JULY 2021
July 31st was World Ranger day, and Bhejane Trust would like to pay tribute to all the dedicated rangers around the world. We would like to pay a special tribute to our colleagues in the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority who are out in the field under very trying circumstances - we recognise their dedication in the face of adversity.
We decided to give our new anti-poaching boat a trial run on the Zambezi, with Bundi Huntley-Walker at the helm. Unfortunately it did not go as planned, and Bundi ended up in the river. Back to the drawing board!!


As the natural water dries up in the bush, the elephants are reappearing in their numbers in the Chamabonda. All pumps are working and we are well set for the impending dry season.
We were busy in Kazuma this month. We managed to commission the new solar system in to Kazuma Pan, making it the second pump feeding this pan. This pump is giving us 6000l/hr. The sytem was donated by the family of the late Wessels Weller, and a plaque put up in his honour. His widow and family from Victoria Falls managed to get out to Kazuma to inspect the system and pay tribute to Wessels.
Mrs Weller by the plaque in memory of her late husband, Wessels Weller at Kazuma Pan
We also moved the solar system from Kazuma Pan 2, which had failed, to Insiza Pan - Insiza Pan is on the other side of the Kazuma Depression. We put up the panels here, installed a pump and had to dig a trench of 380m through very hard ground to feed a clay pan. This system is now up and running
The Kazuma Depression has been burnt and this allowed us to get to the center of the Depression with a pan still holding good water and with great birdlife!!
I would also like to pay tribute to Senior Wildlife Officer Mike Jonassi, who is effectively in charge of the Kazuma Pan National Park With limited resources Mike has over the years run Kazuma as one of the better managed Parks, and he leads by example - camping out with his team on fireguard burns and controlled burns. A great effort
The program to measure borehole recovery rates is being carried by Onias when he has a chance - this is to record the water level in a borehole before pumping, and to see how long it takes the water to recover to that measured level after the pump was run for a while and then is switched off - this is for the Parks ecologist to try and get some understanding of the underwater systems that we have drilled into.
Onias also carried on with his normal maintenance program, including building meter protection boxes, extending the pipeline at Njekwa, etc There was a fierce runaway fire near Dolilo which kept Onias and the Parks crew up most of the night before they put it out
We also installed the new solar system on the recently drilled borehole at Bumbumutsa and connected it to the trough, and started the water flowing into this important pan. The increased flow should allow for adequate water all year round, and will keep some of the elephant away from Masuma and Shumba Pans. A big thanks to Michel Buenerd of le Pic Vert for the facilitation!
The new borehole installation at Bumbumutsa Pan - meter/pump box in fron and the pan is in the background.
Tsamhole Pan
Report by Stephen Long
  I should begin, as I did in the June newsletter, by apologising to anyone who is expecting to hear from me by e mail or who has sent me an e mail but not received a reply. Once again, our satellite internet connection, or maybe our computer, is not working properly and I am only able to send and receive very small mails, sometimes not even that. I’m afraid my I.T skills are not up to solving the problem but we are trying to get someone who knows more than just ‘switch it off then switch it back on again’ to help and maybe during August we will be back to normal.
   Meanwhile, there has been plenty apart from e mail to keep me busy. We have continued trying to make our most vulnerable game water pumps more thief-proof and by the end of July we had welded extra steel around the solar panels, added security for the pumps, motors and inverters, re-painted and tidied all the sites that most worried us. It’s a great relief to have that done but the thieves are very determined so I still have that slight worry as we approach each water point that we’ll find some of the panels missing. So far though….so good.
   July didn’t turn up too many game water problems for us. We had a cracked pipe and consequently a flood at Mashambo borehole, a slight leak at Baobab, baboon damage at Masuma 2 and, until almost month end, an unknown problem at Intantue Dam where the pump was not turning itself on each day. I think we may have that one solved – Sue remembered a similar problem with the same type of pump some years ago which we were able to fix very easily and we’ll try the same fix at Inyantue as soon as we can get out there in August.
     I reported in the last newsletter that the month had been very cold, evaporation rates were consequently low, there was still a lot of natural water around and so far demand for water from the animals was well below normal. I can say exactly the same for July and at month, end, eleven of our twenty-two pumps were running into pans that we recorded as 100% full. That probably explains the contented looks on the faces of these two Masuma Hippo…..
   We did our usual 24-hour count at Masuma over the July full moon. Well, I have to be honest, it was in fact a 19-hour count as it was extremely cold and nothing was happening so we agreed to stop at midnight and re-start at 5.00a.m. Thanks to Tamuka and Thulani, who risked frost-bite to do the 10.00 p.m to midnight shift. Sue and I were on duty from 5.00 a.m but we could have stayed in our tent a bit longer because we saw nothing new until 6.30 when two impala turned up. The sky at the previous day’s sunset was full of smoke from a fire in Robins sector…….
……so we were pleased to find clear skies and no smoke when we woke up. It seemed that the Robins fire-fighters were helped by a change of wind direction during the night but even so, they did very well to fight that to a standstill. 
   The count figures were low but there was usually something to keep us interested – by day at least. It would be a rare count that didn’t include some elephants…..
   A group of giraffe turned up on the first afternoon……
And this Gabar Goshawk posed nicely near the hide…..
None of us saw the Goshawk arrive so we wondered why it stayed so long but then after a good many minutes it dropped down into the grass at the base of the post and emerged with a Cape Turtle Dove that it had presumably chased in there earlier. The two birds tumbled into an open patch where the Goshawk was immediately attacked by a Swainson’s Spurfowl and it wisely flew up into a tree – minus a few feathers. The dove appeared to be dead but after a while it suddenly stood up and flew off across the dam, only for the Goshawk to attack it again and knock it down into the water. It bobbed around for a while looking like a little duck but as it became waterlogged its head dropped and eventually it succumbed – presumably to cold, drowning, shock and whatever damage the Goshawk may have done.
   We always enjoy the smaller animals that we see around the Park and, returning home one afternoon, we found a very unusually coloured chameleon crossing the road……
    Orange doesn’t seem to be a very clever camouflage colour – until you see it in a Mopane whose leaves are going brown……
    At the other end of the size scale, July was an extraordinary month for giraffe sightings. At the time of writing Sue is still catching up on all the giraffe work but so far, with perhaps twenty more to add, she has recorded  one hundred and twenty nine separate sightings. One of those was the female who appears in the database as F54. We saw her late on the eighth of July and luckily she was standing in completely open ground because we noticed a wire snare low down on her left front leg, just above the hoof. Early next day we saw her again almost in the same place so we drove down to Umtshibi to collect the Parks vet. That’s a long enough journey as it is but it was enlivened by a puncture and then a worn half shaft which we had to remove before continuing the drive in diff lock. The doors of the car we were using don’t fit too well and quite a lot of dust comes in so no matter what colour skin each of us had when we started, by the time we reached Sinamatella we all looked much the same. No time to wash though – we all went straight out to find the giraffe. Unfortunately she had moved and by sunset there was no sign of her. Next day the search continued but it wasn’t until the day after that that she was found.
    She was in open Mopane bush so we were able to drive fairly close, the vet’s assistant fired the drug dart perfectly first time and we all rushed out and slowed the giraffe with a rope.
 It’s important not to over-drug a giraffe and let it fall suddenly as it can easily damage its head, falling from such a height. F54 wasn’t keen on the rope but she was too drugged to do much about it and eventually subsided gently. Rangers held her head up, the vet removed the snare, I held her back leg to stop her kicking him and the job was quickly done.
 After an injection of antibiotic, the drug was reversed and F54 was back on her feet and trotting away, almost normally
   A great result.

Report By Nick Long
During the month of July the team did a mixture of Rhino monitoring and Anti-poaching patrols through the month.
Camera trap setting
During the Anti-poaching patrols we discovered 8 snares but plenty of poaching signs in the areas patrolled, we found a rotten Kudu carcass and a fresh juvenile elephant carcass at the same place. It seemed that the poacher was no longer checking his snares as the 2 carcasses where of different ages so we removed the snares and will continue to monitor the area. We also saw spoor of 2 suspects and several dogs on their way out of the protected area along a path we had used earlier the day before.
The carcasses of a kudu and a baby elephant caught by snares
Close to Makwika Village (Number 3) we discovered 2 cattle carcasses after seeing vultures in the bush while driving along the road between Makwika and Turbo mining. The cattle were also at different stages of decomposition but had both very obviously been caught in snares, we located the owner and reported the case to the police although we didn’t locate any snares in the area as the poacher had removed them from fear of the jail sentence (and probably witch craft from their owner!)
We also conducted several patrols looking for the rhino, as the bush is thinning out, the grass flattening and the rhino presence becoming more noticeable. Attempts were made to get photographs of the new calf without disturbing them, but unfortunately we did not succeed. However, we did record the presence of other rhino
We set a total of 12 camera traps through the known rhino ranges and we will start collecting them in early August.
Nick Long went for an upgrade course on the SMART Monitoring system which we use when patrolling - a big thanks to Nick Milne for his help here!. One of the results of the advanced training is the infogram of the RMPU activities - however, for obvious reasons we have left out the rhino section of our operation here, and only included the anti-poaching
Two men were arrested with this huge female pangolin, on a farm in Matetsi, near Victoria Falls. They were arrested by local game scouts and Parks. The pangolin was released back into the wild, while the two poachers were each sentenced to the mandatory 9 years jail1
In contrast to the above story, a local tribesman found a pangolin near his kraal. He contacted Wildlife Officer Muleya from Zambezi National Park, who recovered the pangolin and handed it over for rehabilitaion. Above Matthew Muleya thanks and rewards the villager - a happy outcome all around!
Acting on information, Parks Investigations and Police arrested a suspect at Jotsholo with 2 tusks weighing 8kg. The suspect is in custody awaiting sentencing.
The article below hopefully drops the curtain on one of the worst of wildlife criminals around. Groenwald came to Zimbabwe with a company called Out of Africa in the early twenty first century to take advantage of the land reform program and new landlords, and was implicated in a wide variety of wildlife crimes here. He was eventually run out of Zimbabwe when all his nefarious wildlife dealings were exposed, and returned to South Africa where he was later implicated in a massive rhino poaching operation, involving criminal elements and which included attacks on farmers, etc. Groenewald was eventually arrested, but the fact that he has remained on bail for ELEVEN YEARS does not speak well of the legal system. Let's hope he now gets a very lengthy jail sentence that he thoroughly deserves!!

Simon Bloch reporting
July 22 2021

The future looks bleak for South Africa's notorious rhino horn syndicate alleged kingpin, Dawie Groenewald, 52, and Mpumalanga hunting safari company owner and businessman, AB Steyn, 47, who appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court this afternoon, following their arrest yesterday.

The duo faced charges under :Section 57 (1) of act 10 of 2004, for the Illegal possession and selling of rhino horns, after they were nabbed in possession of 19 rhino horns during an integrated operation consisting of DPCI,EPR Wildlife Trafficking Head office, Counter intelligence and the private sector.

Two Toyota Hilux vehicles also seized.

Groenewald, also known as the Butcher of Musina, has been out on bail since his arrest in 2010, when 26 rhino carcasses were dug up on his farm Prachtig. 

The state's case against Groenewald and nine others, including veterinarians, a pilot and professional hunters, has repeatedly been postponed through tricky legal maneuvering by his defense team.

However, the future looks bleak for Groenewald after his latest arrest, and the police look set to oppose bail when the bail application date is set..

The case was still before the court at the time of this publication.

We have had an amazing period of support from all our friends, new and old, out there, and we really appreciate all this support. Our heartfelt thanks to (in no particular order):
Friends of Hwange and Dave Dell for sponsoring the borehole and new battery system at Masuma
Patrick Jacquemin for his donation to help our operational costs.
Mark Unwin and the Clarkson Family Trust, for yet another generous donation.
Lion Recovery Fund and Rhino Recovery Fund  - a big thanks to Peter Lindsay and Markus Hofmeyr 
Morne and Michelle Muller of Surgical and Opthalmic Supplies for their pledge of support for this year
Piet Weller, through Lionel and Annelise Finaughty for the offer to sponsor a wateroint in Kazuma in memory of Wessels Weller
Larry Norton for his offer of a percentage of sales of certain prints to go to the trust.
Frank Zindell of the Educasa Foundation and a longtime supporter has made a very generous donation, which is very much appreciated.Thanks to Stuart Danks of Simply Africa for facilitation
Dr Mark Bristow and Hunters and Guides for the financing of our Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit. Mark came out and pledged assistance for a further three years!!! 
Simon and Portia Rowlands  - donation to refurbish attendants accommodation at Shumba
SATIB and the Southern Africa Conservation Trust for their support on insurances - thanks to Brian Courtney
Ian Gloss of Victoria Falls Liquorama for his continued assistance
Pieter and Anthea Erasmus for their continued support, and for the use of their vehicle Thanks for the donated equipment.
Michel Buenerd of Le Pic Vert, and Le Pal Nature Foundation, for funding their eleventh borehole and pump in Sinamatella/Robins area!
Antoinette van Wijk of Holland for her sterling fund raising effort
Nicholas Duncan and the SAVE The African Rhino Foundation of Australia – a staunch supporter.
RAM Petroleum
Jim Goddard of JRG for monthly diesel donation
Ricky Forster and Forster Irrigation of Bulawayo for donated pumps and continued assistance
John Karasellos of Hisspan Motors for his continuing assistance and support.
Hwange Conservation Society (UK) - John Gillon - for their generous support
Inke Kreling-Boysen for her generous donation
Mike Karasellos for grading and mowing roads in the Chamabonda
Rich Low from the African Touch for the woodwork on Timots Hide
Graham Andrews for his donation
Dale Kiigen and Kiggen Builders for their support in refurbishing Timots Hide
Mark and Shelley Burden for their donation of borehole casing.
Craig Gobey and Zambezi Sands Drilling for the donation of a small boat and engine for anti-poaching on the Zambezi River
Brendan Malloch-Brown - gravel and transport for the roads in Chamabonda


Thanks to our Board of Trustees for all the hard work they are putting in - Ian Gloss, Dave Carson, Dan Jones, Stephen Long and Trevor Lane
A big thanks to Ministry and Parks Staff :
 Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality, the Hon. Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu
The Director General - Mr Fulton Mangwanya
The Chief Conservator - Mt Arthur Musakwa
The Cluster Manager (Mat North) - Matabeleland - Mr Samson Chibaya,
Area Manager - Zambezi --Mr Marvellous Mbikbiyana
Area Manager, - Robins and Kazuma - Mrs N Moyo
Area Manager - Sinamatella - Mr Mutandwa
 and all their guys on the ground for all their support and assistance.

To my wife Liz for her continual support in all my comings and goings!!

Apologies if we have inadvertently left anyone out!! Your help is much appreciated 


Bhejane Trust relies on donations to continue it’s operations, which includes our daily operating costs, as well as specific projects. 


Donate to help us save our wildlife heritage - any donations would be gratefully accepted . Donations can be through our “PayNow” button (below) or direct to our bank account:

Bank details :

Bhejane Trust,
FBC Bank,
Sawanga Mall
Victoria Falls
Branch Code : 8512
Swift Code : FBCPZWHAX
Account No : 2245093780275

Bhejane Trust office address:
231 Sopers Crescent,
P.O.Box 210
Victoria Falls,

Note - we do not have postal codes in Zimbabwe (00)


Trevor Lane :         +263 777 057 024
Stephen Long : 


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Bhejane Trust · 231 Sopers Crescent · Victoria Falls · Zimbabwe

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