In October 2007, W.A.G. received funding from the German organization Rettet die Elefanten Afrikas e.V. ('Safe the African Elephant'; www.reaev.de), to start an conservation project in Dedza-Salima F.R..
The "Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve Eco-system Rehabilitation Project" is the second major project of the Wildlife Action Group and is essentially an expansion of our Thuma Forest Reserve Project.
The main objective of the Dedza-Salima Project equals the objective for the Thuma Project:
i.e. to protect the reserve's flora and fauna and to restore its ecological balance in co-operation with the communities around the reserve.
Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve is located directly South-East of Thuma F.R.; the Linthipe River being the boundary between the two reserves. The reserve has an elongated shape and covers an area of roughly 32.000 ha (320 km²).
Generally the topography, landscapes and vegetation are equal to what is found in Thuma F.R. and the separation by name of the two reserves is therefore only administrative; from the more important ecological point of view, the two reserves form one unit.
However, despite the above mentioned similarities, the differences in wildlife (mammal) species and numbers are shocking; years of almost total lack of law enforcement in the reserve have had a devastating effect on its wildlife.
Limunye Stream in Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve
But this doesn't mean the situation is hopeless, on the contrary: Thuma F.R. was in an equally bad state when the Wildlife Action Group started working there. Now however, Thuma F.R. is one of the best protected reserves in Malawi and wildlife numbers are reaching the levels only constrained by the carrying capacity of the area and not by the poaching pressure.
Despite having to start from scratch in Dedza-Salima F.R., W.A.G. is convinced that the same can be achieved there as we have achieved in Thuma F.R.. On the mid-term this should result in one protected area range of over 500km² (Thuma F.R. and Dedza-Salima F.R. together) with the potential to serve as one of the top strongholds of the African elephant and other wildlife in Malawi.