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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

EARLY DAYS AT HWANGE

EARLY DAYS AT HWANGE: Ted Davison, as most know, was the first warden of the newly proclaimed "Wankie Game Reserve", in 1928 and he served as the first warden for 33 years. In the foreward to Ted’s marvelous book "WANKIE: The Story of a Great Game Reserve", he is described by Prime Minister Ian Smith as the person who "probably did more than anyone else in Rhodesia for the preservation and development of our wild game and the promotion of Wankie as one of the great tourist attractions of this world".

Connie Davison, Ted’s wife has written some pages towards a book she hoped would be published but her writings were never published. Her son John in Pinetown, RSA, has a file of her typed pages and transcribes these for the WEZ newsletter from time to time. The first two episodes, "Pet’s and "Camp Followers" were sent earlier as attachments to the newsletter, but can be resent on request.

(Note** The following paragraph was written by John Davison to accompany these episodes)

Although rightly so, Ted Davison's many years in Wankie stand as a fitting memorial to his single minded determination and love of the bush (along with a huge measure of tolerance from Connie his lifelong wife and companion), but it needs also to be recalled that after he left Main Camp he led the team of dedicated wildlife professionals and its first convoy of lorries down to and back from Imfulosi in KwaZulu Natal upon which eight White Rhino were translocated in the then longest road translocation ever of these wonderfull creatures back to Zimbabwe, four to Kyle and four to Matopas (Matobo).The species had been regionally extinct in Zimbabwe for over 90 years yet it is depicted on many widespread San ( Bushmen) rock paintings as well as being documented in hunters writings as being quite plentiful - even along the Dett Vlie where the Hwange Safari Lodge now stands. For Rhino of either species to once again become regionally extinct in Zimbabwe would be unthinkable and a huge indictment on conservationists the world over -John Davison.)

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