News & Updates
Buffalo’s at Dete Vlei
Zimbabwe, Newsletter March - April2010
The month of March was a ‘water month’. In the way that there was still a lot
of it coming from the sky and also because I have been busy to install an
electric water pump for Khatshana Lodge where I live. I lived there for half a
year without running water, but now I am enjoying the luxury of having it
running from a tap!
The team in the mean time was doing more patrols around their base camp.
In March they removed 48 snares, compared to 16 last year. This is low, but
that’s because of the rains and the fact that people are still busy in the fields.
Actually as we speak (end of April) even we (Mr. Dube, our camp guard and
myself) are preparing a garden at Khatshana to provide ourselves with
vegetables. With the water running now it will not be the question if we will
be successful, but if we manage to keep the wild animals out of it! Already
the first tomato was stolen by a squirrel!
In April we saw the weather gradually changing to a bit dryer and cooler.
Besides the patrols around Jackal Berry camp at the Gwayi, we did a patrol
on the South bank of the ‘Shangani River’. Last year August we did our first
patrol there and collected a record of 338 snares, 100 of which were for
birds. Time for a check we thought and although we only managed to do the
south bank (the River is still flowing quite rapidly, where as the Gwayi River
already stopped flowing) we found 18 Mopani logs and removed 140 snares.
Again it is the people that stay at the hunting camps that are most likely to
be the poachers. Otherwise it’s impossible to get there, because it is too
remote. Disturbing is the fact that we did hardly find any fresh spoors or
droppings from any animals. Even at night the only sounds of mammals we
heard were one jackal, bats and a bush baby.
During this period we were asked by Sharon Pincott, to see if we could help
darting a snared elephant at Kanondo pan, on the Hwange Safari Lodge
estate. I joined forces with a colleague from Lion research and we did find
the female elephant. A horrible snare quite high on her right hind leg which
made her movements look painful. No luck that day; the dart broke without
injecting and the cow did not let us come near her, neither by vehicle or on
foot. After some tracking we had to abandon her for security reasons; other
elephants around and the thick bush. Hopefully she will re appear and give
us another chance.
Another patrol was performed on request at the concession of the Hide
Safaris. On that day we did not find any snares which means the place was
clean. Also here we saw fresh lion spoors. Lions are doing very well and we
can hear / see them often around both Jackal Berry camp and Katshana
On the last day of April we started a joined patrol with Forestry commission.
Our sister organization had found a lot of snares and saw the poacher but
lost him. We are working on the holiday (workers day) and during the
weekend to see if we can arrest some persistent poachers in the Forest area.
In our next report we will inform you about the results of this patrol.
Best regards, Martin & team