ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE
18th July 2009
FOOD FOR TATENDA
Last month, we received funds from the El Paso Rhinos Hockey Team to buy more milk and game cubes for Tatenda but due to medical problems, I was unable to travel to South Africa to purchase the food. I discovered that game cubes are now available locally but I wasn't sure if the local cubes would agree with Tatenda so I bought 100kg, a relatively small quantity, and delivered it to Imire to see if the young rhino would approve before buying a full consignment.
As it turned out, he wasn't very impressed with the local cubes and made it quite clear that he preferred the imported ones so I went to South Africa and bought 600kg of game cubes and 50kg of skimmed milk powder. We donated 100kg of the cubes to Bally Vaughan Sanctuary. Thank you very much to the El Paso Rhinos and to the following people who have very kindly assisted us with funds: Lawrence and Sandy King, John and Helen Buckle, Rita Nichols, Charlie Thompson, Sue Ryan, Alan and Margaret Salmon, Candice Park Pearson and Pearl MacCallum.
We were sitting in the garden at the Travers farm house, when Tsotsi the hyena suddenly appeared. He has grown so much that we didn't recognise him at first and my granddaughter leapt in a single bound onto the breakfast table. Tsotsi spends most of his time in the bush now and normally only visits the Travers in the evenings, looking for something to eat.
We then went into the game park with our load of milk and game cubes to see Tatenda, Shanu and Hogwash.
Judy opened one of the bags of cubes to give the 2 rhinos and the warthog a treat and they were delighted. There is no doubt that they know the difference between local and imported game cubes.
Those of you who have been to Imire will know about the 3 elephants in the game park, the males, Big Mack and Toto, and the young female, Mandebvu. Last year, the Travers were making arrangements to have Mandebvu sterilized because she was reaching the age where she would start reproducing but before they had a chance to carry out the procedure, they discovered that she had beaten them to it - she was already pregnant.
In May this year, Mandebvu gave birth to healthy little bull which the Travers have named Kutanga - meaning "first" because he is the first elephant ever to be born at Imire. Kutanga was 6 weeks premature. We saw him when he was only 2 days old and he was the tiniest little elephant we have ever seen.
Judy kept the mother and baby in a boma for the first few days because she wasn't sure how the two bulls would react to the newcomer but when she released them into the game park to be with the other elephants, they accepted Kutanga into their family immediately.
After visiting Tatenda, Shanu and Hogwash, we drove through the game park to see the elephants. The three adult elephants are very protective over the delightful little Kutanga and watch indulgently while he mischievously cavorts around, rolls in the sand and tries to charge everybody in sight.
We have received information that the new farmers who have been resettled on farms in the Macheke area are snaring all the kudu in the district, cutting them up and selling the meat as biltong. Observers have seen numerous racks of meat drying and residents in the area are complaining that there are very few kudu left there.
Illegal hunting and poaching is still going on in Hwange National Park according to reports received. Two Romanian hunters recently shot an elephant in Robins Camp and two rhinos have been lost to poachers in Sinamatella. A third rhino was found snared but fortunately was saved.
It has also been alleged that a government minister, whose name we do not yet know, instructed the Hwange National Parks staff to shoot an elephant. The elephant, a big bull, was shot close to Makwa Pan in the game park and the meat was sent to Harare in accordance with the minister's instructions.
PENALTIES FOR THE ILLEGAL OFFTAKE OF WILDLIFE IN ZIMBABWE
The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Francis Nhema has issued an official notice, with regard to the trapping of wild animals. He has released a schedule detailing certain amounts to be imposed upon the entrapment of various species of wildlife, for example, leopard - USD5 000, elephant - USD20 000 and rhino - USD120 000. We wanted to attach the whole schedule which is about 150kb but some people may have a problem downloading it so if anyone would like to see it, please email us.
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile: 263 11 603 213