In my 2011 Vanity Fair piece, I describe how Johnny Rodrigues made a 24-hour video of a water hole at Hwange Park in Zimbabwe which showed that each species came to drink in its turn, and the predators didn’t kill on their prey. Every animal’s right to access to the life-giving fluid was respected. Johnny reflected, “We have much to learn from the animals. If it had been humans, we’d be killing each other to get to the water.” Or maybe selling tickets, I thought. But neither of us thought the poachers could stoop so low to poisoning the water holes with cyanide so they could hack the tusks out of the dead elephants. In Los Angeles, Caroline Graham has started a movement to get the Page Museum at the Le Brea Tar Sanda at half mast in honor of these victims. We have to nip this horrible new development in the slaughter of Africa’s elephants in the bud. Join the cause. There’s a global march for the elephants on October 4. Join the march in the city near you.
Here’s the latest news from the site of Johnny Rodrigues’s Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. We are going to follow this and keep you abreast.
ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE
Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Indian Prophecy
27th September 2013
UPDATE ON ELEPHANT CYANIDE POISONING
Further to our last report, the number of elephants poisoned by cyanide in Hwange National Park continues to rise daily. Around 100 carcasses have now been found. 3 of the 8 poachers have been sentenced.
Robert Maphosa (42) has been sentenced to 15 years in prison with labour.
Thabani Zondo (24) was also sentenced to 15 years and was also asked to pay USD600 000 to National Parks by December this year.
Deanie Tsuma (25) was sentenced to 15 years and asked to pay USD200 000 to National Parks by December this year.
National Parks and Wildlife Authority believe these sentences will be a deterent to would be poachers.
The most frightening part of this is that although all the water holes have not yet been tested for cyanide, we do know that at least 2 are contaminated. This means that any animal that drinks from these water holes will die and any carnivors that feed on the carcasses will also die. We are expecting the death toll to keep rising and we will keep everyone informed as we receive the information.