Elephant 044October 2013Dear Friends of Hwange

The Trustees of Friends of Hwange Trust, and indeed Friends all over the world, are very sad about the recent cyanide poisoning of the elephants and other animals and birds in Hwange National Park. It is however very encouraging to see that the authorities have responded in a manner befitting of such a despicable atrocity and are leaving no stone unturned to get to the bottom of it. They are also doing their best to make sure all the culprits are identified and dealt with accordingly as well as ensuring that this type of thing never happens again.

It is heartening to see the outrage from people all over the World and even more so that many Zimbabweans are truly shocked and motivated to help. Unfortunately there are many unsubstantiated and exaggerated reports going around which are causing alarm and despondency and do nothing to improve the situation. They only make it worse as potential visitors may get discouraged and make alternative plans thus reducing income into the Park and the Country as a whole. As you can imagine it is difficult to ascertain the full extent of animals killed but recent reports believe the number to be in region of about 100 elephants confirmed dead and possibly more. Sadly a number of other animals and birds have also perished including many vultures which is an ecological disaster.

The good news is that not only are the authorities taking this very seriously but they have been successful in apprehending and convicting a number of the poachers. Jail sentences are very severe and are in the region of 15 years. Heavy fines are also being applied. Even more encouraging is the fact that certain middlemen and corrupt officials are being named and brought to book. Information is being accumulated leading higher up the chain to the “dealers” behind the illegal trade. Further goods news is that the Minister has set up a Trust of non-political persons to look into the management of the Park and it’s requirements. A number of new vehicles have been deployed which will help considerably.

The efforts by the Government are not confined to Hwange National Park as anti-poaching activities are increasing throughout the country. A major break through, and even more rewarding, is that the legal system is supporting the drive and handing out penalties that should discourage would be poachers and dealers to engage in this trade. This support from the judiciary is essential and sets and example to the rest of Africa. Recently a poacher caught with a pangolin received a sentence of 9 years!

An additional solution that may help, still to be discussed with the authorities, could be to appoint private people working in the area as “Honorary Wardens” which would give them the authority to apprehend and apply the law. Another is to allow “volunteers” to set up base close to the Park boundaries thereby increasing a presence in the area.

In the meantime the Friends of Hwange work goes on within the Park ensuring as many boreholes as possible are working and providing water into the pans. It is very hot and dry at the moment and game viewing is excellent as the ground cover is sparse and the animals are concentrated around the waterholes. We look forward to the rains which will hopefully give us all time to regroup and plan for the next year. Our vehicle needs much maintenance and repair as it is now falling apart after all the hard work this dry season. The rains will provide much needed water and give us the opportunity to service and recondition engines and pumps and replace borehole pipes some of which are more than 50 years old. The tractor will get busy repairing erosion around the troughs and fixing the roads.

The Trustess would like to thank all donors for their support over the year especially at this sad time in the Parks’s history. It is indeed very hard to witness the tragic suffering and death of our animals and birds but it does serve to increase our resolve and determination to make sure that not only do we protect them better in future but also ensure Hwange National Park continues as one of the best Parks in Africa.

Our work in the Park requires money and as we rely totally on donations and fund raising activities we urge you to contribute to this worthy cause. All donations, no matter how small, do help and are apprciated.
Below are our Bank details:

  1. For local (within Zimbabwe) deposits and transfers:
    Bank: NMB Bank
    Account Name: Friends of Hwange Trust
    Account Number: 260093754
    Branch Name: Borrowdale Branch
    Branch Code: 11106
    Swift Code: NMBLZWHX

 

  1. For International Transfers:
    Intermediary Bank: COMMERZ BANK
    Swift Code: COBADEFF
    Beneficiary Bank: NMB Bank Zimbabwe
    Swift Code: NMBLZWHX
    Beneficiary Details:
    Account Name: Friends of Hwange Trust
    Account Number: 260093754

For Paypal donations:

  1. Please use the Paypal Donate button on the website: www.friendsofhwange.org/help

Should anybody from outside Zimbabwe want to make a smaller donation and feel the Bank charges may be too high to warrant a transaction or the problem of sending the money out of your country is too much then please contact us and we’ll provide you with alternative arrangements. All donations made to FOH are used for work within the Park and for the good of the animals. There are no admin and running costs as all work done by the Trustees is done on a voluntary basis.

A special thank you to the Minister and his team, National Parks & Wildlife Management Authority, Wildlife & Environment Zimbabwe and all the organizations involved in Hwange National Park for their continued work and support especially over the last few months. Together we can show the rest of the World that Zimbabweans can look after their wildlife despite the ever increasing pressure on it.

The Trustees
Friends of Hwange Trust

Trustees: D.C. Dell; B. Edwards; B. Wolhuter; D. St Quintin; Dr. K. Jenkins, P. Turner

Founder: R.A. Franklin

Tel: +263-4 707973; Mobile (Dave Dell): +263-712 630152; Email: dave@friendsofhwange.org

C/O Box 3021, Harare, Zimbabwe

Website: www.friendsofhwange.org | www.facebook.com/FriendsOfHwange