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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From Nikki and Geoff Blyth

To those that care.....

I have been a resident of Kariba for 18 years, and have always taken a
great interest in our wildlife and it's preservation here. Particularly
our 'tame' ele population. We have subsequently been involved in numerous
operations to dart and desnare a number of elephant (and zebra and
buffalo ) over the years, and have been rewarded for our efforts by
seeing those same ele up and about without the pain and suffering of that
snare and injury.

Recently I sent out a mail about the slaughter of these ele's to feed
Mugabe's starving army.

Now, thru the auspices of the jag mail address, and to add to the very
good mail by "PH" which is below....... I would like to point out that
the statements, made by 'certain persons' that they ( zim govt ) are
killing two birds with one stone when shooting the ele for rations
because they are also helping to reduce their overpopulated numbers.....
fails to state that the elephant that are being taken out, are easily
accessible ( and relatively tame and human orientated ) elephant from the
Kariba National Park area and the Kariba town environs. In other words,
'easy meat' for them to get at, as they are being shot from the side of
the road, ( +/-15 mtrs ) or at most not less than 200mtrs off the roads
and tracks in and around Kariba.

Certainly not from areas that need to be depopulated, and which would be
far too much hard work and effort on behalf of National Parks and the
ZNA. when it comes to the logistical problems involved.

So far at least 9 have been slaughtered, and it took place over the
Christmas and New Year holiday season. Identification of the various
carcasses just off the main roads has already been made. I can locate at
least another 15 that have been shot during last year..... most of which
have been eaten for 'celebratory' purposes .....? And I am led to believe
that the program will continue and that up to 40 will be culled
altogether! Which actually means that in due course kariba's ele
population, including the ones we have already saved from a slow death
from snares, and our favourite ("Stompie"....who lost his tail to a croc
attack some years back, and is exceptionally tame ) will all land up in
the 'pot', and will no longer be the huge attraction that drew in

In fact, this time of the year (Jan/Feb) is normally the time of the
Gathering of the Bulls....where anything up to 25 and 30 animals could be
seen in individual herds on the floodplain of Chawara and Kaburi and in
and around Kariba. This year there is not a SINGLE elephant to be seen
around, particularly on the floodplain..... and they are very conspicuous
by their absence.

Over the last 6 months in fact they have been slowly but surely
disappearing..... and now with this new program ( the last was where up
to 60 were to be shot to feed the National Parks Croc Farm project ), and
because of the thick green vegetation, what was once a common site in
Kariba, is now a thing of the past.....? Those that are left are
literally hiding in the thick bush, or have fled to safer pastures!

And once the elephant have all been slaughtered, it will then be the turn
of the buffalo, hippo and any other of the remaining species, so long as
this country remains in it's downward spiral. What's new in Africa....
and why worry about Zambian poachers, when we have the starving ZNA and
the Department of National Parks and Wildlife ( Destruction )..... as I
now refer to them do all the damage.

What a sad reflection on the state of affairs that exists here. And the
future we hoped to have in the way of wildlife, for our future
generations? And to add insult to the injury to our elephants, it is
reported on the google news, that hunters from overseas ( I believe UK
and Europe ) will be coming out on the invite of the Zim National Parks,
to help 'cull' the elephant in a bizarre hunting program that will see
the 'hunters' paying huge amounts of foreign currency ( In the region of
five thousand pounds per ele ) to 'kill' an ele, and only to be allowed
the priviledge of a 'pic' as memory thereof, with tusks, meat and skin
going to National Parks. (To feed starving army and fill their depleted
f/c coffers! ).

So they are actually assisting in this disgraceful exercise...? Aiding
and abbetting the zim government in their slaughter program.

So not only is the Mugabe regime reducing the numbers of it's human
population, (Operations Gukuruhundi and Muramvatswina, the farm
invasions and now cholera) but also that of our National Parks elephant.

Herewith PH's comments:
(From the Diaspora:)
Back to the ridiculous: "Let them eat potatoes' Mugabe was reported as
saying some years back when there was a maize shortage. " We have plenty
of potatoes." Apparently we have plenty of elephants too and the jumbos
are being slaughtered to provide food for Zimbabwe's soldiers. No maize,
no potatoes, no, like the punchline of a very poor joke, Let
them eat elephants!

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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