For conservation


Join The Lowveld Trail running group on the 26th August 2023 and raise money for Conservation. Running for conservation is an event where like minded people come together to give back to Nature and celebrate the place we all call home. To ensure we can enjoy Nature tomorrow as we did today, we need to protect all aspects of the greater ecosystem to prevent future knock on effects.

26 August '23

Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate

To be able to participate you will have to join the running event. Once you join the Lowveld Trail Running Event, you can contribute an additional R200 per person per entry to give back to conservation and to stand a chance to win an amazing prize.

Win BIG on our first RUN FOR CONSERVATION raffle. Lowveld Trail Running has partnered with Isambane Camp to give away a 2 Nights stay for 2 persons all inclusive, as well as a Surprise box (with a lot of goodies) while raising awareness and giving back to nature.

All funds raised from the raffle will be donated to the EWT, Raptor Emergency Fund. The project managers John Davies and Lindy Thompson will be at the race event on the 26th of August to answer any questions about the project.

Raptor emergency Fund

Endangered Wildlife Trust


We are aiming to raise R15,000.00 which will go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, Raptor Emergency Fund. The biggest threat to Africa’s vultures, is poisoning. These birds have declined drastically over the last 30 years, and four of the 11 species are now Critically Endangered. As scavengers, vultures are extremely vulnerable to poisoning, particularly at carcasses laced with lethal pesticides. Sometimes they are not the intended targets but are victims of secondary poisoning when they eat a poisoned animal targeted due to human-wildlife conflict or for other reasons.

What is the main aim of the Raptor Emergency Fund?

With the severity of threats facing birds of prey, not just in our region, but also globally, we decided to maintain a separate fund that we use for the emergency response and treatment of birds of prey within the Lowveld and surrounding area. Although the regularity of this work is always changing, we attend to a steady stream of birds that are either assisted by, Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, or the veterinarians that kindly make time to treat and give input on the work that we do. This fund covers a variety of things such as fuel when responding to a poisoning event, X-rays and surgery for birds with broken wings, or general veterinary care as and when needed. We hope that by maintaining a fund for this, we can assist a network of collaborators and create a region where birds receive the best possible care, as well as an effective response when needed in emergencies.

How can the community get more involved?

There are various ways that people can be involved. One aspect that often isn’t known about to the public, is that reporting any electrocutions of collisions with powerlines to the Endangered wildlife Trust, helps us to work with ESKOM to try and mitigate threats to a wide range of species. Simply photographing an incident, along with the pole number and GPS location allows us to log this incident with ESKOM, and motivate to get adequate mitigation measures in place if possible. Reporting any incidents of illegal poison use also assists in reducing the illegal impact this is having on our wildlife. Being considerate in terms of not disturbing breeding birds of prey is also important, and something that can easily go un-noticed, for example lodges stopping in a shady area with guests, may inadvertently disturb breeding birds and lead to breeding failure. Lastly, financial support for our work is always greatly appreciated, and particularly when it comes to the emergency response, any amount is valuable.

What is the success ratio of the number of rescued individuals to being released?

Fortunately, when it comes to poisoned animals, ourselves, in collaboration with Moholoholo and several other veterinarians, have developed a simple protocol that has resulted in a survival rate of approximately 80% overall, and from the point where the birds arrive back in Hoedspruit, over the last 5 years we have had a survival rate of 90%. It represents one of the few positives with regard to poisoning overall and shows the value of a rapid response to these catastrophic events, as well as effective treatment and care during the rehabilitation process. We have also over the years added GPS tracking units to many of these individuals to ensure that the treatment protocols that we have in place are effective for their long-term survival.

How far does your work stretch within South Africa?

Although our organisation works over a very large geographic scale in Africa, our main focus is on the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), the surrounding Lowveld, and the Limpopo Valley. As many poisoning take place in protected areas, or properties that have large game species, we try and focus most of our efforts on these sites where our work will have the highest impact.

From the moment you get a call, what is the procedure on a rescue “mission”?

We aim to have a response time that is as efficient as possible. We typically travel with poisoning response kits at all times should an emergency pop up, and require us to assist immediately. We are very fortunate however to have the assistance of a team of veterinarians, rehabilitators, and researchers that are all comfortable with the handling and treatment of birds of prey in particular. We typically try and depart within 10 minutes of getting the initial call that assistance is needed, and immediately notify anyone from the team that could assist in order to set up the most effective strategy. We also place an emphasis on the legality of many of the species we work with, and will notify the relevant authorities about the likely outcome and what we are aware of. Once we arrive at the scene, we immediately start treating surviving animals and set up a centralised treatment area. We also recently had a custom trailer built, our ‘vulture ambulance’, with the support of several generous donors, that can house 20 birds of prey in individual crates, along with storage for additional equipment, water tanks, a power system, lighting etc.. This has drastically improved our ability to effectively treat and transport patients. We work closely with the team from Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in order to house and treat the birds until they are ready for release. With poisoning cases, this is usually a 2 week period, however, with electrocutions or birds that have had surgery to mend a broken wing, it could be several months before the bird is fit for release. We find that every case is unique, and we go through great care to ensure that the best approach is followed to ensure that the birds can get back into the wild as soon as possible.

Raffel prize

and for the lucky winner...


Lowveld trail running and Isambane Camp have set up a little surprise hamper as well as a 2-Night stay for the winner of our running for conservation raffel, who will be announced on the race day, at the end of the event. You may also sign up for the race last minute as well as participate in the raffle. Every step counts to make a brighter future for our wildlife.

On the day of the event we will announce the raised amount where the EWT Raptor Emergency Fund project coordinators: Lindy Thomson and John Davies, will be present to collect the raised funds and respond to any questions that you may have about the project.

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