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Elephant Poaching Update

Elephant Poaching Update

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Majestic Elephant Bull. Image Dave Dell

There have been disturbing reports stating that disgruntled rangers in Hwange National Park are responsible for the poisoning and mutilation of elephants. While we cannot definitively disprove this, there are a number of allegations that don’t correlate to facts we know to be true. There are also some statements that make little sense and some that we know to be outright fabrication. We can confirm the following:

 

As regards 11 elephants poisoned in the Main Camp area of the Park, certain parks staff that were implicated have been apprehended, and investigations are ongoing. Further, as regards ivory that was intercepted at Harare International Airport, 3 Parks staff members have been arrested pending further investigation.

 

As regards poaching incidents in the Sinamatella region of the Park involving the poisoning and subsequent mutilation of elephants, we know the following:

 

None of the staff at Sinamatella have been implicated in either of the two poaching incidents known to have occurred in that region. In both cases, poachers were disturbed by parks patrols (rangers) and fled. Because the poachers were interrupted, they did not manage to recover all the ivory, most of which was left behind at the scene. In the first instance, the tracks of the poachers led towards the boundary of the Park. Similarly in the second instance, the tracks of 3 men led to the communal areas bordering the Park.

 

There is a big follow up operation as regards the source of the cyanide used, the middle man involved and where the cyanide ended up. The outcome of this will hopefully provide valuable information as to exactly who is involved in the poisoning of Hwanges elephants.

 

The poaching of elephants has been moving progressively south through Africa for decades. Corruption in Zimbabwe is rife, and abject poverty widespread. The monetary rewards of poaching are enticing. So the task we have ahead to save our precious wildlife is daunting and extremely urgent. Friends of Hwange Trust will continue to work towards the conservation of all the animals in Hwange in whatever ways we can.

All in a Day’s Work

All in a Day’s Work

ANIMAL RESCUE

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A four year old elephant stuck deep in mud
Image G Cantle

In the course of his work, Gary is quite often called upon to rescue animals trapped in mud. Whilst drinking and bathing, elephants churn up tons of soil, which, when the water recedes, leaves black, sticky sludge in the bottom of the pan – a potential death trap for young animals searching for a drink or to play in the mud. We asked Gary how he goes about rescuing such animals, and this is what he said:

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Hwange Dry Season

Hwange Dry Season

For those that have not visited Hwange in the dry season, let us set the the scene:

 

Leafless trees stretch their branches to the cloudless sky in a silent plea.

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Stubby grass tufts and dry twigs crackle and snap underfoot. Carpets of crunchy leaves, red, orange and brown dance and whirl like mini dervishes in the wind. The heat at midday is breathless, when temperatures soar and even the birds stop their endless song and busy foraging for fat seeds and hapless insects. This is Hwange dry season.

 

Elephants dominate the pans and water holes. They are at the top of the drinking chain due to their size of course. They start arriving about midday, a flow of breeding herds, 20 or 30 in a group, endlessly coming

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