Celebrating Elephants On World Elephant Day

In an explosion of gold the sun caresses the new dawn

A symphony of bird song seduces the mellow morn

Silken spiderwebs as delicate as gossamer lace

Kissed by the sunshine in this magical place

Elephants herd running

Elephants full of unwavering honesty amble into the light

Bronzed by the sunshine….a magnificent sight

Mystery behind their wrinkled visage….a powerful life thread

The steaming earth pulsates with each massive tread

Deep elephant grumbles rolling like thunder on the sultry morning breeze

Flaxen dust hangs motionless… freckling russet leaves

Their grey coats wrinkled with passing time and wear

Eyes full of wisdom, compassion and……despair

Their Africa shaped ears thrown out wide

Versatile trunk tenderly cherishing a dusty calf shadowing her side

Sweet smelling elephant dung….steamed warm in the afternoon heat

Iconic giants of Africa…..light as dancers on their large padded feet

Amber eyes reflecting the warmth of the late evening glow

Magnificence on these giants….our maker did bestow

Mystical ivory steeped in greed and fears

A fusion of genes passed down over thousands of years

Large wrinkled rumps roll from side to side

An impenetrable wall of tusk and muscle…..they are Africa’s pride

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Whispers from the elephant world in their darkest hours of need

Time is of the essence….consumers of ivory take heed

A world without wild elephants…..my mind veers away

Let us celebrate these majestic animals

on World Elephant Day

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Celebrating the spectacular Indian and Asian elephants today

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Thank you Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife for your continued

training and support to the heroes on the front lines in the fight against

poaching.

‘Why Us’?….The Matriarch Asks

‘Why Us’? The Matriarch Asks

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‘Why Us’?  The Matriarch asks….a sorrowful look in her wise old

 eye

‘Is a tusk cursed head a good enough reason for elephants to die’?

My heart is pounding…..stretching tight

I hang my head in shame at the elephants plight

behind every carved piece of ivory, there is a story. A bloody barbaric story

Harmony in motion….these ancient and soulful beasts

Silhouetted against the golden dawn rising in the east

Tears trickle slowly reflecting their horror

Their nightmare of violence, pain and sorrow

Ripping flesh and pools of blood

Life force of Africa’s giants….lost in rivers of red mud

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The old Matriarch turns to amble away

Noble head hanging low….she weeps and sways

‘Why Us’? I hear her ask again

My shoulders feel heavy as I carry their pain

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Lumbering on….cloaked in deep wrinkles of splendour

A deep longing for peace in me she does engender

The old Matriarch turns…..I hear her raw sigh

‘Why Us’?…….she stares me straight in the eye

‘Are our creamy scythe like tusks a good enough reason to die’?

The golden sun hides behind the cloud wrapped sky

Riding the invisible wind…..a lonely sun beam cleaves the air

For these ancient beings…..my chest constricts with fear

Matriarch’s vulnerable soul exposed and open to the warm and sticky breeze

Her deep fissured trunk like a pendulum….showing her unease

These sentient creatures fanning their Africa shaped ears

Sharing their wisdom over many many years

A rich symphony of life….beguiled  by the noonday heat

A colliding of two giants where continent and elephant meet

Young calves caper under the wide electric sky

Flaxen dust hangs motionless as the tears escape from my eyes

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As the bleeding sunset casts out the remainder of the day

I beg of you….feel the elephants pain….do not walk away

Consumers of ivory….on you their survival depends

STOP buying ‘BLOOD IVORY’ and this mass slaughter will end

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The Wildlife and Rangers need our assistance:

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Rangers risk their lives to protect wildlife. We give them the skills and knowledge need to win

 

Salute Brave Rangers Salute

Mali’s elephants, one of just two remaining desert herds in the world, will be gone in three years unless something is done to halt the rampant poaching. The last aerial census in 2007 showed 350 animals.

Rory Young, through Chengeta Wildlife is providing  an essential training and support to these heroes on the front line in the fight against poaching.

Salute Brave Rangers Salute 

Dedicated to these brave heroes fighting the scourge of poaching….and my thoughts are with

the families who have lost their loved ones on the front line.

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Castellated mosques….towers stretching way up high

Tuaregs and their camel caravans…a mirage across the sky

A fiery sunset melting….searing the golden thread

Desert elephants fearful….as in silence they tread

On an epic quest for food and water….footprints of survival

Deeply  grooved trunks raised in silence…praying for dawn’s arrival

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The merciless drone of mosquitoes ….thick on the sultry breeze

Powerful colliding of two rivers….undulating with ease

Moonlight vanishes in the deep velvet of night

A haunting whoosh of night wings….eerie in the quiet

The eastern sky rises on a drop with a golden glow

Pirogues ply the channels….gallant against the flow

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The hissing heat of midday’s sun

Scorched desert sands of time shimmer as if one

Brave elephant warriors…..With steady hands and covered heads held high

The brutality of poaching…..no time for goodbyes

Brave men…..their hearts of courage to never pound again

Torn fields of the poaching war….too great the human stain

Silent…

Iridescent tears…..

A family broken in two

Coats of sadness….heavy on their shoulders….their worlds a darker hue

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Unite world unite….a force shining bright

A powerful energy behind these brave men….

These warriors of light

SALUTE BRAVE RANGERS SALUTE

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Chengeta Wildlife provides effective and relevant anti-poaching training to wildlife protection units all over Africa

Ensuring A Future

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I was approached about six weeks ago and asked if I would be prepared to share some descriptive writing passages from my Jennys Jumbo Jargon with a class of 9 to 10 year olds during their English lesson. I was thrilled. I spent roughly two and a half hours with this class full of hungry minds and I was captivated by Rebecca’s teaching methods and how responsive and inter-active the children were.

This coming Wednesday 25th, I am going back to this same class of children to talk to them about my blog, elephants and Chengeta Wildlife. We will then read through a couple of extracts from a few of my blogs and discuss their purpose, how they persuade and the different choices of vocabulary etc. I am beside myself with excitement at sharing my passion of Africa’s untamed splendour where earth drifts into heaven, elephants and of course Chengeta Wildlife…which I am honoured to be a part of.

One only has to look at the shrinking natural world to know that something has gone sadly amiss. This group of children that I will be spending time with are a minute part of the future and as custodians of the planet they need to embrace kindness and respect towards this earth. I have been privileged to grow up in this timeless land and can close my eyes at any given time and smell the sweet breath of the warm wind as it scoops up the flaxen dust before freckling it over my sun browned arms. I can listen carefully and hear the veld gently breathing before the silence shredding cicadas fill the afternoon. The feeling of awe and heart pounding joy of being in the presence of elephants as they rumble past leaving you with a warm musky scent of Africa filling your nostrils is tucked away safely…and brought out for those quiet times. There is a joy and curiosity in the delicate sun rays peeping through the wet canopy of trees and I am hoping for the same results from these kids on Wednesday.

I want them to close their eyes and fall under the spell of these ancient beings…to surrender and to be encompassed by the invisible aura that surrounds these magnificent animals and to share and feel their presence even though we are 7 000 miles away. I want these children to feel the magic that these animals exude as they reach deep into the human soul in a mysterious and mystifying way.

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Elephants are the largest land mammals on earth and also the most emotionally human. The breeding herd of females are led by the matriarch, a wise mature female whose herd rely totally on her experience, memory and good leadership to survive. These breeding herds will live and form bonds that are forged over fifty years and once the matriarch dies, the leadership is normally passed onto one of her daughters who has learnt the necessary skills to take on this important position in the herd. Their intricate and complex family values rival our own and these enormous creatures carry their large heavy hearts on their sleeves. The noisy exuberance and trumpeting of baby elephants at a waterhole will mirror the behaviour of a group of young human children in a play ground as both species tussle and push…overjoyed at the freedom of space and sunshine around them. Compare a sulking 10 year old elephant to a sulking 10 year old human…there are such close similarities in the rate of growth and behaviour of the different personalities in both species. The joy of a new family member and the gut wrenching sorrow of death affects both elephants and humans in the same way. There is something special and endearing about elephant calves they exude the very essence of life.

We will discuss the evils of this rampant destruction sweeping through the sun kissed bush of the Continent devouring these magnificent animals and other wildlife with the hunger and ferocious appetite of a Tsunami wave. Plants and all living creatures are functioning parts of the ecosystem and nature should be our teacher….and our guide. I will see the frowns on their little faces as I tell them that 100 elephants are killed every day..frozen in time… forever. This amounts to one every 15 minutes…all slaughtered for ivory bracelets, trinkets, chops sticks and carvings. We will examine the ‘true cost of ivory trinkets’. We will have a brief look at how the poaching is breaking the continuity of information that is passed down through the generations…information that is vital to the well being stability of the herd..

I will explain that I spend so many hours of my spare time writing my blogs and poetry as I cannot sit idle…pretending that this tragedy is not happening. Apathy is the biggest danger facing these sentient giants and other endangered species.

Training rangers in Malawi

The class will have spent time before my arrival having a look at the Chengeta Wildlife website. I will discuss the fact that Rory is a dad of two who is passionate about the wildlife and dedicated to preserving the African biodiversity. Rory has the knowledge, skills and ability to train the ‘anti poaching units’ in the different African countries enabling these rangers to confront the horrific and urgent problems of poaching head on. He is a selfless man driven by an urgency to share his knowledge to protect….not only the wildlife but the rangers themselves whose lives are at risk from these violent and ruthless poaching syndicates whose eyes are steaming in their own malice.  I am on Chengeta Wildlife’s board of directors and a part of our mission is to raise funds to enable Rory Young to share his knowledge and skills throughout Africa. We are an important part of creating a future for these animals…ensuring that your children will not be asking in 20 years time why elephants, lions and rhinos are only found in zoos.

These children will then discuss any other environmental challenges needing attention..deforestation, plight of the polar bears in the Arctic and I will be sharing some of their work with you all in the near future. Wish me luck and please keep sharing our Chengeta Wildlife website. Wednesday will be good practice before our presentation at a Rotarian dinner in March.

WE ALL HAVE A VOICE…HELP TO RAISE THE AWARENESS. YOU TOO CAN SUPPORT CHENGETA WILDLIFE.

Taking A Stand

 Take a stand for African Elephants and Rhinos

Within months of starting my Jennysjumbojargon journey, I realised that I did not want to be seen just as someone sharing ‘yellow pages of smudged memories’..I needed to be doing something more active. Words can be inadequate without any action. One of the highlights of the year for me was coming across Lisa Groenweg and Rory Young.  I had found and become totally involved in reading Rory Young’s blog.  ‘Anomie’s Child’ for me was like a soul open wide to the breeze and I read and re-read many different stories, embracing each of my favourites. There were times when I could feel the frustration gripping the words and sadness gnawing at the end of each sentence. Even from thousands of miles away, I could hear the passionate wind snaking through the grass while the throb of Africa pounded beneath my feet and the earthy, musty richness of fresh elephant dung lingered in my nostrils. It evoked warm memories of the vast wilderness of sun kissed grass, sturdy trees and elephants that had been tucked away for safe keeping and I realise that I am a passionate child of Africa..through and through and I will do what ever it takes to ensure that Chengeta Wildlife can continue to provide first class training to the anti-poaching units on the ground. Take a stand for African Elephants and Rhinos.

Lisa

Lisa is an amazing example of how one person can make a huge big difference. She was described as ‘A visionary with a heart of gold‘. A person who wants to change the lives of each and every individual she can.’ She started Chengeta Wildlife and 2014 has been the most incredible year. Like Lisa, we too can do our bit to help combat the horrors of poaching. Collectively, we can ensure the continuation of Chengeta Wildlife’s ability to adequately train and equip the necessary new generation of rangers required to assist the continuation of the circle of life in elephants, rhinos, lions and other wildlife within their natural habitats in Africa.

 one killed every 15 mins

‘In January of 2014, Chengeta Wildlife financed our first training session. 21 APU scouts from five different organisations in the Gache Gache area of Zimbabwe were trained by Rory. Many poachers were tracked, found, and arrested during the training session. Rory spent eighteen hours a day training and patrolling with the men. The strategy to stop poachers in the area was laid out in detail. With numerous other African countries expressing an interest, this initiative could potentially offer a significant boost to the continent’s success in reducing poaching.
‘A Field Manual for Anti-Poaching Activities is the most comprehensive, intelligent and pragmatic doctrine ever devised to bring the practice of poaching under control. Further, this doctrine utilises existing local resources and personnel with objective and low cost solutions.  50% of all proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to fund anti-poaching unit training and to provide anti-poaching unit rangers in Africa with free copies.’
Across Africa the scourge that is poaching is removing natural resources at an unprecedented rate. The southern African nation of Malawi is no exception to the hugely negative impacts of poaching on biodiversity and the natural ecosystem processes that sustain both people and wildlife. Starting at the end of August the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) and Chengeta Wildlife, supported by the UK’s Coventry University, partnered with Malawi’s Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) provided 20 days of anti-poaching training to senior staff working in Malawi’s national parks and wildlife reserves. The training was held at DNPW’s training centre in Liwonde National Park, located south of Lake Malawi.
Malawi trainees and Rory Young during “in-operations” phase of our anti-poaching training session. Poachers were arrested and an entire ivory poaching syndicate was taken down.
This training session was funded by individuals from around the world who decided to take a stand against poachers and the criminal syndicates that are making billions from the illegal trade of wildlife.
Another busy day in the lecture room at Sidokoro, Parc National de Haut Niger, Guinea.The theory phase has been amazing. From Director General level down to AP team leaders, from all over Guinea, the work is being taken very seriously and the discussions have been animated and indicate a high level of motivation and the determination to make the most of the opportunity.
‘This year we have managed to train over 120 DG’s, Directors, Wardens and Anti Poaching team leaders in West, Central, East and Southern Africa, in advanced anti poaching and wildlife protection strategies, techniques and skills.The men trained this year alone are training another 750 that we are currently aware of. But how many more will benefit? What will be the knock on from all of this? Incredible. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart to all of those who have supported Chengeta Wildlife this year. You really have achieved the
impossible.’
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The biggest highlight of my year was being approached by Lisa Groenweg and asked to sit on the Board of Directors. I am passionate about what Chengeta Wildlife stands for. Rory Young is an amazing and selfless man who gives strength in these times when lengthening shadows of corruption and greed are devouring the wildlife at an alarming rate. Chengeta Wildlife’s 2015 calendar is full to brimming with engagements. As 2014 has now closed, we need to continue to weave a future for these rangers and animals from a tangled past and we need all the help we can. Please look at our link and help if you can. Sharing the link is fundamental in reaching our fundraising target.
Rory Young is a passionate and committed activist who has been fighting the evils of poaching all his life. He is a dedicated man who has decided to make it his life’s mission to ensure that the rangers in the anti poaching units have the best possible training. Rory has been in the field for well over 20 years now and has honed his skills in the bush as a pro-safari guide and a top class tracking consultant. 
While Rory Young gives of his time to train these men throughout Africa, I am asking you to look at our website. Help us to train and equip these men on the ground. Change will come…but we cannot afford to drift in the stream of the world…we need to act now. Africa’s elephants and rhinos have reached tipping point…and we need to all play an active role so that we can lead them out of the dark.
To my Chinese readership, I thank you and sincerely hope that I have managed to convince you that ‘Ivory looks better on elephants’ and ‘Rhino Horn belongs to Rhinos.’ (Infographic gift to Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife).
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Survivors

DEDICATED TO ALL THOSE ELEPHANTS

THAT HAVE BEEN CALLOUSLY SLAUGHTERED FOR THEIR IVORY

As the morning sun lays a gentle hand across the valley, the young elephant cow remains hidden deep within the shadows of the thick bush. She is desperate to rinse off the uneasiness by bathing in the golden sunshine… but she is being pursued by heart wrenching echos and unsure of how to proceed. Lifting her muscular trunk, she inhales the sweet damp odour of rain on the breeze. Her coat of wrinkles hangs and there is a sadness in her eye as she fans her Africa shaped ears slowly. Her world seems crypt-quiet and motionless. She is 19 years old and the matriarchal duties that have been thrust onto her shoulders is a heavy burden for this young and inexperienced female to carry. It is essential that she is responsible enough to make some tough decisions in life for she must always consider, first and foremost, the well-being and safety of her family over and above the needs of any one individual that happens to fall on hard times. The small agitated herd are waiting impatiently…disturbed by the spirits of the dead as they are all moving into new realms of the unknown. A ravaging thirst has her leading them down to the fast flowing river where they take their fill washing down the choking and suffocating dust before disappearing back into the deep shadows of relative safety. The spell of the homeless winds whistles mournfully through the trees and the young matriarch in a moment of total self trust moves forward. Full of weighty concerns they ghost quietly through the bush, instinct urging her on ….she needs to weave a future for them all from this violent and tangled past.

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CONSUMERS OF IVORY….LISTEN IN ON THEIR WORLD

 A storm of memory has her temporal glands flowing and her heavy heart pounding violently against her rib cage as the currents of evil pulsate in the air. They slip through the shadows touching and caressing family members whose remains lie torn and bleeding into the dry earth. Squadrons of flies, excited by the smell of rotting flesh swarm hungrily over the carcasses. The young matriarch, a trumpet of rage piercing the thick air chases a cackle of hyenas that cavort and whoop loudly, long tendrils of spittle hanging from their ravenous mouths….but she is fighting a losing battle and the small desolate herd move on, vanishing across the twilight. The slow moving mist rises above the valley like an eerie phantom veil.

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Entombed….. the ivory tusks which have been cut into pieces are suffocating under dozens of kilograms of cashew nuts…and on route to China. Each piece of stolen ivory tusk carries with it…an air of sadness and a tale of suffering and death. The unlucky hosts of these pieces of ivory lie spreadeagled and rotting deep within the sun burnt African bush.

This Is The True Cost Of Ivory Trinkets

It is estimated that a seizure rate of 10% in a developed country is considered “good” for general goods contraband – which includes ivory. This suggests that so far this year, an estimated 177,993kg (178 tonnes) of ivory has been illegally trafficked representing 19,400 elephants killed.

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As the golden sunset casts out the remainder of a day, a young girl of 19, her raven black hair shimmering as it swings back and forth on her petite shoulders walks at a steady pace down the busy street, her high heels clipping the pavement with a delicate sound. Her slender arm is stretched out in front of her and she stares down, her dark brown eyes admiring the jewelry on her pale wrist. Creamy and intricately carved bangles jingle as she walks and a small smile of satisfaction sits happily upon her lips. IF IVORY COULD TALK….she would be able to picture the scene of mutilated and bloated carcasses rotting in the African bush. She would hear the terrified screams as bullets tear into flesh and the stench of their blood would fill her nostrils. Her heart would hammer painfully as the young matriarch whose older sisters and mother have been mown down to fulfill China’s demand for ivory is caught up in the evil web of human greed and deceit and unsure of how to lead her herd and keep them safe. She would look down on the ivory bangles encircling her wrist and feel their pain and sorrow searing into her flesh…..she would, I hope…..SAY NO TO IVORY and become a voice for the voiceless.

watermarked....elephants caught in the web of human deceit

Human Tragedies

 Some of Africa’s most notorious armed groups, including the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Shabab and Darfur’s janjaweed, are hunting down elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons and sustain their mayhem. Organized crime syndicates are linking up with them to move the ivory around the world, exploiting turbulent states, porous borders and corrupt officials from sub-Saharan Africa to China, law enforcement officials say.

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PLEASE DO NOT LOOK THE OTHER WAY

THE RANGERS AND THE WILDLIFE NEED OUR SUPPORT

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Chengeta Wildlife

The Tashinga Initiative

MAPP

War Against The Elephants

Elephants are fighting a battle of ‘survival’. A battle against humans and their sophisticated weapons is a fight that these elephants cannot win on their own. Humans are waging a war against these enigmatic animals because the elephants own something that humans want. WHY, I ask again. Holding my breath, ‘would you want to own something that is so symbolic of suffering and death?’

image of satoa from the Sunday Telegraph

Again, as I have mentioned before I feel like I am writing pages of inadequate words as I think sadly about the death of one of the last remaining tuskers, Satao. His rhythm of life has been rudely and savagely broken and his tusks butchered from his face. As the world watches, this devils highway is fast becoming a hauntingly lonely road of grey ghosts. Why, my mind screams do we think that we human beings have the right to wreck such havoc on this planet we call earth. Justice comes from the same place as being human: compassion. What will become of this magnificent elephant bull’s tusks? Where are they going to end up? His personal treasures will be smuggled out of Kenya and into a carving factory in China some 9 2014 km away. Here they will be carved and fashioned into trinkets: for humans.

What is it about an elephant’s tusks that make humans want to own a piece of them?  Is it that consumers of ivory want to hold onto a deep feeling of belonging or are they just trying to capture a piece of the magic that surrounds the elephant? I do not know why. We all know what poachers and traffickers make out of these filthy deals, but what makes the demand so unquenchable? What is it that makes this elongated cone like shapes of dentine so highly sought after?

Ivory, when it is dead has an uneasy grandeur about it. Nothing can come close to the beauty of ivory on an elephant. It has a warmth and lustre that pulses with life and personality. Ivory belongs to elephants and has no use to man. For whatever different reasons humans want to own a piece of ivory for we all know that it comes at a great cost to the unfortunate elephants that supply the demand. Hundreds and thousands of these sentient creatures come under fire every year. Their tusks, ruthlessly butchered from their faces to feed the bottomless pit that the ivory demand has become. Elephants and other wildlife are irreplaceable riches and have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

Every muscle in my body tightens, and my mind screams at me. THIS IS WRONG and it is UNACCEPTABLE. As human beings, can they not see that what they are doing is morally wrong? These magnificent and sentient creatures are more compassionate than the human predators that are wrecking such destruction and havoc. In 2012, some 35 000 elephants were cruelly slaughtered to feed the demand for ivory.  With China and Thailand’s increasing affluence, as well as an expanding middle class elsewhere in Asia, the demand for ivory and rhino horn is out of control. When the two-legged being gets greedy, the animals will disappear: sad but true.

We all need to turn east and face the dawn. Our beloved African bush and walking treasures are under attack. We, as compassionate and caring people can play a part in the fight against poaching, no matter how small. My heart and passion lies firmly with these magnificent animals no matter in which country they leave their footprints on the sand.  I am also patriotic about my home country Zimbabwe and have been privileged enough to have spent many sun kissed days on Kariba and in the Zambezi valley where in both destinations, we have been fortunate enough to witness these giants on many occasion.  I do all that I can do to raise awareness of the rampant poaching sweeping through the continent. I also raise awareness for Chengeta Wildlife whose mission is to empower local law enforcement in Africa in the fight against the poaching of Elephants.

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One last thought, ‘as the warm rays of sun pay their last respects to what has been a glorious day in this sun burnt land, the heavy silence of loss ushers twilight into darkness. The African bush could be facing a future minus the very essence that adds to its magic.’

ODE TO SATAO…(my poem)

 

Rays Of Hope

As we look around the world today, we can’t help but observe that not only are  humans destroying millions of their own kind in the name of politics, power and religion, they are also hell bent on annihilating animal life and the environment. Both violence towards people and animals for many of the two legged beings has become a socially acceptable form of human behaviour and sadly, a way of life. Is it permanent? NO..I live in HOPE..that some sanity will prevail and kinder days are waiting just around the corner.

Footprints

Nothing will ever beat watching an elderly elephant bull, his large ivory tusks weighing down his massive head as he romances the Zambezi river line or a herd of females with their young calves with waving and out of control trunks. These images leave an everlasting imprint on the mind. To view these magnificent animals in their natural surrounds is truly like balm on the soul and fills one’s heart with hope. Hope that we can all help to keep our  Zambezi Valley free of rampant poaching.

Where there is the dawning of a new day, there is Hope. Hope is a feeling that is not always permanent, but it is a feeling that we know means, that we will all survive the darkness and bask in the golden sunrise once again. It does not take away that feeling of horror that comes with the knowledge of another elephant or rhino butchered, but it does remind us that where there is a dawn with rhinos and elephants: there is hope. Hope Dawning (my poem).

I feel sad and disgusted that humans have allowed themselves to travel on the perilous journey into the underworld. As these clouds of despair drift down over Africa, we cannot allow ourselves to be shaped by the buffeting winds. We can all play an important role during these dark times of destruction.

Footprints

Ivory, when it is dead has an uneasy splendour about it. Nothing can come close to the beauty of ivory on an elephant. It has a warmth and lustre that pulses with life and personality. Ivory belongs to elephants and has no use to man. For whatever different reasons humans want to own a piece of ivory for: we all know that it comes at a great cost to the unfortunate elephant herds who supply the demand. Hundreds and thousands of these sentient creatures are slaughtered and mutilated to feed the demand. Elephants and other wildlife are irreplaceable riches and now have no where to run to and nowhere to hide. They need our protection.

The haunting cry of the ‘coucal’ is often overpowered by the the unwelcome ‘ k-k-k-k-k’, an irate bark from a machine gun. These are not random thugs after a piece of bush meat. These are highly organised gangs who poach for profit which in turn funds terrorist activities. The Rangers in Africa are often underpaid and ill-equipped as they fight to protect our precious wildlife.

Going on patrol is like doing a duty on the front line and just as, if not more dangerous. They are braced for the continual onslaught but need our help. Without donation support, they are unable to run a well oiled business. These Wildlife Warriors need comprehensive training and the resources to carry out their important work. These brave men and woman are up against towering storm clouds that threaten our wildlife’s existence. However, where there is a dawn with Rangers, there is hope.

Footprints

rory and co

HOPE also comes in the form of Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife who offer first class training to the Anti poaching teams. The fate of Africa’s elephants along with other wildlife hangs by a thread. It is on this thread that we as custodians of the earth need to concentrate and secure.  A project that is close to the heart of all wildlife lovers is The Tashinga Initiative whose anti poaching teams are custodians of the Zambezi Valley and more. This gives us hope for our wildlife. Let us support these men on the ground. There are many selfless and dedicated people out there who have been involved in conservation, and without them these magnificent animals would surely have been lost to the world.  Each and every person dedicating some of their time to saving the elephants and other wildlife are needed and appreciated. Each and every one of them brings something different to the table, but they also bring hope.

Smoke Screen

These magnificent and soulful elephants can protect themselves and their families against predators and scavengers but they cannot fight against the rampant poaching that is sweeping the continent. For those of you who have been fortunate enough to meet with these magnificent giants in the African bush and have been privileged enough to catch a glimpse of the elephants unwavering honesty, compassion and intelligence will never forget that moment, or them. Listen and hear the Elephant song. (my poem) Elephants, for me are the essence of Africa and a great subject for debate. We all love Zimbabwe’s bush with it’s bewitching beauty and teeming wildlife.

From the ‘smoke that thunders’ (Victoria Falls) down to the mighty Limpopo, the sheer ruggedness of the granite dwalas will leave you breathless. Open a car window to let a fresh flow of air through and you will never forget the silence shredding cacophony of the cicadas or the mournful  call of the rain bird (coucal) and the chuckle of the laughing dove. Deep wells of memories and desires weave a bridge between the future and the past but we need to concentrate on the present.

Footprints

In Africa an elephant is slaughtered every 15 minutes. Through out the continent elephants are fighting for survival: a fight that is obscured in political murk and corruption. Elephant populations have declined in tragic numbers and sadly they are not the only wildlife under constant attack. Rhinos are also being slaughtered at an alarming rate and stats in South Africa have been horrific.

China has close business ties with Zimbabwe and is also the largest supplier of arms to the powers that be in Zimbabwe. Is Mugabe dependent on China? We are also aware that China is the biggest consumer of ivory and what does this mean for our Zimbabwean elephants?

The Obama administration in February published a national strategy for combating the multibillion-dollar poaching industry, relying on many of the same tactics used against terrorist organizations and drug cartels. The plan outlines a “whole of government approach” that includes working with other countries to increase the number of investigations and arrests, using high-tech gear to identify poaching hot spots, and targeting the bank accounts of wildlife traffickers and the corrupt bureaucrats who assist them.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries along with Mozambique, Tanzania and Sudan where elephants are slaughtered with complete indifference. Zimbabwe, due to political and militarized seizing of protected areas is at risk of becoming a smoke screen for ivory and rhino horn poachers. This is according to a non profit group’s report that investigates government collusion in wildlife trafficking.

Footprints

What is the future? Life will go on on this harsh and timeless land. Hiding behind the mask of civilization, we need to ask ourselves a question.While the world watches, are we going to allow our country to become a hauntingly lonely bush full of ghosts?Courage does not have to be a gigantic roar. Let us stand up for our wildlife and support the brave men on the ground.

rory and co

Chengeta Wildlife offer first class training and have just finished doing two weeks of intensive anti poaching tactics in Gache Gache.

Tashinga picture

 

The Tashinga Initiative defines support to the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s current protection and management programme in the Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe.

‘The present socio-economic crisis however, has presented numerous challenges to maintaining conservation integrity and the continuity of community wildlife protection efforts.’

Like never before these animals and the different conservation groups need our support and help. Let us not look the other way while the fiery sunsets usher evenings into lonely nights devoid of wildlife.We are all fleeting shadows on the wall of time and let us ensure that we take nothing but our memories and leave a legacy of wildlife for our children’s children to see.

elephant quotes...and pic 1

DISTANT MEMORIES

Many memories have been stored away from our numerous trips floating down the magnificent and rather forbidding Zambezi river. I have been embraced by the warm sultry breeze and lain under the African half moon hanging suspended in the endless sky. They say,’ once you have been bitten by the mosquito, you cannot get Africa out of your blood.’ Well I can certainly vouch for that. There is nothing more awe inspiring than the seductive lapping of water against the boat and the melancholy call of the fish eagle as he spreads his wings cruising the empty air pockets. BUT: nothing will ever beat watching an elderly elephant bull, his large ivory tusks weighing down his massive head as he romances the river line. A river line that has been shaped over time by the rough caresses of fast flowing waters. These images leave an everlasting imprint on the mind.  To view these magnificent animals in their natural surrounds is truly like balm on the soul.

Footprints

These imprints on my mind are now over eight years old and they do not fade. However that is what they are : only imprints and distant memories. This leads to questions that leave a lump the size of a large green apple lodged in my throat. If we don’t stop this rampant poaching…what does the future hold? I have seen these animals in the wild and am so scared that they will become just that…and imprint and distant memory. Portraits of a ravaged land by Nick Brandt says it all.

Footprints

The fate of Africa’s elephants along with other wildlife hangs by a thread. It is on this thread that we as custodians of the earth need to concentrate and secure. There are many selfless and dedicated people out there who have been involved in conservation, and without them these magnificent animals would surely have been lost to the world.  Each and every person dedicating some of their time to saving the elephants and other wildlife are needed and appreciated. Each and every one of them brings something different to the table. The Tashinga Initiative in Zimbabwe is a cause close to my heart and guys we salute you all. You are doing an amazing job under difficult circumstances.

While habitat loss is a real threat to these animals, nature has always had ways of keeping their numbers under control. Severe droughts would ravage the land and a large percentage of elephants throughout the entire elephant populations in the region would be lost. During these harsh and stressful times, elephant cows do not conceive, and with the losses from the drought the pressure on the land is relieved. These natural disasters, though cruel are efficient in keeping down the numbers. However mother nature and her hot dry winds are not where the biggest problem lies.

Footprints

Corruption and greed are decimating Africa’s elephants. The men on the ground need our support. They cannot fight this war on their own. African Governments also need to take action and to be a part of the solution. Those with clout need to stop the demand so that poaching makes no economical sense at all. But while all these cogs are turning, we need to ‘CHENGETA WILDLIFE‘ (look after the wildlife) before it is too late.

rory young anti poaching

Now more than ever, these ambling giants are so vulnerable. Their social structures have been pulled apart by the cruel efficiency of the gun. Every piece of ivory, whether carved or in it’s original form is an evocative memory of a once proud and regal elephant, who has suffered unjust cruelty in the most unspeakable way. This has all been in the name of ‘a piece of dentine’ or ‘teeth’ for humans to own trinkets or jewelry.

HOW, I ask can any human want to own something that is so symbolic of suffering and death?

SAY NO TO IVORY

RESPECT THE IVORY BAN

TUSKS BELONG TO ELEPHANTS

THEY DON’T BELONG TO MAN

Ask yourselves a question. ‘What does it say about us as humans when an elephant is worth more dead than alive?’ Let’s celebrate their life.