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Friday, September 24, 2010


22nd September 2010

It is now 10 years since the implementation of the Land Reform Programme and the very few game farms we have left, are still being invaded.

I recently paid a visit to Denlynian and Tamari Wildlife Farm in the Beit Bridge area, after receiving reports that this property was invaded by a group calling themselves "Zhove Conservancy Co-operative." The members of this group include Police, Army, Civil Servants, Rural Council Employees, War Vets and ZANU PF activists.

The invaders have spent the past 10 years vandalising the properties and slaughtering the wildlife which was previously quite abundant. They have been especially targeting zebra and eland. The eland population has dropped from 973 to 374 - a loss of 560 animals and the zebra population has fallen from 871 to 163 - a loss of 708 animals. The invaders have slaughtered 300 zebra for their skins in the past 2 months alone.

The owners of the properties checked with the Deeds Registry and found that there is no such organization as the Zhove Conservancy Co-operative registered. They took legal action against the invaders and the courts ruled that the invaders be evicted but this has been ignored and the police are reluctant to assist.


In addition to the decimation of the wildlife, the invaders have also burnt approximately 200 hectares of trees, most of which have been standing for the past 300 years. No Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out and they are creating an ecological disaster. The game farms are situated in a low rainfall area which is only suitable for wildlife and the ecosystem there is now so fragile that if the land is tilled, the soil will end up in the river.

7km of 16 strand game fencing has been stolen to make wire snares - making a total of 112 km of wire. All that remains of the game fencing are the bare poles.
We have just received an update that 7 animals were killed last weekend, comprising eland, impala and wildebeest and the slaughter is continuing as we speak.

Thanks to the donations we received of M99, a wire snare was removed from a buffalo bull on Dett Vlei recently.

Esther van der Meer of Painted Dog Conservation was alerted to the fact that a buffalo bull was wandering around with a copper wire snare around its neck. Esther, with the assistance of her husband and Peter Blinston darted the animal and successfully removed the snare.


Ten elephants were burned to death during a bush fire at Derbyshire Ranch in Shangani, Matabeleland South Province.
It is alleged that widespread bush fires have engulfed much of Zimbabwe and most of them are started deliberately, mainly by hunters to clear the bushes. In the past few weeks, ten people have also died as a result of the bush fires.


On the 6th September, a Kariba resident, Geoff Blyth was attacked by an elephant. Geoff, who does a lot of work assisting with snare removals etc., was riding his bicycle for exercise along the Power Line Road near Chawara in Kariba when he saw an elephant cow nearby in the bush. To his horror, the elephant started to charge him. He pedalled as fast as he could to try and get away but then the bicycle chain came off so he jumped off the bicycle and started running for his life. He couldn't find anywhere to take refuge and the elephant was gaining on him so he threw himself into a shallow ditch full of sand by the side of the road.

He curled up in a foetal position and the elephant pinned him down with her knee and ran her left tusk through his back. Her right tusk pierced his upper thigh, just missing his femoral artery. She finally backed off and Geoff was rushed to hospital in Harare where he had to undergo surgery.

Geoff was very lucky to escape with his life and he attributes this to the sand he was lying in which cushioned him against the weight of the elephant.

There has been a lot of shooting of elephants, not only in Kariba but country-wide and due to this, the elephants have become extremely skittish and dangerous. We would like to warn everyone to exercise extreme caution when elephants are in the vicinity.


Three weeks ago, 13 elephants were killed by a gang of poachers in the Hurungwe Safari area.

National Parks have recovered 8 of the tuskless carcasses and are still searching for the remaining five.

On the 10th September, Hurungwe and Guruve Police arrested the gang of 9 poachers after they tried to evade the police at a road block. Upon searching their vehicle, the police found 25 tusks, elephant tails, an unlicenced rifle and machetes.
In March, 10 elephant carcasses were found in Gonarezhou National Park and it is believed that international poachers were behind the crime.

7 suspected rhino poachers were arrested in the Chiredzi area recently and a 303 rifle fitted with a silencer, telescopic sight and a carbine was recovered. The suspects consisted of 3 South Africans and 4 Zimbabweans.

The latest poaching activities in the Save Valley Conservancy resulted in the death of a rhino, leaving its calf badly wounded by gunshots. National Parks have deployed a team that is currently on high alert following the heightened poaching activities.


We are very pleased to announce that Dawie Groenewald and his wife, Sariette of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris were arrested in South Africa in connection with rhino poaching.

They were arrested on Monday along with a professional hunter, Tielman Erasmus, 2 veterinarians, Dr Karel Toet and Dr Manie du Plessis, and Toet's wife, Marisa.

Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris have been linked to unethical and illegal hunting for several years and were banned from hunting in Zimbabwe in 2004.

Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 712 603 213



The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.

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