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An elephant is saved..

Zimbabwe is blessed to be home to some of the wildest regions in Africa. The country has its problems, many of which are misunderstood by the rest of the world.  Many of these including the boycotting of this country by some international tourists, and this has put pressure on the  tourism industry to maintain the National Parks and conservation areas where the animals roam. It is the viability of these wild areas that is so important to the future of wildlife, not just in Zimbabwe, but in Africa. If this viability is threatened and these areas are overtaken by farming or mining, we will lose this wildlife forever.
With this in mind there are those in the tourism industry in Zimbabwe that have worked and continue to work to both maintain the standards of their tourism product, and more importantly maintain the wildlife and the status of the wild areas within which this wildlife roams.
In this story we have a team of people working together to fight the scourge of poaching along the wild shores of Lake Kariba.
Just days ago a team of poachers crossed to an island on Lake Kariba and shot three elephant. One elephant died immediately and two of these animals were wounded one for a short time before succumbing and dying,  the other  lived out a number of tortuous days with a deep bullet wound in the shoulder, becoming badly infected. A report was made of a wounded, limping elephant to the local Anti-Poaching team from Bumi Hills, and a vet was flown out to the resort the next day. The elephant was darted and the wounds, caused by three bullets, were cleaned. The vet, confident in his work, believes that this animal will live a full life but may suffer a limp in that leg. The elephant has been fitted with a collar so that the wounds can be monitored until a full recovery is made and the collar will be removed.
The time and cost of this type of dedicated work is huge. The operators very often carry these costs in the knowledge that if they do not do this then the animal will die and the battle will be lost.
If you would like to help these operators or to visit this amazing region of Africa please contact

The following is a factual report on the incident with photographs from :


Following reports of a wounded female elephant on a nearby island, a concerted effort was mounted to find her. She had been shot and wounded by poachers in the right-hand shoulder. Dr. Richard Hoare, a well-known wildlife veterinarian (based in Harare), quickly responded to come and treat her. The following photos cover some of the processes involved. She was fitted with a radio tracking collar, and her progress will be regularly monitored. Once she has recovered fully, the collar will be removed.

Having been darted about 5 minutes earlier, she had ‘fallen’ in an awkward sitting position, so it was important to push her on her side to alleviate pressure on her internal organs, especially her lungs, which would otherwise reduce her oxygen intake capacity.

A metal detector was used to check for bullet heads/fragments. Just below where the detector is now a strong signal was detected, confirming the presence of a buller as to the cause of her injury. It was decided to leave the bullet in situ, rather than cutting into deep muscle tissue and compounding the problem. The bullet will eventually be encapsulated in surrounding tissue and should pose no further problem.
Dr. Richard Hoare begins flushing the injury with copious amounts of a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide (right). A small incision was made to enable further flushing and draining of the large pocket of puss accumulating under her skin, seen here draining successfully (left).

The incision will be left open to further drain any more pus, and will heal of its own accord. Heavy doses of antibiotic were also administered (3 whole bottles for an elephant!). A radio tracking collar was fitted to enable close monitoring of her progress and will be removed when she has hopefully made a full recovery. She may however always have a slight limp in her right leg.

A final cooling dosing of water before the drug reversal is given.


We will obviously monitor this elephant very closely in the next few weeks to ensure she recovers fully and keep you updated on her progress. Despite our best efforts, the rampant elephant poaching for ivory in the greater Sebungwe (Kariba) Area is a huge concern and we are desperately seeking funding to expand and improve our in-house conservation initiative the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit (BHAPU). For further information on this incident or how to get involved please contact us on or follow us on Facebook.

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  1. Avatar
    Colin J. FRYER
    February 4, 2015 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    Words are simply inadequate. I sit here with tears streaming down my face reading this article. Emotion not so much in the matter of a wounded ndlovu but for this act of preservation and the many, many more that are carried out each & every day of our African lives by human souls dedicated to the preservation of Mother Nature within our beloved Africa.

    Indefatigable, dedicated & committed, these individuals & Teams face dangers, costs and all other challenges in their task of what they do. In Spirit rather than the written word I salute your being and acknowledge your brilliance. Namaste.

    Light, love & abundant care.

    Colin J. FRYER. Centre Stage Travel, Cape Town.

  2. Avatar
    February 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm — Reply

    Wonderful work from you all to help these majestic animals, we need more like you!!

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