Zimbabwe Elephant Capture

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Zimbabwe Elephant Capture

By Glynis Vaughan, Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA)
April 2009

To all our supporters,

It is with deep sadness that ZNSPCA have to inform you all of yet another cruel and barbaric capture of ten (10) wild Zimbabwe Elephants from Gwanda in Matabeleland South Province. The elephants were allegedly bought by Basil Steyn who co owns Elephant Experience in Victoria Falls. Chengeta Safaris of Selous close to Harare are said to be buying five (5)of the elephants from Steyn.

The elephants were captured in October 2008 and whilst ZNSPCA heard “rumours” regarding this capture, after investigating both Chengeta Safaris and Elephant Experience, and asking the permit office at Parks for details, we met with the Director General of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority who assured us that no permit for such a capture had been issued. We were obviously relieved to hear this news and assured ourselves that we had been given the correct information and since we could not find the elephants on both facilities we were confident that this cruel act had not happened.

Yet the elephants were indeed captured. Mike Le Grange from AWMC captured 4 elephants on the 21st October 2008 and another 6 on the 22nd October 2008. Reacting to a tip-off, ZNSPCA found the ten elephants on Sondelani Ranch belonging to Steyn in the West Nicholson area last week. The elephants range from 4years old to two female elephants of about 18 years old. They are housed in a metal boma with no shade or shelter and are chained continuously, only being released for training. The elephants are sprayed with water during hot days to keep them cool.

ZNSPCA Inspectors noted that some elephants had old wounds on their legs which could have been caused by the chains as well as wounds on their foreheads. According to the information supplied to us, no vet was present at the capture or has examined the elephants since the capture.

ZNSPCA are returning to Sondelani Ranch in the next few days to revisit and monitor the captured elephants. We will be asking for veterinary reports on all the injuries we have observed and checking on the training programme in place.

We will keep all interested parties informed of our findings in this investigation.

Glynis Vaughan
Chief Inspector, ZNSPCA
156 Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe
P O Box CH55, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe
phone 263 4 497574
fax 263 4 497885
cell 263 11 630 403

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