It is with great sadness that we must say farewell to Viv Wilson the
Founder of Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Bulawayo.
Chipangali is a wildlife sanctuary for animals which stand little
chance of survival in the wild. Animals, which have either been
orphaned, abandoned, injured, born in captivity or brought up
unsuccessfully as pets. It is often the last refuge for those brought
in sick or injured, and increasingly it is a sanctuary for confiscated
Vivian Wilson and his late wife Paddy established the wildlife
Orphanage in 1973.
Chipangali is not a zoo; it offers a home to orphaned, abandoned and
sick wild animals. When possible, rescued animals and birds are
rehabilitated and returned to the wild. If safe release into their
natural habitat is not possible, animals are cared for and kept for
educational purposes and study. Endangered species may undergo captive
Viv and Paddy were also very involved in establishing breeding groups
of endangered African wildlife, research into wildlife and ecology,
and education of the public, particularly children, in all fields of
conservation. In addition, Viv carried out surveys on the distribution
of Cheetah in Zimbabwe and on protection of the Chirinda forest.
Mr. Wilson, a biologist, won the Rolex Enterprise Award in 1987 for
his research on the duiker. He was a former chairman of Zimbabwe Parks
and Wildlife Board.
Viv wrote his wonderful book "Orphans of the wild" followed by an
informative compendium on "Duikers of Africa" and in turn a book was
written about Viv entitled "A Man For All Species".
Chipangali has been featured in countless documentaries and is now
world renowned for its pioneering work and is famed as one of Africa's
largest and most successful wildlife rehabilitation/release centres.
The Orphanage runs a Volunteer program, the Wildlife Experience
Programme, which encourages young people from anywhere in the world to
come and gain hands-on experience with caring for wild animals.
The word Chipangali comes from the Chinyanja language in eastern
Zambia where Viv Wilson originally began his career with the Zambia
Government as a tsetse-fly control operator. It is here that the whole
concept of Chipangali was born and derived. The word means 'open
Chipangali founder Viv Wilson and his wife Paddy retired from the
active side of running the Orphanage over ten years ago, in order to
devote more time to urgent wildlife research projects. Viv has been
the leading instigator of several unique projects, such a ten-year
survey of the duikers of Africa, which culminated in the 800-page
masterpiece named Duikers of Africa, Masters of the African Forest
Recently Viv expanded his research activities to include a survey of
the leopard and cheetah of Zimbabwe, the biodiversity of the Matobo
National Park and the formation of the CRI (Carnivore Research
Her Royal Highness, Diana, Princess of Wales was Chipangali's patron
from 1983 until her sad death, when the Princess Diana Trust took over
the role. In addition, the conservation activist and ex-actress,
Stephanie Powers is a patron and Ambassador for Chipangali in the USA.
Viv was one of Bulawayo's very special people, a true gentleman,
always with a giant friendly smile, always one to remember a name and
Viv made an impact on almost every man, woman and child in Zimbabwe.
His love for animals and his dedication to their welfare made him
Indeed we can safely call Vivian J. Wilson a legend, his absence will
leave an immense gap in the Bulawayo Community.
Please note that the memorial service for Viv will be held at
Chipangali on Saturday 15 September at 11.00 am