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Team and volunteers with snared kudu
Early morning Kalambeza 3Cº
Team after a successful clean up
operation in ‘Chimwara’ Farm
Zimbabwe, Newsletter July 15 2009
This month (June) we were honored with a visit from one of our sponsor
organizations ‘Save’ from Australia. Always good to meet people that are
genuinely concerned with the wellbeing of the wildlife. Sometimes you need a
bit of (moral) support to keep you going! Not many thing go smoothly in this
part of the world and sometimes you wonder who is really interested in the
work you are trying to do. The question was quickly answered.
Together with them we did a short patrol in the surroundings of ‘Hwange
Safari Lodge’, wer they were staying for the night. An hour or two would be
enough to get the first impression of the profession of an ‘Anti- Poacher’.
It did not take more than one hour when we hit the first snares. They were
places about 300 meters from the Lodge. They were ‘Kudu’ sized snares.
Some were made out of 4 or five strands, capable to give even a buffalo a
difficult time.. The snares were old, which means deserted and some were
laying on the ground, still able to do their devastating work, especially on the
animals ligaments. Some of the snare were broken, indicating that some
animals already had fallen victim, if not killed probably maimed.
After congratulating the ‘Save’ members (finding a snare in the bush is
difficult!) we marked them as official ALL4AP anti poaching members from
Australia and went back to the starting point. The ‘Save’ members always
have a busy schedule, visiting all the projects they sponsor.
One of the ‘Save’ members asked me what kept me motivated to keep doing
this kind of work. At the moment I wasn’t able to say anything else than:”It’s
difficult”. Later I asked myself why I could not come up with an answer, since
I know very well what keeps me ticking. Actually it’s simple; every snare
that is still able to catch anything and we are able to remove gives me the
same kick as in the beginning. It is just that sometimes it is hard to keep
motivated because of all sorts of difficulties and setbacks to keep yourself
focused and it seemed this was one of these moments.
Since our team was placed at another camp for a while and I did not know
for sure when the other team had patrolled around the Lodge, we decided to,
after saying goodbye to the “Save’ friends, to go back and do a sweep close
around the Lodge.
This desicion resulted in the recovering of 43 small snares for birds like
Guinea Fowls and another 4 for small game like Bush Bucks.
The snares for birds are being made from thin copper wire and also nylon
thread from cord layers from car tyres. They are hard to trace but attract
attention because poachers use branches to put over the small game trail to
attach the wires.
Unfortunately we had other responsibilities and decided to remove the snares
instead of making an ambush. On top of this people also cut a few trees,
near the rubbish pit. (The perpetrators were not put off by the removal of the
snares and continued to put them back, which means we will make it a
project to arrest the poacher(s)) The Manager of the Lodge gave us the go
ahead to arrest people also if this meant arresting his own staff.
In another two days bush camp in another area, we felt again how cold it can
be at this time of the year, especially in the morning! Despite this we
managed to find a total of 14 snares, all old.
June gave more snares compared to the same month last year; 83
compared to 18 (but with 2 arrests)
All the best and until next time, Martin