Category Archive 'Zimbabwe'

25 Aug 2015

Lion Kills Guide in Same Zimbabwe Park

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ChargingLion

Remember all the talk about the “cowardly dentist” who killed a lion outside Hwange Park in Zimbabwe? Well, another lion just killed a professional hunter guiding a group of tourists armed with cameras in the same park. Apparently the guide, Quinn Swales, stepped between the charging lion and his tourists and did his best to stop the charge with his heavy rifle. He failed and the lion got him.

The Guardian reports:

A safari guide has been mauled to death by a lion in the same Zimbabwean national park where Cecil the lion was killed by hunters.

Quinn Swales was taking guests on a photographic walking safari in Hwange national park at dawn on Monday when he was charged by the male, according to the Camp Hwange lodge. The 40-year-old Zimbabwean saved his guests but died of his injuries.

Hwange was home to Cecil the lion before he was killed last month… by American dentist Walter Palmer, triggering a global wave of revulsion and anger.

Camp Hwange announced on its Facebook page: “It is with deep regret and great sadness that we are able to confirm the death of Quinn Swales, a Camp Hwange professional guide, who was fatally mauled by a male lion whilst out on a walking safari this morning.

“We can confirm that Quinn did everything he could to successfully protect his guests and ensure their safety, and that no guests were injured in the incident.”

The safari industry paid tribute to Swales. Media reports quoted Shelley Cox, of African Bush Camps, as saying: “Quinn’s actions in successfully protecting the lives of his guests is heroic and reminiscent of his outstanding guiding skills, experience and training. It is certainly a tragedy and a loss to the guiding fraternity and tourism industry.”

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The Telegraph has a few more detail, messes up a rifle caliber designation, and gives Simba a pet name.

Mr Swales was employed by Camp Hwange, a four-year-old photographic safari company, and was registered with Zimbabwe’s Professional Hunters and Guides Association.

Other guides in the area said Mr Swales would have been carrying a hunting rifle of at least .375 mm [sic, not metric -JDZ] to protect his clients and himself. …

“I understand the animal went for his shoulder and probably hit the jugular. The clients – I think they were from New Zealand – radioed the alarm back from the vehicle which was nearby. As far as I know they were all walking at the time of the attack.”

He said a helicopter was sent immediately after the distress call came in, but nothing could be done. “It picked up his body. This is a highly professional company. Brilliant operation. We will find out more accurate details in the next day or two.”

A source from the wildlife industry told the Telegraph he believed that the lion was a male named Naka.

“This lion had by all accounts been behaving aggressively for some time. It was even attacking safari vehicles,” said another tour operator from Hwange. “As far as we know he bled to death.”

A safari guide who helped to train the victim described him as “a very good guy” who started working for Camp Hwange early this year.

“Quinn was obviously going to be a great guide,” he said. “I have seen him in the bush and he was very good.”

A professional hunter who worked in the area said the guide’s gun would also be checked to see if he managed to fire it. “We don’t yet know if he managed to fire a shot at the lion, or whether he was overwhelmed before he could shoot,” he said. “This is terrible, and it is quite a rare event.”

Another Hwange National Park safari operator said he would not do game walks because he was “terrified of lions”. “But tourists want to walk with wildlife,” he added.

When stopping the charge goes right.

05 Aug 2015

Zimbabweans Do Not Miss “Cecil”

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GoodNewsMyChild

It has gradually become apparent that reports claiming that “Cecil” was famous in Zimbabwe and some kind of specially beloved lion were simply a fabrication designed to manipulate the public’s emotions.

In reality, Zimbabweans, when asked, reply that they had never heard of “Cecil” and are simply puzzled by all the uproar over the death of one perfectly ordinary lion.

Reuters:

What lion?” acting information minister Prisca Mupfumira asked in response to a request for comment about Cecil, who was at that moment topping global news bulletins and generating reams of abuse for his killer on websites in the United States and Europe. …

For most people in the southern African nation, where unemployment tops 80 percent and the economy continues to feel the after-effects of billion percent hyperinflation a decade ago, the uproar had all the hallmarks of a ‘First World Problem’.

“Are you saying that all this noise is about a dead lion? Lions are killed all the time in this country,” said Tryphina Kaseke, a used-clothes hawker on the streets of Harare. “What is so special about this one?”

As with many countries in Africa, in Zimbabwe big wild animals such as lions, elephants or hippos are seen either as a potential meal, or a threat to people and property that needs to be controlled or killed. …

“Why are the Americans more concerned than us?” said Joseph Mabuwa, a 33-year-old father-of-two cleaning his car in the center of the capital. “We never hear them speak out when villagers are killed by lions and elephants in Hwange.”

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Goodwell Nzou explains just how ridiculous all this self-indulgent Western sentimentality about lions appears to Africans who actually have experience of living with lions.

So sorry about Cecil.

Did Cecil live near your place in Zimbabwe?

Cecil who? I wondered. When I turned on the news and discovered that the messages were about a lion killed by an American dentist, the village boy inside me instinctively cheered: One lion fewer to menace families like mine.

My excitement was doused when I realized that the lion killer was being painted as the villain. I faced the starkest cultural contradiction I’d experienced during my five years studying in the United States.

Did all those Americans signing petitions understand that lions actually kill people? …

In my village in Zimbabwe, surrounded by wildlife conservation areas, no lion has ever been beloved, or granted an affectionate nickname. They are objects of terror.

When I was 9 years old, a solitary lion prowled villages near my home. After it killed a few chickens, some goats and finally a cow, we were warned to walk to school in groups and stop playing outside. My sisters no longer went alone to the river to collect water or wash dishes; my mother waited for my father and older brothers, armed with machetes, axes and spears, to escort her into the bush to collect firewood.

A week later, my mother gathered me with nine of my siblings to explain that her uncle had been attacked but escaped with nothing more than an injured leg. The lion sucked the life out of the village: No one socialized by fires at night; no one dared stroll over to a neighbor’s homestead.

When the lion was finally killed, no one cared whether its murderer was a local person or a white trophy hunter, whether it was poached or killed legally. We danced and sang about the vanquishing of the fearsome beast and our escape from serious harm.

Recently, a 14-year-old boy in a village not far from mine wasn’t so lucky. Sleeping in his family’s fields, as villagers do to protect crops from the hippos, buffalo and elephants that trample them, he was mauled by a lion and died.

The killing of Cecil hasn’t garnered much more sympathy from urban Zimbabweans, although they live with no such danger. Few have ever seen a lion, since game drives are a luxury residents of a country with an average monthly income below $150 cannot afford. …

The American tendency to romanticize animals … and to jump onto a hashtag train has turned an ordinary situation — there were 800 lions legally killed over a decade by well-heeled foreigners who shelled out serious money to prove their prowess — into what seems to my Zimbabwean eyes an absurdist circus. …

We Zimbabweans are left shaking our heads, wondering why Americans care more about African animals than about African people.

Read the whole thing.

29 Jul 2015

British Papers Hunt US Dentist, And You Can Kiss Zimbabwe’s Big Game Goodbye

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Cecil
“Cecil” the lion.

A series of tear-jerker articles in British newspapers concerning the taking of a lion at the beginning of this month on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park has unleashed an astonishing tizzy of violent emotionalism and anti-hunting bigotry on the part of the international media’s ill-informed and urban-based mass audience.

Dr. Walter Palmer, a Bloomington, Minnesota dentist who is also a long-time and spectacularly accomplished big game hunter, has been pilloried for effectuating the demise of a mature, 13-year-old male lion, referred to by the Press as “Cecil.” (Wikipedia notes that, typically, “Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild.”) Lions, of course, do not have names.

All the heart-string-tugging malarkey about poor “Cecil” was apparently started by the head of one of those Timothy Treadwell-style, self-appointed, one-man “Save the Charismatic Wildlife By Giving Me Money!” Conservation Charities. Johnny Rodrigues, a Madeira-born former Rhodesian farmer and operator of a failed trucking company, founder and Chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, seems to be the original source of Cecil’s biography and all the complaints.

The story, as told to the BBC, went:

A hunter paid a $55,000 (£35,000) bribe to wildlife guides to kill an “iconic” lion in Zimbabwe, a conservationist has told the BBC.

Allegations that a Spaniard was behind the killing were being investigated, Johnny Rodrigues said.

The lion, named Cecil, was shot with a crossbow and rifle, before being beheaded and skinned, he added.

The 13-year-old lion was a major tourist attraction at Zimbabwe’s famous Hwange National Park.

Zimbabwe, like many African countries, is battling to curb illegal hunting and poaching which threatens to make some of its wildlife extinct.

Mr Rodrigues, the head of Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said the use of a bow and arrow heralded a new trend aimed at avoiding arrest.

“It’s more silent. If you want to do anything illegal, that’s the way to do it,” he told BBC’s Newsday programme.
‘Lion baited’

However, the lion, which had a distinctive black mane, did not die immediately and was followed for more than 40 hours before it was shot with rifle, Mr Rodrigues said.

The animal had a GPS collar for a research project by UK-based Oxford University, allowing authorities to track its movements.

Mr Rodrigues said Cecil’s killing was tragic.

“He never bothered anybody. He was one of the most beautiful animals to look at.”

The lion had been “baited” out of the park, a tactic which hunters used to portray their action as legal, Mr Rodrigues said.

Two guides had been arrested and if it was confirmed that the hunter was a Spaniard, “we will expose him for what he is”, he added.

The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed, as a new male lion in the pride will not allow them to live in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.

“That’s how it works… it’s in the wild; it’s nature taking its course,” Mr Rodrigues said.

Cecil2
If somebody had fallen out of that Land Rover, it looks to me like “Cecil” would have bothered him.

Mr. Rodrigues was clearly in error on a variety of details.

The hunter was not Spanish, and was actually the American Dr. Palmer. The lion was undoubtedly shot with a longbow, not a crossbow. Dr. Palmer obviously did not bribe anybody. He would have been paying, as is typically required for non-citizens hunting in African countries, per diem for the safari guiding services of a professional hunting company, which would have run something on the order of $1800-2200 a day. (Example: CMS Safaris) He would additionally have paid a $10,000-15,000 trophy fee to the government of Zimbabwe for the privilege of taking a lion.

It is by no means impossible that Mr. Rodrigues is correct as to the total amount of hunting and trophy fees contributed by Dr. Palmer to the Zimbabwean economy and in support of wildlife conservation in that country. Trophy big game hunting is expensive and represents the principal source of revenue in African countries used to protect wildlife and to prevent poaching.

If one looks at the situation correctly, Dr. Palmer was harvesting an aged, trophy lion in exchange for a massive infusion of cash. The ability of African countries to collect those kinds of trophy fees and the ability of sport hunting to provide African employment and to bring that kind of money into the local economy constitutes the best possible kind of motivation for African governments to take a serious interest in the protection, preservation, and survival of big game species. When one lion can bring Zimbabwe $55,000 in cold hard cash, you can bet that lions will not be permitted to be exterminated in Zimbabwe.

The British press stories, based on Mr. Rodrigues’ accusations, claim that the lion was lured outside the park intentionally by baiting, but the later accounts all make clear that “Cecil” wandered out of the park and was shot when found going after bait which had been placed legally to attract leopard. Nobody baits lions, but leopards (absent any other practical method) are typically shot over bait.

Further accusations express outrage that Dr. Palmer shot a collared lion, but “Cecil” was a handsome specimen with a large and very full mane. Looking at two photographs of him, I certainly cannot see a collar. It is obviously unfair to blame the hunter for not seeing a collar buried deep in a lion’s mane.

And, apparently, the harvesting of a collared lion inadvertently by a sport hunter is not unusual. (Telegraph)

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University has tracked the Hwange lions since 1999 to measure the impact of sport hunting beyond the park on the lion population within the park, using radar and direct observation.

According to figures published by National Geographic, 34 of their 62 tagged lions died during the study period – 24 were shot by sport hunters.

The Press piled on inflammatory details obviously intended to stir readers’ emotions. The newspaper accounts all note that the lion was initially wounded, and then subsequently followed up and killed by gunshot. And then! the poor lion’s remains were outraged and violated. He was skinned and decapitated, the newsprint screams. Urban readers are clearly intended to regard Dr. Palmer and his professional hunter as barbarians on a par with ISIS, running around decapitating lions. Of course, a trophy game animal is commonly skinned and its skull taken and preserved, so that they can be mounted by a taxidermist.

Zimbabwe, of course, is an incompetent and corrupt left-wing kleptocracy run by primitive natives, so all this international brouhaha is provoking exactly the kind of pompous official response one might expect. Dr. Palmer’s lion trophy has been confiscated, and the professional hunting firm is being charged with taking the lion illegally. Zimbabwean authorities now contend that the lion was taken on a farm whose owner had not been allocated any permit allowing a lion to be harvested. If that story is correct, of course, the violation would not be the fault of the American dentist. The visiting hunter pays that $1800-2200 per diem to the professional hunting company precisely so that his White Hunters will guide him to locations where the trophies he is after can be legally hunted and see to it that all of the necessary licenses and permits are in order.

Poor Dr. Palmer, as the result, of all of this has become the object of literally thousands and thousands of pieces of hate postings, many of them explicitly yearning for him to die a painful death, and he has been forced to close his office and go into hiding.

How well do you suppose the safari industry in Zimbabwe will be making out next year? What do you suppose Zimbabwean game license fees funding that country’s conservation revenues are going to be like? As we sit here, you can count on it, letters cancelling next year’s safaris are being written. And it follows inevitably that game protection funding will be down to zip, and poaching and illegal lion taking in the general vicinity of Hwange National Park will be flourishing on an unprecedented scale for many years to come, all thanks to Mr. Rodrigues and all the animal lovers writing news reports for British newspapers.

WalterPalmer
Dr. Palmer with trophy leopard.

10 Nov 2014

Hippos Fighting in the Kitchen!

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Hippo1

From Quora:

Lake Kariba leaves one dreaming of lazy days fishing, game viewing and braaing in the evening whilst being serenaded by the sounds of the night.

Colin, my brother in law had won four nights in a raffle, so had invited my parents, Mike Freeman and myself to join.

Within hours of arriving we were blessed with a magnificent elephant interaction at our lodge before going onto the water for a game.

Later whilst eating dinner another bull came upto the lodge and we could have stroked its head it felt that close! Unbelievable… we really are spoilt living in Zimbabwe.

Following an amazing sea food dinner, which Colin cooked on the skottle, we sat around outside playing games. The cook was cleaning the dishes in the kitchen, with the kitchen door was open, so that he could get a bit of a breeze.

Suddenly, he sprinted around from the kitchen, past us, at an incredible a rate, followed by a series of monumental crashing sounds and roaring. We all assumed an elephant had become enraged, and lost no time in getting into the house and going for the stairs to get to safety.

I however, ran outside to get a better view of what was actually happening, only to see the slashing jaws of a hippo bull attacking the hindquarters of another one trapped at its front. Now a door frame is not wide, so picture an animal over one tonne squeezing through the opening into a kitchen that was not much wider than the door opening into it.

Imagine my surprise when I saw first a human hand and then a head peer with panic around the wall! Oh my God, someone is wedged in there with those two terrifying creatures! I dashed around and into the kitchen to see him attempting to clamber over the stove, which had now been ripped away from it’s place in the wall. I helped him squeeze and avoid those massive teeth – it was truly a wonder that he hadn’t been sliced to shreds.

The pandemonium and cacophony of sounds added to the sheer terror of the situation – however only with hindsight are these things appreciated.

Adrenaline has a habit of taking charge, allowing one to make informed decisions based on facts not feelings.

I then raced back towards the roaring and gnashing jaws of these massive creatures and started clapping and shouting. Even in my state of adrenaline induced action I thought – what the hell am I doing. I was sure they could not even hear me, let alone pay any attention to my presence Colin came to back me up and amazingly one of the hippo reversed, squeezing back through the back door – which was now splinters (even the security gate had been ripped from the wall).

The unfortunate hippo then forced its way into the dining room through the narrow opening toward me. Ripping the stove off the wall and causing a power outage. And then silence!

I legged it! I now had lost the advantage of at least being able to see the most dangerous creature in Africa before it ploughed its way toward me. So needed light.

Once I had my cellphone I slowly make my way to the point where I last saw the hippo’s using my phone torch to assess the situation.

The moment the torch light landed on the hippo he made a mad dash toward me. I wasn’t sticking around to see how quickly he could smash his way through the dining room table so AGAIN I legged it.

He made his escape through the open French window, destroying the Jacuzzi and heading toward the sanctuary of the lake.

The next morning we moved to a new lodge as the smell was terrible whilst there was a bit of a clean up operation which needed to begin.

19 Sep 2013

Cricketeer Sleeps All Night With 8-Foot Crocodile Hiding Under His Bed

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Worse than your dust bunnies.

Guy Whittall, age 40, slept peacefully all night, only inches away from the 330 lb. reptile, and never even noticed his presence. Whittall learned that he had had a roommate when he heard the housemaid’s screams while eating his breakfast in the kitchen.

Daily Mail:


Doesn’t want to leave.

The really disconcerting thing about the whole episode is the fact that I was sitting on the edge of the bed that morning, bare foot and just centimetres away from the croc.”

25 Nov 2011

“The Last Dictator Standing”

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Nando’s, a restaurant chain of South African origin (specializing in Mozambique-Portuguese-style chilli-flavored chicken) recently released a commercial mocking Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe as “The Last Dictator Standing.”

Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.

15 Feb 2010

Will Goodall’s Horn Sold in Zimbabwe

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Will Goodall (1812? — 1859?), renowned huntsman to the Belvoir (pronounced “beaver”), the Duke of Rutland’s, was famous for his devotion to his hounds, whom Lord Bentinck reports he contended required to be treated like women, as “they could not bear to be bullied, deceived, nor neglected with impunity.”

Lionel Edwards (Huntsmen Past and Present, 1929) tells us that Goodall’s illustrious career was curtailed by an unfortunate accident.

Will died as the result of falling on his horn, which he carried in his breast, on the last day of the season, after Croxton Races. The meet was at Belvoir. The day was the third anniversary of the Hunt presentation to him — a day on which the inn at Grantham had rung again to the tune of “Will Goodall’s the boy!” The year was probably 1859, the last year of Lord Forrester’s Mastership, as the sixth Duke of Rutland’s first season as Master appears to have been 1859-1860. Will was only ill ten days, during which time he rose from his bed but once, to show Lord Henry Bentinck his young Rallywoods of the third generation. It was with a strange fitness that as the hearse moved away the hinds began to “sing” a strange and mournful requiem, which the “Druid” tells us, fairly thrilled the mourners.

A Guest Blogger at Lilla Mason’s (huntsman of the Iroquois Hounds) Full Cry blog last summer wrote a tribute to Goodall last July.

A few days ago the article prompted an inquiry from a distant reader inquiring about a recent auction purchase.

James and Denise Davies… decided to bid on the copper horn at a local auction near their home in Zimbabwe. The couple have a restaurant in the African nation and also have been collecting antiques for about six years.

“Nobody bid on it, so we got it more next to nothing,” said James, whose usual auction picks are more in the line of figurines and military memorabilia. “We were the only bidders.”

It would seem that Mr. and Mrs. Davies had acquired Will Goodall’s famous (and fatal) horn.

10 Jun 2007

Female Archer Takes Elephant

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I didn’t report on the giant pig story, because I didn’t believe it when I first encountered it. This one looks like it could well be authentic.

Bud Bolen of Jacksonville, Florida says he received the above photo from a friend (presumably the lady herself), and posted it on Archery Talk.

Bolen identifies the bow used to slay the elephant as a PSE X-Force.

He quotes her saying:

I was pulling 85 [38.64 kg.] on the bow before I left. When I got over there, I lowered it to 83 [37.73 kg.]. It was getting 103 ft lbs of kinetic energy at 83. The bow was awesome. I think it fit me well.

I had been hunting hard for 8 days before I got a chance to draw back. I had to hold the bow for a minute before I could take a shot. I shot the elephant at 12 yards with one arrow. It was shot near dark. We went back the next day and found him. I was in the middle of 37 elephants when I took my shot. This was my first bow kill and first woman to take an elie with a bow. The safari will be on Versus at the end of Sep or beginning of Oct. It is suppose to be the premiere show of the season. I will let you know the date when I find out.

The huntress is also quoted here:

The Outfitter was Tshabezi Safaris – Dudley Rogers. If anyone would like to book a safari with him, I can set it up.

The main camp was in Gokwe north.

As for the equipment, PSE set up the bow including stabalizer (sic), rest and site. I used a Little Goose release. The broadheads were also set up by PSE. They [the arrow shafts] were Black Mombas [sic] 550 grains. The broadheads were German Kinetics at 180 grains. The total grains equaled 730.

I wore Danner boots and Foxy Huntress clothing.

Mike Christianson was my bow mentor. Dr. Hugo Gibson was my chiropractor. I had to have him along because the heavy bow was pulling and pushing my shoulders out.

I trained for 14 months to be able to pull the big bows.

Her hunt probably cost $800 per day on a 10-16 day safari plus a trophy fee of $8000. Minimally $16,000 plus air fare.

30 May 2006

That Is What You Call Inflation

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The government of Zimbabwe cannot afford to print enough paper currency to meet the needs of its runaway inflation.

Official sources said the recent 150 percent pay rise for soldiers, teachers, policemen and nurses had put a strain on money supply.

Reserve Bank officials told IRIN that plans to print about Zim$60 trillion (about US$592.9 million) were briefly delayed after the government failed to secure foreign currency to buy ink and special paper for printing money.

Inflation has shot to 1,042 percent and is still climbing as the economic meltdown continues, putting Zimbabwe’s rapidly dwindling working class in an ever more precarious position.


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