Hunting of Zimbabwe’s Presidential elephants reportedly begins

via Hunting of Zim Presidential elephants reportedly begins | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fears about the future safety of the ‘protected’ Zimbabwe Presidential elephant herd have been further heightened, after reports of gunfire and suspected hunting activity at one of the herd’s watering holes.

The reports came from a nearby safari lodge, claiming that a man called Ruben Mkandla and two hunters were shooting the elephants this weekend. Mkandla is understood to be the brother-in-law of former Mines Minister Obert Mpofu.

SW Radio Africa was unable to verify the reports on Tuesday.

But the claims will do little to ease the fears of conservationists in and around Zimbabwe, because the reports follow just days after warnings that the elephants are under threat.

Last week, Johnny Rodrigues the Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), warned that the elephants faced being killed despite the Presidential decree meant to be protecting them. He told SW Radio Africa that the decision by the herd’s primary caretaker to step aside, left them vulnerable to hunting activities.

Last week Sharon Pincott, who founded and ran the Presidential Elephant Conservation Project since 2001, announced she was stopping her work. This shock decision followed a worsening fight caused by the takeover of a piece of land in the Hwange National Park, which serves as the herd’s home range.

The land in the Kanondo area has been claimed by a woman who insists she has an inheritance claim to the land, despite a 2013 directive by Zimbabwe’s Cabinet that offer letters for the land be withdrawn. Instead, the Kanondo land claimant has forged ahead with the building of a safari lodge called the Gwango Elephant Lodge, which claims to be a conservancy opening for tourism business.

The claimant, Elisabeth Pasalk/Freeman, is understood to be an American resident, but concern has been raised amid reports that she is the sister of a known Zimbabwean hunting safari operator named Rodger Madangure.

Pincott was fighting for support and intervention from the government, because of the threat the land claim has to the Presidential elephant herd’s future safety. But her efforts have been to no avail and she has now completely withdrawn from the Project.

Rodriques said: “Once she’s removed from there, the Presidential elephants will be gone. I hope they move on, but I believe the people claiming this land are interlinked with hunting operations so I don’t see any future for these animals. They will all be shot and that will be the end of the Presidential herd.”

Meanwhile, a leading, international conservation group has warned in a new report that land grabs in Zimbabwe were a direct threat to elephant populations in Africa. The report commissioned by the Born Free group said that Zimbabwe could become a poaching hot spot as a result of the lawless and murky manner in which conservation land has been parceled out to ZANU PF members.



  • comment-avatar
    Roving Ambassador 9 years ago

    Calling them presidential herd does not give them protection. Mugabe will be the first one to order them slaughtered.
    And the ivory handed over to his all weather friends.

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    Busi M. 9 years ago

    Where is the big man Kasukuwere? Not so very big now, cannot even do what is necessary to protect Bob’s herd. We were in Hwange for easter and enquired at Safari Lodge for a drive into the herd but no longer on offer. Signs for this taken land on the roads for us all to see the greed & tourists shaking their heads. Where will they snatch next. Have we forgotten how to work for what we get in this country even right beside our best national park and of course the guns will start again when no one is looking. Ashamed to be Zimbabwean & Obert Mpofu’s name in it again. If Kasukuwere too slow and braindead like always, what about Mzembi doing something

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    Black people are destroying Zimbabwe’s natural resources and the hated white people are protecting them.How ironic

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    Stingray 9 years ago

    During his campaign mugabe promised to resettle his supporters in game parks when he said that during his flights he had seen vast tracts of land occupied by wild animals at the expense of human beings

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    munzwa 9 years ago

    @stingray, Its like Minister Made flying over the country at about 3000 ft and saying we have a bumper harvest on offer as every thing looks green!!!Bob is as blind as the rest of them…

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    What more can you expect! No conscience, no morals, no common decency. Just pure unadulterated greed through and through.

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    The so called liberation party do not give a stitch for this nation. They just do not care. They take selfishness to another realm! It is funny but the very ones who truly love this land are the ones who ZPF will set out to destroy. Doesn’t that tell you something?

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    Mlimo 9 years ago

    Depleted al other sources of quick bucks time turn to what’s left. How utterly destructive.

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    […] 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. […]