Cruel, I know, to broadcast shamelessly a trip to Africa like that, but I’m very excited to say that Andy, Solo and I are on our way to Zim and then South Africa next week to do some scoping around for conservation projects for Animal Works. Word on the street is that the poaching in my old haunt, the Save Valley Conservancy in the lowveld of Zimbabwe, has been really severe in the last decade, made possible by a tyrant’s rule. Just last week a rare black rhino was found walking around in the conservancy with half its face hacked off. It had been de-horned to try and prevent this, but the poachers hacked off the small amount of horn left. Read the story here. Prepare yourself – it’s pretty shocking stuff and the photos are graphic.
It’s been 11 years since I’ve returned to this part of Zimbabwe, which was where I started back in 1993 on my very first trip with my Dad, and I’m not sure I’m ready to see the effects of the unrest and poaching in what once was the ‘bread basket of Africa’… Something tells me that Zim will always have its magic though, and will still have some of the best sunsets in the world, not to mention the friendliest people.
Having said that, I’m really looking forward to seeing my old friends, the Whittalls, who continue to soldier on in the face of endless adversity at Humani, and of course, spending some time with the fabulous Karen Paolillo, “Madam Mvuu”, and her hubby Jean-Roger, who run the Turgwe Hippo Trust . Karen has been monitoring hippos in this part of the world for decades and knows them all personally. Back when I was a fledgling wannabe conservationist, people like her encouraged me to go for it, and that’s probably why I got where I am today. Karen’s hippos have had four babies in the last month or so, and if you want to see some AMAZING footage of a croc sneaking in for a taste of hippo afterbirth next to a very cute and brand new baby hippo, check out her video site.
Internet isn’t the best in Zimbabwe, so apologies for the silence for most of May. I’ll be back on the blog with lots of news on my return.