Wildlife Trafficking In Hwange

My first recollection of seeing a herd of elephants was on my 5th birthday. They were gigantic, wrinkled and grey. I was sitting cross legged on the wooden floor of a viewing platform overlooking a water hole in the heart of the Hwange Game Reserve. The sleeping water reflected the gilt edged clouds scudding happily across the painted sky and noisy doves policed the mopani woodlands, their melodious calls filling the late afternoon. Looking back, I had not appreciated the freedom of space, the warm breeze caressing my hair and the warmth of the wooden slats toasting my bum and bare brown legs. Small midges floated and whirred around my face… it was perfect, and much to my folks amusement, I announced ‘I saw them yesterday.’ And I continued to play with a doll with staring eyes and yellow hair. Well 50 years on, Hwange’s elephants are once again on my mind.


Copy write – Artush

Hwange..A Spectacular Corner Of The Earth

 Fingers of sunshine edge over the horizon and breaking free from the thick early morning cloud, they probe deep within the shadows of the teak woodlands. In the warm friendly wash of early morning sunrise the distinct smell of moisture carries on the breeze: a seductive breeze full of promises of much needed rain for this unspoiled bush. Baboons with an excited air of expectation that only the pink wash of dawn brings, stretch, creasing out the night’s wrinkles before leaving the safety of the trees to begin a days foraging.  With the leader barking out instructions, the troop ease out of the shadows and into the sunlight, small babies clinging fearlessly to their mother’s undercarriage. The drum roll duet from a pair of Southern ground Horn bills echoes out as the males deep red creased wattle inflates like an old pair of bellows as he welcomes the early African morning. These gigantic birds are monogamous, pairing for up to 30 or 40 years, unless their mate dies.


Photo credit DeLoyd Huenink


Scaly blue headed lizards bask on the exposed rock enjoying the warmth of the African sun on their bellies as well as their backs as one large rolling eye keeps focused on the wide sky looking for predators and the other eye strays onto a squadron of flies as they buzz low over a huge pile of sweet smelling buffalo dung. Hwange is a special corner of the world: untamed bush and spectacular wildlife. Loping giraffe rise up and stand tall against the thorn veld and mopani woodland while prison garbed zebra lower their heads, large teeth mowing and chewing, ears twitching and eyes watchful. Hwange is Zimbabwe’s largest national park and home to in excess of 100 mammal species and covers 14 540 sq km. During the crisp dry winters and droughts, the animals are entirely dependent on a network of artificial dams and pans fed by boreholes.  The park’s mix of habitats means an unusual biodiversity offering a sybaritic feast of eclectic bush rich in bird life and 108 different species of animals.

ellies drinking

Hwange is home for large herds of lumbering giants and a magic quivers in the air as the subliminal rumble can be felt rather than heard. Elephant family units will split, normally due to a shortage of food in the area. These family units remain united, congregating at watering holes and favourite feeding spots. Meeting up with members from the other unit is also cause for celebration. As vultures whirr high above this sun baked paradise, below the two herds of elephants begin to call out to each other from a quarter of a mile away. Getting closer, they pick up the pace with temporal glands streaming. Once they have spotted each other, they start to run: a large mass of bubbling exuberance and noisy splendor. Making contact through a swirl of golden dust, these mighty creatures embrace: ears flapping, tusks clicking, leaning into and rubbing each other: all the while urinating and defecating. Spinning in circles, they encompass the world with their joy and a cacophony of trumpeting screams and rumbles shred the air. Happiness and joyful is their reunion. These gregarious animals lower their trunks into the watering pan sucking up deep drafts of sweet life giving liquid and quenching their thirst before throwing warm Hwange sand over their backs. Small calves rough and tumble, their wrinkled trunks entwined and their shrill joyful calls filling the air. Their over sized creased coats are smeared with mud and their large  Africa shaped ears fan the sultry breeze cooling down their body temperatures. A small herd of buffalo have retreated to the other side of the pan, flaring their nostrils and snorting their defiance. The lords of the land, their large trunks with deep fissures swinging free as they rumble their way back into the African bush…the womb of the universe. The matriarchal herd have formed bonds that have been forged over a life time of 40 to 50 years and all young calves remain protected in the bosom of the family. Young males will branch out tasting  independent life at about 15 years of age and females will remain with the herd.




Their relationship within the family rivals that of humans and they could teach the two legged creature a thing or two about family values and loyalty. Elephants show all the best attributes of mankind with few of them displaying our darker sides. They share this paradise with a multitude of different wildlife. While big cats prowl, the kings proud and vibrant mane halos his strong face. His yellow eyes are focused as he crouches low, camouflaged by the bush. These predators work together: a perfect phalanx  as the strangled cry of a young buffalo fills the air, and the excited cackle of the hyenas resonate as they close in, ready for battle with their age old enemies. These bush battles are as old as time and the winner takes all.



Today, a much more dangerous force of predators are on the prowl. MAN.

‘According to an undercover wildlife investigator who provided information published in The Star newspaper, the elephant calves are being held at the ZWMA Mtshibi Animal Capture Unit’s holding centre, a few kilometres from Hwange Main Camp, where they’re being vetted for diseases prior to export.

Tourists reported seeing helicopter and ground teams from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) roping the babies after separating them from their mothers by firing shots above the heads of the herd. The calves would be below the age of five and not properly weaned, which reduces their chance of survival.’

This wildlife paradise erupts and tourists become aware of a live horror story taking place as they witness the blatant live capture of baby elephants as they are torn from the safety of the herd. Pulsating blood pushes through veins as these babies hearts pound in fear as their world is ripped apart. The matriarchal herds trumpet in rage as they are chased away by the sharp kkkk of warning shots being fired above their heads from a circling helicopter. A heavy curtain of dust hangs motionless as the net of capture closes in suffocating the small frightened animals. With temporal glands streaming, the captured babies urinate and defecate, their bowels opening in shock and horror, their small trunks lifting to smell the air…wondering where their mothers are.  The shutter of freedom comes banging down, turning these bush elephants into ‘captives’ who will, if they survive the trauma now endure a life time of servitude to man. Dazed and confused, they are pushed into a boma at the ZWMA Mtshibi Animal Capture Unit, where they are being vetted for disease prior to …’a life changing journey ahead of them.’

 As Dame Daphne Sheldrick said ‘Elephants are indeed more ancient, more complex, and in many ways more sophisticated than man. In terms of Nature they are truly more perfect because they remain within the ordered scheme of Nature and live as Nature intended. They are different to us, honed by natural selection over millennia so they should not be patronised, but rather respected and revered. And of all the animals, perhaps the most respected and revered should be the elephant, for not only is the largest land mammal on earth, but also the most emotionally human.”

 Cites have suggested that this is not illegal to export animals….however it is morally wrong. Zimbabwe, we have heard that one of these calves has died. They should never have been taken away from their mothers. This is a disgrace. Please take action and show your support for these sentient animals and the other wildlife involved in this crime. Please take a minute and sign the following petition.

Keep On Marching

Nine months ago I was told that there was nothing that I could personally do to stop the slaughter of these animals. Well maybe not…but I was not going to become a silent witness to this rampant destruction. I was not going to watch from the sidelines as elephants and rhinos evaporate into the mist…lost in translation and crushed under the heels of supposed civilization.

Disturbing images of mutilated and bloated elephant carcasses jump off the page as a person’s mind closes down and they are unable to look and so I decided that I would raise awareness on the plight of these animals through the pent up emotion that pounds through my veins. I am a white African with a deep passion for this harsh and timeless land..that is the African bush and the wildlife. My passion for elephants began many years ago and as I have grown so has my love and respect for them. These ambassadors of the wild have shared with us their intelligence, love and compassion and I feel that we owe it them to stop the destruction. There is a magic that surrounds elephants and I aspire to be a part of the force that ensure that they continue to spread their harmony over the sun drenched bush.

I always wanted to be one of the herd

jenny as elephant - ready to send

All one needs is the passion to to go out there and do what you have to do. My passion spurs me on. There is always something that each person can do to assist in this ‘poaching war.’ I have built my blog from 6 hits to 15 000 hits and my main aim was to appeal to the Chinese people that buying something so symbolic of suffering and death is morally wrong. 9 months later..the most traffic onto my blog is  from China.  As the weeks passed like fading shadows, I felt like I was still drifting in the stream of the world and this was not good enough. I would be delighted if my blog was earning money..but it does not and the fire in my belly is always to do more and through a series of events I came across Chengeta Wildlife.

rory young anti poaching

Rory Young is a professional tracker with 25 years of experience and he is also the co-author of ‘A Field Manual For Anti-Poaching Activities.’ and he has embarked on an honorable journey of sharing his knowledge and skills. 

‘This book is the first of its kind, showing clearly how poaching processes work and explaining the strategies, skills and techniques necessary to disrupt those processes. It stresses the need for deterrence and how to stop the problem before it starts. The goal is to provide a free printed copy to all anti-poaching units.’

A manual well worth reading..and full of information.  This manual provides intense and detailed evaluation of how to decipher even the smallest and at times what might appear to be unimportant detail and encompass it all into the strategy. In the preface they talk about the fact that our existence clings to the fragile towers that are made up of innumerable life forms that we share this beautiful world with. When individual species are destroyed, we change their impact on the ecosystems and eventually the towers will begin to crumble and fall…causing a domino effect. We have to be incredibly egotistical to believe that we can survive without these ecosystems.

 Chengeta Wildlife is a force for good, offering a comprehensive solution to help combat the evils of poaching and I was inspired and determined to help in raising some funds for them.

I have now been asked and have accepted with great honour and delight a position on Chengeta Wildlife’s Board of  Directors.

‘Rangers and scouts are brave men who risk their lives to protect wildlife. They may face heavily armed poachers, sometimes ex-guerrilla fighters hired by ivory smuggling syndicates. These rangers need to have the best training and anti-poaching strategy possible and that is what Chengeta Wildlife provide.’

The programme is already proving successful as anti-poaching operations undertaken as part of the training uncovered several poaching syndicates operating in the area, some with links to neighboring Mozambique and as far away as China, highlighting the global scale of the poaching problem.  Arrests were made and the culprits handed over to the appropriate authorities.

I am  helping to ensure that these giants along with rhinos, lions and other wildlife will continue to feel the warmth of the sun on their backs.

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What else can I do? Never in my wildest dreams did I see my African self marching in defense of elephants and rhinos in LONDON. What an amazing atmosphere there was on Saturday 4th October. Despite the rain which was reluctant to lift and let the sun break free from the grey clouds, the little girls were bubbling with excitment even though their view of the crowd did not get above hip height. They wore their home painted ‘Chengeta Wildlife’ tee shirts with pride, happy to show their backs to anyone who would look. The noise amplified into an overpowering hum, echoing off the large buildings towering high in this concrete jungle..a far cry from the tangled bush and cerulean sky..home of the African Elephants and Rhinos. Inhaling the sweet damp scent of rain we marched with our Zimbabwean flag held high becoming one with the noisy teeming mass of humanity as we marched, chatted, laughed and shouted. As I marched I could feel soft whispers from the African bush and the hair on the nape of my neck prickled and a lump the size of a green apple was lodged firmly in my throat. My memories, sweet with the wonder of seeing these majestic giants in the wild and compels me to do anything in my power to help to ensure that these memories do not become just faded photographs in my memoirs: crumpled pages of inadequate words.

flag on march

girls with their tee shirts

Our little girls – dressed and ready to march for Elephants and Rhinos and showing their support for Chengeta Wildlife

Thousands of people had taken to the streets in 130 cities around the world lifting their voices to raise awareness of the plight faced by these critically endangered animals.

‘The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos will aim to achieve a full worldwide ban on the trade of ivory and rhino horn, the implementation of tougher penalties for wildlife crime, and the strengthening of law enforcement in consumer countries and range states. In addition, they will also make the demand that ivory and rhino shops and carving factories are shut down immediately.’

China..as I have said many times…’Hear the mournful ballad of the grey dove as death: a foul miasmic presence reaches out over the sun kissed bush of Africa. This is a scene that should be grotesque and offensive to eyes, ears and nostrils..and to those people who buy ivory. Sadly money talks..and money only talks when there is a demand. STOP THE DEMAND AND CLOSE THE CARVING FACTORIES.


The mutilated bodies of elephants are left behind in the bush but their personal treasures or blood ivory leaves a trail of blood that stretches from Africa by air, sea and highway into Chinese carving factories. China has 37 licensed carving factories and calls to shut down these factories are studiously ignored. Mr. Zhao Shucong holds the destiny of Africa’s magnificent giants in his hands. China and Mr. Zhao Shucong needs to take responsibility for the fact that they are fueling the trade that is decimating African elephants. Here is a petition demanding that China bans all ivory

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Elephants are a source of great peace and wisdom that us humans should take note off. Humans, as the ‘rational thinking animals’ have the ability to alter their destructive tendencies. The thought of a world without these sentient giants is unthinkable. We have already caused such disharmony in their lives..but there is time to change..but we have to do it now. The challenge now..is to reshape some outdated perceptions and we all need to play a role.


Poaching is illegal. The consequences of being caught must out weigh the rewards.

Please have a look at our amazing website: chengetawildlife.org

”The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke


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Trail Of Blood

My jaw drops open and I stand gulping like a guppy.  I cannot believe what I am hearing from my Chinese colleague. Here we are in the 21st centuary and this incredibly beautiful minute woman with her porclain face and raven coloured hair is telling me in her quaint lilting voice that ivory is a status symbol in every good chinese home. I gasp and the air feels hot in my lungs as she informs me she has never given much thought as to how and where the tusks find their way to China. I shake my head and I can feel a frown pulling my eyebrows together.


‘White Gold’ is maybe what you call it Kim.’ My voice is low and intense, ‘but I call it blood ivory.’ The expression in her dark eyes as they rise to meet my blue stare is blank. I feel soft whispers from the bush and the hair on the nape of my neck prickles. My memories, sweet with the wonder of seeing these majestic giants in the wild wash over me and I find myself staring deep within this Chinese girl’s soul. She is genuinely ignorant about blood ivory. ‘Come, lets go and buy a cup of coffee.’ I hook my arm through hers and we wend our way through numerous tables covered in bright coloured clothes to a corner in the courtyard..quiet and private. I am going to inform her of the human footprints leaving an ugly scar on the land. Footprints that are small in size pointing to the fact that China is driving the demand for ivory which in turn is fuelling the trade that has African elephants poised on the edge of ‘extinction’.

‘Love for ivory is in our blood. It is etched deeply into the Chinese identity.’ Her eyes are downcast and her voice is low. I nod and say nothing. I am confident that by the time we have drunk our coffee this will be one Chinese girl who most definitely will not every want to own any ivory..no matter how deeply etched it is in her identity.


‘Kim, you need to listen in on their world and hear their desperate cries. 100 of these sentient animals are slaughtered per day to feed the ivory demand. Get caught in the mist that floats, reluctant to lift as muffled screams slice through the air. Allow the stench of gun powder and torn flesh to fill your nostrils. Feel the weight of the trees as they bow down, silent witnesses to the carnage. Cry as the large full term pregnant cow in labour, her full belly encumbering her desperate escape collapses in a heap, her symetrical tusks carving a deep ridge in the ground that is pooling with her blood. With one last convulsive shudder, she finishes off what she had started before the first bullet tore into her face. With her death she expells the miracle of new life which she has nurtured inside for the past 22 months. A small perfectly formed baby elephant lies immobile and defenceless..surrounded by the carcasses of what would have been her family..a family where deep bonds would have been forged over the next 40 years. A feast for those scavengers that will be attracted by the tortured screams and stench of blood carried on the wind.

This is only the beginning of the journey for your ‘white gold’. An elephants tusks are deeply embedded into the skull. You need to stare deep into the unseeing eyes of a slaughtered elephant..eyes that have been blurred by tears and fear. In some cases eyes that have glazed over with agony when the first thud of the axe falls before the heart stops beating. Hear the mournful ballad of the grey dove as death: a foul miasmic presence reaches out over the sun kissed bush of Africa. This is a scene that should be grotesque and offensive to eyes, ears and nostrils..and to those people who buy ivory.  Sadly money talks..and money only talks when there is a demand.

The mutilated bodies of elephants are left behind in the bush but their personal treasures or blood ivory leaves a trail of blood that stretches from Africa by air, sea and highway into Chinese carving factories. China has 37 licensed carving factories and calls to shut down these factories are studiously ignored. Zhao Shucong is the man who approves the licensing of these state sanctioned factories.

Inside these factories Chinese carvers, with masks covering their noses and mouths sit hunched over their desks. Under bright artificial strip lights, the ivory tusk lies lifeless. A carver gently runs his hand down the length of ‘dentine’ that is all that remains from a magnificent giant that had proudly ambled under a cerulean sky for close on 45 years, her enormous trunk swinging freely as she communicated with her family members through a series of low frequency sounds that is undetected by the human ear..before being callously slaughtered. Lifting up a tool, he starts to whittle away at the polished tusk and she will be turned into a fancy carved ornament for somebody to pay a kings ransom for.

Today’s modern power-driven rotary saws and dental-like drills have revolutionized the art of ivory carving! Using carving skills perfected over 40 years, the  carvers will painstakingly transform these pieces of dead ivory into sculptures. This could take months or even up to a year depending on the size of the tusks.

‘Going back to what you said about the Chinese peoples love for ivory being in their blood and the fact that it is etched deeply into the Chinese identity, Kim. Sadly.. the Chinese lust for ivory is causing a blood bath.’ I insist quietly, my heart hammering unevenly. ‘Have you every heard of Mr. Zhao Shucong? We need him to acknowledge that when the buying stops..so will the killing.’

Her dark smoldering eyes dart away. ‘I have heard of Mr. Zhao Shucong. He is the head of the State Forestry Admin. He is a powerful man.’

‘Kim, he is a very powerful man. Mr. Zhao Shucong not only approves licenses for the carving factories but also for the bear bile farms, tiger bone wine and much much more. Mr. Zhao Shucong holds the destiny of Africa’s gentle giants in his hands. China and Mr. Zhao Shucong needs to take responsibility for the fact that they are fueling the trade that is decimating African elephants. Here is a petition demanding that China bans all ivory.‘ I whip out my phone and find the page to show her..’I will tag you in it and then you can sign?’

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 Q&A: To Stem Africa’s Illegal Ivory Trade to Asia, Focus on Key Shipping Ports

‘There are three main ports in Africa being used to traffic ivory: Mombasa, in Kenya, and Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, in Tanzania.These are the people who essentially grease the machine that enables illicit ivory to get from Africa to Asia. 

The report notes that port activity in West Africa surged in the past year. Do you think this trend will continue?

I do, but I think it will be short-lived. Southern Africa is where the trend will go. Elephants are disappearing in West Africa, and the trade is moving east, which is why you see Mombasa and Dar es Salaam as big points of export.

Eventually the real profit will be hitting southern African elephants, which have historically been the most robust populations but will become targets as the trend sees localized extinctions in other parts of Africa.

To see more on these questions and answers …see more

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Kim is shaking her head. ‘I honestly did not know that such huge numbers of elephants were being killed for their ivory. I am ashamed to say that I have never thought about it. Are there people trying to protect these animals in Africa?’ There are no tears. She is far too controlled for that, but I have worked with her for long enough to know that she is upset, and embarrassed at her ignorance.

‘Yes, Kim there are. In Zimbabwe, the country that I come from there are a few different wildlife groups involved and many rangers are murdered through out Africa..frozen in time for ever, just like the wildlife they are trying to protect. Kim, it is sad because these rangers are trying to stop the elephants and other wildlife from being killed so that people can buy ivory and other animal parts. It is not only elephants that suffering, Kim. The rhinos are also being slaughtered for their horn. It has been scientifically proven that the rhino horn holds no magic cures for man. This ivory that your people lust for is shrouded in blood and flames.’

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Chengeta Wildlife

The Tashinga Initiative


‘My chosen cause is Chengeta Wildlife and the following infographic has been designed for Chengeta Wildlife with thanks to Joe Chernov, Robin Richards and Leslie Bradshaw. Please share it by any means that you can.’

Rangers and scouts are brave men who risk their lives to protect wildlife. They may face heavily armed poachers, sometimes ex-guerrilla fighters hired by ivory smuggling syndicates. These rangers  need to have the best training and anti-poaching strategy possible and that is what Chengeta Wildlife provide.

one killed every 15 mins

rory young twitt

Elephants, said Young, are the “most magnificent creatures.”

“They can empathize. They’re self-aware,” he went on to say. “When I see an elephant lying dead on the ground, it’s like seeing a friend getting shot.”

But if elephants went extinct, we wouldn’t just be losing an extraordinary animal, we’d also have an environmental calamity on our hands.

“Elephants are a keystone species,” said Young. “They have a profound effect on the ecosystem. If you protect an elephant, you protect the environment and all the animals around them.”  To read More……

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Worth More Alive

It is coming up 9 years since I was last in Zimbabwe. My family call it, ‘my 9 years of living without elephants.’

It seems a lifetime since I have been embraced by the warm sultry breeze and lain under the luminous African half moon hanging suspended in the dark night sky. I can’t remember when I last watched the stinging needle like rain dancing across the river or Lake Kariba: a curtain raiser to a fiery sunset before it slips below the horizon. Memories of the golden silence of early evening where the shimmering leaves appear to be holding their breath tease my mind.  Africa’s giants ghost into view, puffing up small whirls of dust that appear to hang motionless. Their matriarch, her large and noble head held high, swings her trunk back and forth. She is at one with the peace that only early evening can bring. Despite her heavy bulk of 7 000 Kg , she has the lightness and grace of a dancer. She is an ambassador for her kind, ‘Loxodonta africana.’ These sentient creatures ooze with personality: their wrinkled expressions: fold upon fold of intelligence as they amble down to the river where they partake in a social ritual of water spraying, wading and mud throwing.




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There is far more to elephants than meets the eye. Inside those large and noble heads, a complex and intricate organ resides which makes me ask like many others before me,‘do elephants surpass other animals in wit and mind?’ The memory of watching this herd interact with each other and the show of love and empathy still makes me wonder,’when thinking about the intelligence of these animals, do we compare them to other animals or should we compare them to humans?’

Ask yourselves this question, ‘what does it say about us humans when elephants and rhinos are worth more dead than alive?’

Video link of rhino  – Evidence of the brutality of poachers in South Africa has surfaced once again with a shocking video of another badly mutilated rhino in Kruger National Park.


With the strong currents of change seeping across the world I often feel like we are moving towards realms of the unknown. I close my eyes tightly, desperately holding onto these wonderful memories that keep threatening to spool away.  My nine years without seeing African elephants leaves an emptiness deep inside..and this is the point of what I am writing today. When we used to do our numerous trips to the valley encountering these wild and noble animals..my heart would sing. However, we took it for granted that on our next visit..there they would be, ambling through the camp, feeding on the acacia pods and frolicking in the river and they never disappointed us with their absence.

Now 9 years on..my heart trembles..will they be there on our return? The thought of the African bush without these ambassadors, sadly could become a reality. We cannot afford to look the other way.  DO NOT TAKE THEIR PRESENCE FOR GRANTED. We need to be fighting to ensure that these magnificent animals remain in the wild.

johnny depp

I cannot sit and do nothing: I can describe the pain and torment that these animals experience and raise awareness through my writing and poetry. However, I need to do more. This is not a violent storm that is bullying its way through the African bush. This is a dark menacing chaos of greed, corruption and ruthless killers who are turning this sun burnt bush into a wild sweltering inferno: flames devouring any animal with tusks and horns. At the rate these animals are being poached: mortality shadows them.

blood ivory story

How can we do more?

I am supporting the brave men and women on the ground who are putting their lives on the line to ensure the safety of the wildlife.

rory young cause

rory young anti poaching

Chengeta Wildlife

Rangers and scouts are brave men who risk their lives to protect wildlife. They may face heavily armed poachers, sometimes ex-guerrilla fighters hired by ivory smuggling syndicates. These rangers  need to have the best training and anti-poaching strategy possible and that is what Chengeta Wildlife provide.


Lisa Groenweg had decided that she could not turn a blind eye to the destruction and started Chengeta Wildlife. She shook up fellow Quora members by raising a huge amount of money in 24 hours….showing that where there is a will to participate and make a difference..it happens

I am proud  to be a part of this amazing group of people supporting Chengeta Wildlife which through Rory Young have developed an Anti Poaching Strategy which can be used throughout Africa.


Rory Young and Yakov Alekseyev have written ‘A Field Manual For Anti-Poaching Activities.’ 

A manual well worth reading..and full of information. It provides intense and detailed evaluation of how to decipher even the smallest and at times what might appear to be unimportant detail and encompass it all into the strategy. In the preface they talk about the fact that our existence clings to the fragile towers that are made up of innumerable life forms that we share this beautiful world with. When individual species are destroyed, we change their impact on the ecosystems and eventually the towers will begin to crumble and fall…causing a domino effect. We have to be incredibly egotistical to believe that we can survive without these ecosystems.

I loved the analogy between Robin Hood and the poachers. It made it so simple to understand that the people in the community have got to view the authorities as the representatives of and partners of the community. It is also important that the community see the poachers as a threat  and not the other way around. It does not matter how well equipped the authorities are..if they don’t have the people on sides..it will be a waste of time and money. The Sheriff of Nottingham failed to apprehend Robin Hood..and failed to punish him..and as a result there was was also a failure of deterrence.

This manual should be a companion for every ranger throughout Africa.



Support the men on the ground

Chengeta Wildlife

The Tashinga Initiative


One last thought: As the warm rays of sun pay their last respects to the mellow day in this sun burnt land, the heavy silence of loss ushers twilight into darkness. If we don’t unite against this rampant poaching: the African bush could be facing a future minus these animals: the very essence that adds to the Africa’s magic.


Up Close and Personal With An Elephant

In January 2014 the cold wet winter was beginning to gnaw at my bones and my feet seemed to be in a constant state of numbness.

‘I am panicking, Gary. My feet are so numb that I can no longer feel the throb of Africa beneath them. I have got to get out and see some wildlife.’ I smile pathetically. ‘I suppose Zimbabwe is not an option?’

We settle on a day trip to Whipsnade Zoo. Our two little girls bob along excited to be out to see the elephants which their ‘Gog’ (me) goes on and on about. Dark brooding clouds tower high and accompanied by an angry growl of thunder, the heavens open and rain like a thick drape has us sprinting for cover.  We stand with our noses pressed against the glassed doors of a restaurant waiting patiently for the sun to struggle through the thick blanket of clouds. Once the heavens stopped scowling down on us and veiled in a gauzy haze we venture out to see the animals.

I have nothing negative to say about Whipsnade Zoo. They do have outside fields to meander through.

However..a lump the size of a green apple is lodged firmly in my throat as I watch the elephants: ‘Prisoners of the times we are living in’ and I feel sad for them.


Our two little angels are full of starlight, fizzing over with excitment. They have been so close to real live elephants. Real live elephants..I drift off.. a funny little smile shaping my lips and my butt muscles twitch and tighten. Real live elephants in the bush..and a little too close for comfort. I think back to one of our fishing trips in the Zambezi Valley.


Our small green canvas tent sits like a blot under the large acacia tree. The guy ropes are strung taut keeping us upright in this wild paradise. The dry parched earth rolls down to the vast Zambezi river and small puffs of dust hang motionless in the still afternoon before freckling lightly over the tinder dry vegetation. The expansive river glistens: undulating in the mellow warmth of the late afternoon. A lone vervet monkey stares down from the low hanging branch. With the stealth and speed of a professional thief he shinnies down, grabbing a couple of bananas not a foot away from my chair and disappears into the high branches…raising his eyebrows..and grinning at my dumbfounded expression.


Warmth spreads like sunshine on my soul. Life does not get much better than this. Squadrons of midges and flies hover with summer laziness, irritating but also a part of evolution’s slow magic.


On the edge of earth and heaven, the large golden sun breaks free from the brooding clouds bathing the bush in a warm coppery glow.  A solitary bull elephant ambles along the rich banks of the Zambezi river,tearing up grass and hyacinth with his large and rather formidable trunk. His weather worn tusks sweep out in front and although he is close, I focus in on him through the binoculars and can see the deeply incised grass-notch an inch or two from the tip of his right tusk. Bronzed by the afternoon glare and scolded by the fork tailed drongo he is surely one of the most noble and dignified animals in the animal kingdom. He continues to sway as light as a dancer and I feel my heart sink as he disappears out of sight. The air continues to pulse with a subliminal rumble you feel rather than hear. African Jacanas trot lightly over a rich carpet of water hyacinth boasting beautiful blue flowers and I am certain I can hear fish slapping the water. Evening stitches the horizon with the last of its golden thread. The liquid murmur of the river and the evocative call of the fish eagle brings the perfect afternoon to a close. The day has slipped through my fingers.


The smoke from the mopani fire helps to keep the mosquitoes at bay and we sit relaxed and happy listening to the hippo grunting and a cacophony of frogs and crickets. Africa’s nights are never lonely. Too soon we are lying in our minute tent, fingers entwined listening to the wind flirting with the trees and a distant echo of a throaty roar. There is peace in the solitude and I close my eyes drifting in that wondrous space between wakefulness and sleep.

As tender beams from the African half moon peek gently through the gauze window, the tree above us explodes and acacia pods come raining down. I sit bolt upright as Gary puts his hand firmly over my mouth whispering to me to be quiet. Peeping out the small gauze window of the tent, the most enormous wrinkled and abrasive looking back legs are blocking my view. The bull is leaning his full weight against the tree and rocking it back and forth, his large holed ears folded back onto his massive shoulders. The three foot of thick wiry hair on the end of his four foot tail, all 8 to 10 kgs of it thrashes the gauze window not an inch from my face.  The metallic taste of blood clogs my throat and I realize I am biting down on my lip. Time has stood still. The pungent smell of urine invades the tent as he lets forth with a warm stream that surges onto the parched earth . I am mesmerized as he turns side on rasping back and forth along the tree, his gigantic backside firmly on the guy rope. Our small tent whirs back and forth..feeble in its stance. Rumbling with pleasure, his large trunk swings freely as the finger like nobes on the end fold over the juicy pods and they start the epic journey from tent top to his mouth. This ambassador of the wild appears to cross the moonlight disappearing quietly and with dignity into the dark shadows. Silence returns to the valley and the liquid murmur of the river flows merrily as it carves its way to the sea.

The silence of emptiness hangs..and I turn to Gary with a relieved yet sad grin. ‘WOW’.


This is Africa’s bush life in all its beauty.

My day at the zoo has been an eye opener for me and I cannot help but compare this day with my experiences in the valley. It reafirms my commitment to do all I can to help preserve our heritage. These enormous animals belong on the land and I cannot imagine a trip to our magical place in the Zambezi valley to find it empty of elephants.

These inconic animals are the essence of the African bush and at present they are being poached at a rate of 100 a day. To those fueling the demand which in turn fuels the destruction, do you have any idea of the chaos and death left behind, rotting in the vast wilderness of sun kissed grass and sturdy trees of Africa.  Please say no to ivory and help to save these magnificent and sentient animals from extinction.  ‘The True Cost of IvoryTrinkets is an infographic in Chinese and English to help raise awareness on the rampant poaching of elephants. This infographic was created for Chengeta Wildlife.

rory and co

Chengeta Wildlife is a group of people from around the world who formed a nonprofit organization to support Rory Young and the work he does. He has skills and knowledge that the teams protecting wildlife badly need to protect themselves and wildlife. If enough funding is generated we would like to purchase tactical equipment needed by the teams. Things like night vision goggles, thermal sensing equipment and motion sensing cameras. Chengeta Wildlife is run by volunteers. So far 100% of funds raised have gone directly to the field where it is desperately needed. WE HAVE ZERO OVERHEAD COSTS!

Rory Young and Yakov Alekseyev have written ‘A Field Manual For Anti-Poaching Activities.’ 

A manual well worth reading..and full of information.  This manual provides intense and detailed evaluation of how to decipher even the smallest and at times what might appear to be unimportant detail and encompass it all into the strategy. In the preface they talk about the fact that our existence clings to the fragile towers that are made up of innumerable life forms that we share this beautiful world with. When individual species are destroyed, we change their impact on the ecosystems and eventually the towers will begin to crumble and fall…causing a domino effect. We have to be incredibly egotistical to believe that we can survive without these ecosystems.

Let us ensure that these animals continue to wear their tusks with pride. ( My Poem)


The Land Of The Elephants

I was reading somewhere that one should align oneself with the wisdom of nature! So getting as close to nature as I can …I lie flat on my back on the spongy green lawn staring up at the pale blue sky decorated with thousands of wispy vapour trails. A bumble bee whirs slowly past droning close to my ear. I close my eyes ignoring the bumble bee imagining instead the indigo hues deepening through the African bush as daylight wanes. My mind marches along to Africa’s timeless rhythms wondering what has gone wrong in this intricate web that we call life. Squinting up at the diaphanous vapour trails, I speculate on the fact that once man has ruined this planet, that maybe with all this modern technology and transport, thinks we have another planet to go to?


I stop my mind from marching and pull my thoughts close. I need to think about something that makes me feel better. I sit bolt upright. No…the goal is not about feeling better. It is about getting better at feeling. It is about compassion and justice. These are two words that many world wide seem to lack in.

Why is it that a continent blessed with riches and natural resources has blood flowing into the rivers? Corruption and greed: my mind feeds on this information, chewing quickly and swallowing. This I already know, and it gives me indigestion.


How is that the ‘dentine body parts’ from these magnificent and sentient creatures ends up in countries far from where they belong. I feel myself choking with emotion and a stomach churning weightlessness. My dad died in a country far away from where he was born due to political upheaval and a touch of corruption. I remember how I could see beyond the cheerful exterior… sadness had a firm hand on his shoulder, but with a bright smile he would always maintain that he was one of the lucky ones. I always worried about dad’s ashes as I know deep down that they do not belong here in this country. (His ashes are buried in a huge pot and I have planted a tree.) They belong back on Ferndale farm Umtali/Mutare in Zimbabwe where he was born, and although he did not farm the farm, he loved it and all those that lived there with his whole being.

Tusks from these sentient creatures also do not belong on somebody’s table or mantle piece thousands of miles from where they come from. They belong in the land of their birth….and on the land. (I know I am an idealist).

I watch a plane whizzing past and I imagine that there could be contraband in the hold. Do the people who create the demand have any idea of the bloodshed this demand is creating? (infographic for Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife).

A huge thank you to Joe Chernov, Robin Richards and Leslie Bradshaw for creating the infographic for Rory Young and Chengeta Wildlife.

Ivory carving has a history of 5 000 years according to archaeological studies. These carvers are desperate to keep the art of carving alive, claiming that they have tried to combine wood and ivory, ox and camel bones but nothing can compete with ivory. Yes, the carvers work is intricate but it lacks the life and luminescence that one gets from ivory where it rightly belongs: on an elephant. How can they hope to achieve something beautiful from something that is so symbolic of suffering and death. I do not believe they can.

Coming from Zimbabwe, I do not believe that anything can be more beautiful or real that sitting quietly watching the fire of dawn bursting over the horizon and lighting the way for a herd of elephants. One cannot describe the elation of being in an open air amphitheater where fingers of sunshine caress your cheeks and the sweet smell of buffalo dung fills your nostrils. DEAD IVORY does nothing except symbolize ‘death’. Southern Africa is where the big five roam. This is where elephants amble past with the lightness and grace of dancers. This is a wild paradise with limitless skies and a rugged beauty. This is where survival of the fittest should be the rule of law..but greed and corruption are ruining this natural world where the land pulsates with a subliminal rumble that one feels rather than hears. This natural world is being desecrated and the demand for ivory, rhino horn and other animal parts is out of control.

China, please do not allow the demand for ivory to wipe out an entire species. The only enemy our African bush and her wildlife riches has to fear is man..the biggest and most lethal predator. I continue to lie flat on my back staring up at the sky. Where do we go from here? I roll over onto my stomach and flicking open my folder, I continue to read ‘The Field Manual for Anti Poaching Activities’..written by Rory Young and Yakov Alexseyev I take a deep sigh feeling my heart hammering a little faster. Yes there is hope out there. We just need to get this manual out to every anti-poaching ranger.

This book is an absolute must for those who do anti-poaching work. It is an intriguing read for the lay person who wants to understand how skilled professionals deal with dangerous criminals in the bush.


rory young twitt


We also need Governments to take responsibility before it is too late. I am sharing a link to this must see interview with Rory Young from Chengeta Wildlife. Rory is on the ground and gives a clear overview of the current catastrophic levels of poaching. A passionate plea for action rather than words. Rory, thank you.

China, please put a stop to the demand for ivory. Do not let this become The last Call of The Elephant’. (My poem)

Magical memories

One pair of piercing violet blue eyes and a pair of pecan nut brown eyes stare entranced, their young healthy bodies as still as statues and cupie mouths rounded into ‘OHS’ lending a charming and naughty look to their gorgeous faces. Little starfish hands stretch out clasping mine as I lean closer… thinking once again, how blessed I am. Their eyes never leave my face as I lead them back in time to a perfect summers afternoon under the shade of an enormous Msasa tree with its heavy spreading boughs and stately crown of green. An afternoon where I was serenaded by an insect lullaby..drowsy warm dreams and happiness that I will share with them both.  Stories that are set in my memory like snap shots. These two wonderful little girls are learning all about ‘the magic of Africa’ and all her wondrous and magnificent animals through their mum and myself.

little ellie girls


With lush green lawn cushioning my stomach, I stretch out feeling the throb of Africa pulsating beneath my belly. Dino, the tame guinea fowl, her electric blue wattles wobbling pecks happily, disturbing small midges that amplify into an overpowering hum in their quest to keep away from the lethal beak. With her brown helmet and large dark eyes, she is magnificent. Hand reared as a small chick, she has imprinted on me rendering me half Guinea fowl in her eyes, and this causes much amusement to my family who have crowned me, ‘the old bird.’

toffee and Dennis


Dennis, our three month old wild bush pig roots in the deep shadow of the flower bed. Every couple of minutes he peers out between the enormous green leaves of the agapanthis plants, the upper hard edge of his snout crusted with mud and his piggy slanted eyes softening as he focuses on me, his ‘mum.’ ‘ ‘The old bird’ cross ‘sow’, I am not to sure on this. With gentle snorts vibrating his small frame, Dennis trots over, suctioning his flat nose onto my arm and staring at me with love sick eyes. My two boxer cross biches inch in closer, their tongues lolling out as they pant, serene, calm and mellowed in the late afternoon warmth. A sliver of sunshine, delicate as a spiders thread weaves through the thick canopy of green, highlighting all that is important to me in our garden of Eden on our farm in Zimbabwe. Mikaela slides down next to me and I hold out my hand, laughing merrily as ‘Tsungu’ (a lesser bush baby), as light as a feather sits on my palm and clutches my thumb with his sticky hands. Tsungu has been hand reared by Mikaela after he had fallen out of the ‘nest’.  A quaint little animal who is part of the primate family and very much an extended member of ours. Many hours have been spent searching and catching insects to satisfy this feisty little critters appetite. Moths, short lived when seen by Tsungu as they are his favourite snack. Long fingers, as quick as lightening and the entrapped moth would have its head bitten off by sharp little teeth. Tsungu, licking his lips would then suck all the liquid out. Not the best table manners in town.


The resident hammerkop, his large unattractive head cocks to one side eyeing the dogs, guinea fowl, Dennis the pig, Tsungu and ourselves with a cautious look, before lolloping over to the fishpond to see what is on offer for an easy snack. I sit up breathing deeply and turn to watch this enormous bird lean over, his long neck and beady eyes still as the frilly goldfish glint beneath the surface and butterflies float and whir majestically in the warm afternoon air. My heart is full to brimming with happiness and my reverie and story telling comes to an abrupt halt as two little voices penetrate. ‘Tell us about the elephants’ their eyes sparkle with enthusiasm and their chirping makes me smile. ‘Did you have an elephant?’ they know the answer but can’t help asking the question.

‘No….I don’t even like elephants.’ I tease chuckling as I get an explosive reaction.

close enough to count the wrinkles

‘No, I did not have an elephant.’ but I have seen elephants in the valley and on the shores of the Zambezi river and also at Kariba. I have seen them up so close that you can count the wrinkles and hear their rumbles as they amble through our camp site, flicking up dust with their large flat feet and fanning the breeze with their ‘African continent shaped ears.’  However, you have heard those stories.

I smile gently at them both. ‘Come’, I stand, ‘today I will take you to a magical place…a place where there are elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and other animals. Your mum went to school with the daughter of these people. This is a place where animals are offered a new lease on life.’ I turn, clapping my hands with excitement as we go through to the dining room. Switching on my beautiful computer (donated to me by a special person when I started my journey with Jennysjumbojargon) and typing in a link, I press enter and take them on an exciting  journey through cyber space to Imire Game Reserve in Zimbabwe.

rhino and Judy

I slowly flick through the photos, drooling at how happy and settled their elephants look. Large free swinging trunks and gentle eyes as they lope away, swaying and kicking up dust, dust that I love and miss so much as they disappear into the dry bush. Pictures of Judy Travis feeding a rhino. A heartwarming story of Tatenda an orphaned rhino, Pogs an orphaned warthog and Tsotsi, a hyper hyena all living with their human family. The Travis family have made it their lives work to give rescued animals a home here. At the heart of this hub is their ‘black rhino conservation project’ where for 20 years they have been breeding these critically endangered animals and releasing them back into national parks. Sadly, with the ongoing threat of poaching John and Judy have a daily battle to keep their animals alive.

I turn to our precious little girls

‘Do you want to see more?’ Both heads nod vigorously and I type in another link. Well now, come and have a look.  There is Nzhou who was orphaned when poachers killed her mum. She is now about 46 years old and lives with the herd of buffalo on the farm. She is the Matriarch of the herd and although she towers over her family of buffalo, she is happy. Judy has now given up trying to get her back into the ‘elephant fold’ as it were.

One last thing to show you before our cyber journey finishes. I type in another link and press enter. A short video clip of the elephants at Imire.

Well that has been an hour of Zimbabwe, telling you about some of the little creatures that I loved on our farm to Imire Safari Ranch. My heart feels a little empty when I am finished, but then I look at these two little faces, and reaching down I place my hand on Sadza Badza Luke (our little foxie cross) and I know that I am happy..a little short on animals but still happy. I will continue to show them and share with them ‘My Zimbabwean Dreams’ (My poem).





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.


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.


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

Magical Kariba

The magnificent Zambezi River rises in North west Zambia. A powerful and supple flow that enters the Indian Ocean in Mozambque at Quelimane. The Zambezi catchment area covers 1 352 000 square kilometres and spreads over eight countries. Under a limitless sky the fast flowing river snakes and roars for 2 650Kms following a river line that has been carved out over time by rough caresses until it reaches the ocean. Kariba dam is a  hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is situated roughly half way down this river.

 kariba dam wall with floodgates open

It is sixteen years since I stood staring out over this expanse of shimmering water where the sun beams down hot and sticky. Out on this enormous lake there is a peace in the silence as the sweet breath of warm wind caresses your hair. The Matusadona is situated on the shores of Lake Kariba and is home to many large mammals: especially elephants and buffaloes. Panicum, a regenerative grass carpets the shoreline and with this ready access for food, zebras, water bucks, buffaloes and impalas graze. In this open air amphitheater, zebra bend in stripey unison, ears pricked and wary eyes watchful as they take a drink in the long shadows of late afternoon. Their high pitched brays breaking the silence as a huge  crocodile like a medieval serpent menaces closer through the shallows, its long tail gently licking the surface. Buffalo swagger with exaggerated arrogance, snorting and formidable in their numbers. Their imposing horns spread outward and downwards from their large heads and their powerful and muscled bodies are bejeweled with tick birds, their personal ‘bug cleaning service’. Rhinos, light on their feet slip through the warmth, private and obscured in the shadows.


On one of nature’s grandest stages, elephants cross the twilight: silhouetted shadows stretching into early darkness and leaving behind hovering moths and a night full of crickets and mosquitoes. This adhesive group of females and their offspring amble away puffing up small whirls of dust that appear to hang motionless. Despite the matriarch’s bulk, she has the lightness and grace of a dancer. For me personally, they are the ambassadors for the bush.. ‘Loxidonta africana.’ The deep rumbles of content vibrate through the evening air reminding me that although I cannot see them, I can feel their presence.

While moon beams float upon the water and the wind carries the neck tingling roar of a lion, the Matusadona pulsates with a subliminal rumble that you feel rather than hear.  On this lake, the sky appears deeper and the stars are brighter. This wild paradise with its limitless sky and rugged beauty teems with wildlife. The Matusadona is truly a spectacular place where earth drifts into heaven leaving you floating in tranquil moments adorned in sun washed scenes and bronzed trees. This is Africa…a canvas of vibrant colours and teeming with warmth, sunny skies and wildlife.

Elephants, rhinos and other wildlife are irreplaceable riches and cannot be allowed to simply fade away. These animals in the Matusadona have not been immune to the horror of the poachers angry weapons or the barbaric practice of  snaring. These animals are being protected byMatusadona Anti Poaching Project  who are a component of the Tashinga Initiative and cover Chizarira, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Victoria Falls. (Please take a look at their face book page…give them some support.) Tashinga was the name originally chosen for the headquarters of the Matusadona National Parks.  The Tashinga Initiative Foundation.

Chengeta Wildlife has just spent two weeks providing intensive training in the GachGache . (Take a look at their face book page.. please give them some support.) Chengeta Wildlife is providing a first class and comprehensive anti poaching training. These amazing people on the ground, whether protecting the wild or training the rangers to protect the wild are all doing a difficult but awesome job. Poaching, an ugly reality: one we as civilians can do very little about except to help spread the awareness and donate or raise funds for the different groups. It is a case of all doing our bit.

However, one thing we can control is our LITTER. Photo from Cavan Warren..  Antelope Island and pollution in and around Kariba.

filth dumped on Antelope Island

‘Many animals confuse plastic bags, balloons, bait packets, lolly wrappers and rubber with prey and eat them. Many animals are injured, become ill, and die each year due to human carelessness with litter and pollution. Animals can swallow or get entangled in many of the litter items people leave in the environment.’
buff died from all the rubbishA sad statistic of this dumping. A buffalo growing thinner and thinner…only after his death was the carcass found: full of plastic rubbish.

On an island in this beautiful paradise, an island empty of all modern things: LITTER, like a lethal mix enticing hungry animals to take their fill. Plastic kills….a slow painful death. Let us take responsibility, bag our litter and return it to the main land where there are facilities to dispose of unwanted rubbish and allow the rangers space to get on with their much needed and important work: they do not need to clean up after us.

Let us look after thisMagical Place’ (My poem).


Apt quote to start off my post for todayjohnny depp

While we all drift in the streams of this beautiful world, there is an uneasy magic as we paddle against these turbulent realms of the unknown. Because I am passionate about elephants, and want nothing more than everyone else to feel the same way, I realise that I am and always have been a ‘dreamer’. However these attacks on our elephants, rhinos, lions and all other endangered species does concern all of us: it is our children’s childrens heritage at stake.

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed; if we permit the last virgin forests to be turned into comic books and plastic cigarette cases; if we drive the few remaining members of the wild species into zoos or to extinction; if we pollute the last clear air and dirty the last clean streams and push our paved roads through the last of the silence. .”
Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water
What of the future?

Last week I wrote about our Presidential Herd of Zimbabwe and the fact that Sharon Pincott had been stunk out. The above link is an update from five days ago. There has been a frenzied focus on the current poaching trends sweeping the southern African countries, and sadly these trends appear to be obscured in political murk.

However, the good thing is that images or video clips are taken, posted and set free in this wonderful world of ‘cyber space’, taking only minutes to circumnavigate the world. There is nothing more distressing than watching a rhino whose horn has been ripped from it’s face staggering aimlessly around the game reserve. This clip reached millions of people in all corners of the world before the rangers had even had a chance to find the animal and put it out of it’s misery. This clip made for stressful viewing and I know I felt a deep gut wrenching sadness at man’s cruelty. Once the photo or clip is posted, it is out there: an ugly reality of what our wildlife is suffering because of man’s unquenchable greed. Sadly, harmony in the bush appears to be lost in the storms of political currents.


While I write up my blog, which sometimes feels like crumbling pages of inadequate words, there are many brave people on the ground. So let us celebrate the human spirit by helping these wonderful men and woman on the front line by spreading the word and helping their causes.

rory young cause


Chengeta Wildlife…Rory Young is a wildlife tracker and activist who has been fighting against the dark and hungry greed of poaching all his life.  He is at one with the bush reading all the signs and stories left by different animals and humans. Rory, with the help of Chengeta is implementing a full time, comprehensive training program which will also enable him to provide the rangers with the resources to carry out their important work.


What happens to the orphans of these horrific and grisly attacks on the wildlife. Care for Wild represents the courageous efforts of a lady Petronel Nieuwoudt who operates in the scenic area of Barberton – just outside Nelspruit in Mpumalanga. Please take a look at the link.

‘Care in hand rearing, management and capture of infant, injured and/or orphaned animals are the passions that drive CARE forWILD AFRICA. Petronel is also one of a few who has specialized in the care of orphaned and injured rhino’s! The centre has a designated area that is especially built to cater for these magnificent species (Night pen, Day camp, Scale, etc).’

Let each and every one of us walk with purpose on our chosen paths, remembering that the majority of us two legged creatures want to stand tall and be counted. I have met and feel that I know many of my contacts through this wonderful world of technology. Like me, each and every one of them are full of weighty concerns regarding our wildlife and can no longer be silent witnesses to the carnage taking place in the bush.

My computer is one commodity I would keep in a paradise devoid of all other modern trappings. The social networks are a powerful tool to force a state of profound change.

Our African bush, the womb of the universe used to be full of vibrant scents, rich earth and animals. It was survival of the fittest. Let us not allow our wildlife to become pages of smudged photographs and memories.

As much as we feel repulsed and saddened by ugly clips and pictures, I beg each and every one of you. DO NOT LOOK AWAY. Where there are animals there is HOPE. (My poem)

We need to stand up against this corruption and greed, spread the word and help the men and women on the ground to protect the wildlife during these dark times.

Only by listening can we hear their cries

Only by looking can we see their pain.

Our elephants, rhinos and other wildlife need us. Let us celebrate their existence.