Monday, November 20, 2006

Kudus, Virgins and Elephants.

Things have been exceptionally hectic for me these last few weeks. I have been evicted from my last abode and now languish under a bridge in a cardboard box protected from the elements by Co-Op carrier bags weighted down with stones. I do hope that a better form of accommodation will be forthcoming as the bags claim to be bio-degradable and could start leaking in weeks.

To add to my woes my beloved laptop had a fight with a Virgin. Actually it was a train owned by that rich hairy man Richard Branson. Whilst on one recently the air con in my particular carriage was malfunctioning and decided to pour a rather large quantity of ice cold water all over my open laptop making it non-comprehendo as far as using the keyboard, CD-Rom and a few other bits of it. After dashing off a letter of complaint via someone else’s P.C., the thing was duly packed off to be serviced by a Virgin or whatever, leaving me rather fingerless as far as writing is concerned.

I wish to thank Kudu Eye for his excellent comments regarding my scribbling. He is of course correct and that is why I am studying towards a degree. At the moment I have just started my next course called Writing Fiction, which has become rather an eye opener. I see I have a long way to go. I have had to use the public library to read and complete the course material which is all online. That is a bind. I can’t really get things done in the allowed 30 minute sessions. 25 mins I need just to catch up on my porn collection - hah hah. A friend in the meantime has lent me a P.C. but it seems to suffer from dyslexia and trying to save stuff on to a diskette has led to terrible tantrums, especially when the bastard across the road keeps pulling the plug on the extension lead to my new home I covertly installed in his garden socket during the night. What are a few watts between friends huh!

As Kudu Eye left the comment anomalously I cannot reply directly. I would be grateful if he could contact me with an Email address. As for what the police buckle on my belt is for: my guess - for opening beers!

I hope to be able to add to my Blog with a bit more regularity in the near future but in the mean time here is a rather disturbing copy of an Email I received recently. I used to visit the area in the late ’80 early ‘90s. I suppose it is just another example of how poor old Zimbabwe has gone down the tubes. I went down to the vigil last Saturday. The one held outside Zimbabwe house every Saturday on the Strand, not far from Nelson’s column. Considering there must be about quarter of a million Zimbabweans in the U.K. it was a rather small effort but 10 out of 10 for the enthusiasm of those attending.


Tel Hre 788xxx/091409xxx
29th October 2006
(any typos are direct transcription from author’s letter)

PLOT 478
TEL. 6xx



I have been involved in Chirundu through either my marine business or my Residential house on the hill for the past 26 years and know the place and envirement well.

At the onset of this letter, I have never shot game and therefore do not know the characteristics of their actions when shot.

But last week, whilst up there on maintance, I witnessed a situation that would sicken the most ardent hunter, committed by National parks Ranger (I only saw one person in green uniform).

My house, which is on the hill, overlooks the floodplain below, and at approx 5.30p.m. on Friday last week, I was sitting outside glassing the floodplains below looking for game.

Amazingly, I noticed a not mature elephant, approaching the hill top, on the plains below – which went into the thick scrub at the base of the hill, below me, out of sight at approx 5.15p.m.

The following incident then took place:

1. I heard 4-5 shots in rapid succession ring out below me
2. As the shots occurred at the base of the hill, which is out of sight from my position, I jumped upon my pool pump house to get a better view
3. I saw this single elephant, trying to scrabble away on front kneecaps, as it appeared to me that it had lost the ability to fully stand properly.
4. The elephant, tried to scrabble away, on the road below me, this was followed by a further 4-5 shots into what appeared to me its backside, as the elephant was trying to run south and the shots coming from the north, on base of hill. The shooter was still obscured from the road, as he was still at the base of the hill. Shots fired so far approx 10. Time period 30-40 seconds
5. A further volley of shots range out from the same positions, as described above, in rapid succession, again in what appeared to be its backside – total 10-15 shots. TOTAL SHOTS +/- 25 – TIME FRAME +/- 60 SECONDS
6. In what seemed like an enourmous time frame of 2-3 mins, no more shots fired (possibly changing magazine). Total shots fired approx +/- 25 – total time 4 min.
7. A National parks ranger was then seen to run parallel to the scrabbling elephant, eventually getting ahead of him. Approx a further 10-15 shots fired into the elephant from either side on, on frontal into the head, I could see the dust fly off the elephant from the bullet impact. The elephant turned and scrabbled in a northerly direction from whence, it came, as the National parks Ranger was ahead of him. The elephant was by now partially disabled, but could still move slowly on its knee caps. TOTAL SHOTS FIRED – 40 – TOTAL TIME 6 MIN
8. The ranger then casually walked up to the elephant that was now feeling the effects of the bullets and fired 3-5 shots into the Head of the elephant, the elephant was at this time crouched down on all fours, but its head held high, with these extra shots, it collapsed onto its side, still very much alive, a further heavy caliber weapon was heard to discharge, and the elephant appeared to be dead. Total shots fired +/- 45 from low caliber weapon, possible AK47 + 1 heavy caliber. Total time 7 min. Distance from my line of sight to elephant, 200mts.

My questions now being:
A. The floodplains below were always teeming with game – today you rarely see even an impala in over a week
B. My staff tell me that elephants are regularly shot within Chirundu township and that this is No. 9 this year.
C. Tim Balance – owner Tiger Safaries – tel Chirundu 633 or cell 011-218594 whom I contacted after this incident, confirms 9 elephant shot – the eighth +/- 2 weeks ago within 200mts of his chalet complex, full of tourists who witnessed a similar incident, but not as gory, but many shots fired with AK47 – tourists so disgusted that part of 12 left immediately vowing never to return!
D. Tim asked me to do a report on the above incident, which I did and he was going to E mail my report to Johnny Rodrigues, which he did.
E. I then contacted a friend of my in Cape Town who is a BBC correspondent, but away on Breaking Story – she still to get back to me.
F. Tim Balance then came up next day to get my statement as he was also putting forward his statement, plus 1 other from another Resident who witnessed a similar incident. He told me the following: please contact him. The Warden Marongora – political appointee – will make no statement – advise from Head Office – the people from Chirundu now demand meat once per month on regular basis. Any rogue or Deemed Dangerous elephants to be shot on the spot – no attempt will be made to conserve these animals, he even pleads with National parks to put a stop to this, as it affects his tourist trade and viability (hence 12 tourists packing up and going)
G. My domestic staff purchased 4kg elephant meat on my previous visit +/- 2 weeks ago, and gave me to take back to Hre for his wife – he paid the Ranger 1.2k for this and received no receipt – this was the remains of No 8 elephant. The National parks ranger was seen that night at locale Bar in inebriated state.
H. My staff and Tim Balance inform me that on 2-3 occasions, the wrong elephant has shot and they only stop when they feel the correct one has been shot, if they feel it’s a rogue.

In this whole scenario, it appears that Bush Meat is the objective, and financial reward is the prime reason, i.e. no receipt, no accounting.

Initially it saddens me that National Parks who are supposed to look after our game, have deteriorated to such low depths, shooting Big game, with low caliber military weapons, that put the animal in extreme pain, for long periods before its Death, and the inhumane Shooting of knee capping, these magnificent animals, so they cannot escape.

Again I state I have never shot game and do not know that when shot an elephant falls on its front knees and tries to escape, But that is how I saw it and getting shot in the backside is appalling to say the least.

At Rifa there resides a Resident Big Game Hunter – why can’t he do this work, instead of these inept rangers, who have no experience and know nothing of single shot culls with correct weapons in short time periods.

Printed: L.A.D. GUSH
Signature below
Tel Hre 788025
Cell: 091409541