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Friday, December 19, 2008



5th December 2008

2008 is now drawing to a close and one cannot help but bitterly remember the tragic shooting of Tusker, aka Dustbin after the last New Year's Party in Charara, Kariba. Thousands of people around the world mourned the death of this very special elephant.

For those who do not know, he was teased and tormented mercilessly by drunken youths and when he retaliated by turning a couple of cars over, he signed his own death warrant. We found out later that fruit had been thrown under the cars "to see what the elephant would do". The authorities decided that even though he had never killed anyone during his 30 years in Charara, it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt and he was shot on the 6th January 2008.

In an effort to stop any further New Year parties from taking place in Charara, which is a National Park area designated for wildlife, we presented the Chairman of Charara with a petition signed by over 1600 people.

We now believe our petition has been ignored by the National Anglers' Union, who are the organizers and the party is going to take place this year as usual. We would like to issue a warning to parents that this party is not a legal gathering and judging by reports from previous parties, drugs and alcohol will be readily available. We would also remind parents that 2 girls were raped last year after drugs were slipped into their drinks. One of these girls had a bad reaction to the drug and narrowly escaped death. The nearest medical facilities are 40 km away.

There are still some elephants in the Charara area and it is very likely that they will walk into the camp during the party, looking for food, as in past years, the organizers have made no attempt to prevent this. These elephants are not as good-natured as Tusker was. Several elephants have been shot in the area this year and those remaining are skittish. We can guarantee that if they are subjected to hairs being pulled out of their tails, fireworks and beer cans being thrown at them, cigarettes being stubbed out on them, headlights being flashed in their eyes and cars being rammed into their legs as Tusker was, they will do more than just turn over a few cars. The youngsters will be lucky to escape with their lives.

We strongly urge all parents to think very carefully before allowing your children to attend this party, which is just a tragedy waiting to happen.

Johnny RodriguesChairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065Mobile: 263 11 603 213

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