News & Updates
Zimbabwe, November the 28th, 2007
A month has past again and what a change in color of vegetation! Last month I told you
the environment here was very dry; now the rains start to release their precious cargo
and after just two or three days the world here starts to get green. Grass shoots come
up and a much easier life for most animals is arriving.
Last month I spoke to you rather optimistic about my confidence of the approval of the
Authorities to give us the go ahead to do our Anti Poaching activities in Hwange National
Park. Unfortunately time went on and we heard little from the Authorities which left me
rather frustrated I must admit. Not being able to materialize the plans we have is not
what we are here for.
After deliberation with partner Andrew Loveridge in Oxford we decided to start our
initiative initially on the peripheries of the Park in an area called Gwayi Conservancy
(Gwayi is a river). It seemed better to start and do something than to sit and wait.
Wildlife needs us more than ever and we do not want to disappoint our supporters.
Here in the Gwayi there are farmers that have large pieces of forest which connects
openly with the Park. Most likely we will get the needed permission to enter Hwange
National Park in a later stadium. This is actually what happened with the teams from our
sister organization Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) so we are still confident that this will
materialize. In these neighboring ‘farms’ (that look the same as the Park itself) proper
anti poaching is still in its ‘infancy’ as a good local friend of me said and he is very right.
This decision was an important step whilst I could make plans to get things going.
Permission from the land owners, announcements in a large area, recruitment, training
location and permission of the Tribal leader the Chief, all have to be in order.
Fortunately we have great allies and we cannot do without. Especially since for now we
were not able to make use of Wilderness Safari’s accommodation. But we were very
welcome in the “Bush Camp” from PDC. The testing of recruits could be done at one of
their anti poaching camps. It was beneficial for both since both organizations needed
The “Bush Camp” is normally used to educate local children from the age of 10 and their
parents for free. Fortunately for us it was closed until the last week of January so we will
be able to make good use of the facility.
The plan is to start the interviews and tests on the 1st of December 2007.
But in the meantime I did not do completely nothing…and I was not the only one. At this
moment I am still staying at the ‘Doghouse’ from PDC and are still busy with their a.p.
teams. Last month we had some changes after the previous a.p. manager left. His
replacement is an old ally and colleague (ex Police Officer in Dete a small town here).
He is really very enthusiastic and driven. After these few weeks I can already see a big
improvement in the teams. I am sure our working relationship and his valuable contacts
will benefit both organizations (and wildlife) a lot.
I often wonder when I am in Holland, why things always take time here. The only way to
understand I think is just to come here and see for yourself…
Till next month, Martin Stiemer