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ZCTF Report - May 2013
Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF)
May 23, 2013

Problems in Hwange National Park

We are extremely disturbed by reports from concerned tourists of gunfire being heard in Hwange tourist areas. Investigations have uncovered that there appears to be sport-hunting quotas approved by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in areas that should never have them. The chances of tourists going to lodges around the Main Camp section of Hwange National Park and hearing gunfire are once again high and we urge all tourists, local and international, to continue to report all gunfire heard. The Parks Authority and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources have reneged on guarantees made in previous years especially it would seem in the area of the Presidential elephants of Zimbabwe, and in at least one case they are believed to have reinstated a hunting quota on land so narrow there is no possibility of any wildlife actually being resident there, bordering two prime photographic safari camps, previously declared a no-hunting area when chaos prevailed in this area about eight years ago. At least one other hunting quota is said to have been issued in another nearby prime tourism site. When people's backs are turned underhanded things continue to happen involving people who have solid government connections. We are also hearing unconfirmed reports that paying overseas hunters are once again, as did happen in previous years despite denials by the wildlife authorities, being allowed inside Hwange National Park to hunt.

With the upcoming United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit in August, we fail to see how Zimbabwe can hold their head high remembering also the awful scenario we reported previously about elephants being shipped off to horrific conditions in China. We urge the Tourism Minister to get involved to put pressure on the Environment Minister to fix escalating problems in Hwange photographic tourism areas. These problems also include mining plans reported in areas right beside Hwange Main Camp which are obviously born out of disrespect for the environment and pure greed and disrespect for Hwange's important photographic tourism industry. It is a tragedy that we have received confirmed reports that the most widely known and read about presidential elephant is dead, making a mockery of the government's supposed commitment to providing special protection to these photographic safari areas where Zimbabwe's flagship herd roams. We are aware that this elephant was known to tens of thousands of people around the world and anyone reading the literature available can work out that she was not of an age where she would die naturally. It is past time that the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources look after the wildlife that they are tasked to protect rather than assisting in its destruction, especially in such an important tourism area as Hwange and we are appalled that no progress in fixing any of the problems is evident.

Silent Auction

The painting which we are auctioning to raise funds is still available. The closing date will be 30th June 2013.

The painting, titled "Young Warrior" is an original oil on canvas painted by Cheryl Rodrigues and measures 77cm x 90cm. There is a reserve price of USD2 000. If anyone can offer more than this, please email us with your offer. Any shipping charges will be for the account of the buyer.

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