I often get asked why I am involved with Friends of Hwange Trust? Why spend so much time fundraising and why specifically Hwange? The answer is quite simple. Someone has to do it and why not me? I’ve always had a passion for the bush and wish I could spend more time in it…
In 2005, after a severe drought, we heard that Hwange National Park was suffering due to lack of water, and my wife and I decided to go and assess the situation for ourselves. What we found was truly shocking – there were many dead and dying animals and abandoned young. Predators were so gorged many of them could hardly walk.
It was time to get involved and do something to help, and we were reminded of an African saying that states “if a person thinks a single, small, thing does not make a difference they obviously have not spent the night with a mosquito.” Together with a few concerned friends we started raising money to repair water pumps and supply the diesel to run them. Since then we have tried to find green solutions to the Hwange water problem, and asides from dealing with all things related to the pans and water supply, have expanded our operations to include repair and maintenance of roads, burning of firebreaks and help with the deployment of anti-poaching patrols. We work closely with Parks staff, many of whom are loyal and hard working despite little remuneration or recognition, and we assist them wherever we can.
Some people indicate they will only support us when the situation in Zimbabwe is more stable. But by then it may well be too late – either the wildlife will have been decimated or the need to help will have ceased. Many times we are humbled by the generosity of those who don’t have much to spare but give what they can – rest assured, every cent helps. Sometimes a large donation arrives out of the blue – the worth simply cannot be measured.
The few people that truly care are in the minority and hence we sometimes feel we are just delaying the inevitable rather than finding a solution to the problem. For me personally I accept that part of the responsibility to ensure that future generations of animals are born free in a natural habitat large enough for them to be truly wild lies with me. And when I die part of my estate will be left to the “Hwange National Park Impala Family” as they are great barometers of a healthy environment.
I derive pleasure from the fact that the animals we assist show no gratitude nor do they feel indebted to us in any way. If we step out of line in the bush, we’ll pay the price. It is after all their home and we should respect that.
To donate please visit our donations page.