates. The rains and high rivers made survey research challenging but ultimately the team was able to collect and prepare many specimens for the museum collection.

The Natural History Museum of Zimbabawe team and the Nottingham staff. From Left: Bernard Mupangapanga (Museum), Mr Tshabalala (Nottingham), Shiela Broadley (Museum); Sidiso Dube Midlands University), Godfrey Mleya (Sentinel), Guide (Nottingham), Raymond Ntini (National University of Science and Technology), (photo/Simbarashe Mafodya)
A Rainbow Skink (Trachylepis margaritifera) on the rocks where it basks close to a rock crevice for a quick retreat when in danger.
Male Common Flat lizard (Platysaurus intermedius). Flat lizards found on rocks, can retreat into very narrow crevices because its body has a flat profile which allows it to do so, very difficult to winkle one out of its hiding spot, the more you try to get to it, it retreats deeper into the crevice.

In addition to carrying out surveys and specimen collection, the team visited school children at the Nottingham Junior School to discuss biodiversity and explain the field survey work.  Several children participated in digging holes for pitfall traps and were taught how to monitor then during the visit.

Museum field researchers visit a Nottingham junior school to give a talk to the school children.

Read more about the Dambari Wildlife Trust & Natural History Museum of Zimbabwe grant Zimbabwe Herpetofauna Data: Mobilizing Data for Mapping Biodiversity Distribution, for Climate Change and Conservation Strategies.