Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

After driving from Hwange NP to Victoria Falls, we visited the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT).  The CEO is Jessica Dawson. As a souvenir, we handed over anaesthetics and awakening medication that Heidi Götzl had donated through our association. These medicines are very expensive and essential for the rescue or transport of injured wild animals.

Jessica took a lot of time to inform us about the tasks of the VFWT (

  • Rescue and Rehabilitation Program injured or orphaned wildlife

For example, the Trust has its own infirmary, which is looked after by the wildlife veterinarian Dr Chris Foggin. Two animals that came to the station as babies (Judge the vulture and Sylvester the cheetah), which can no longer be released into the wild, are used for teaching, especially for children as wildlife ambassadors.

  • Wildlife Research                                                                                                                      

 "Wildlife research plays a key role in finding sustainable solutions for long term conservation. Increasing human populations places strains on environmental resources, including wildlife habitat."

  •  Wildlife Disease and Forensic Labaratory

This is not only extremely important for laboratory chemical and histological examinations of injured or diseased wild animals. It also serves to combat wildlife crime.  For example, ivory seized through genetic analyses can also be concretely assigned to killed elephants.

  • Community Outreach according to the motto: 

"If we are to be successful in the long-term conservation of wildlife and natural resources we have to work with people."

Right at the entrance of the institute we were greeted very kindly by the wildlife ambassador, the white-backed vulture Judge.

"In late December 2013 a white backed vulture fledgling was found at the base of a tree in the Zambezi National Park and brought to The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust‘s facilities, it was very ill and unable to fly. Slowly we were able to improve the bird’s health and get it to both eat and drink on its own. Unfortunately, its wing was severely deformed, suspected as a result of a collision with another vulture or toxicity when it was still in the nest. The vulture (now called “Judge”) will never be able to fly, so the Trust agreed to look after Judge for the remainder of her life. .... Through training as a fledgling, Judge has become an ‘Ambassador for Vultures’, educating local school children and teachers about the critical need for vulture conservation through our weekly Conservation Education Program. (


We handed over the wildlife anaesthesia drugs to Jessica Dawson. fltr. CEO Jessica Dawson, Dr Wolfgang Hennig, Dr Gisela Hennig, Dr Richard Hoare

Jessica Dawson explained to us in detail the different projects of her organisation.

Every piece of equipment in the lab is explained, which of course was of particular interest to us as doctors.

With this small device, genetic analyses can be carried out, which is very important not only forensically.

There is a seriously ill little kudu in the infirmary right now. The previously missing appetite seems to be coming back.