MARCH 2022
Bad news on Rhino security in Zimbabwe.  There are a lot of field staff and rangers in Zimbabwe who are dedicated to the protection of rhino, and the results are showing, as our rhino population is increasing annually. This also applies to the protection of elephants and pangolin. However, the bad news is that their efforts are being undermined in some cases by certain elements  in the judiciary. A case example - a South African Brent Lund and a local, Nyasha Mutendawafa, were caught red handed with four rhino horns in Lunds bag. The magistrate handling the case concluded there was a definite case to answer, so the pair bypassed the magistrate and took the case to the High Court where the judge dismissed the case on the grounds that "the prosecution failed to prove the rhino horns in question are from either black or white rhino" . It was not disputed they were rhino horns!  This has to be the most ludicrous ruling ever made, and one can only guess as to why the judge went out of his way to acquit the two very guilty dealers!!
Unfortunately, this is not the only case where the judiciary has released connected ivory or horn dealers on frivolous grounds, and does not bode well if dealers feel they can get immunity from prosecution if caught.
Bad news on Rhino out of Botswana:  The Okavango rhino saga finally closes with the  last two known rhino on Chiefs Island in the Okavango delta were captured and moved out to safety. With great fanfare, rhino, both black and white, were reintroduced into the Delta a few years ago, and at great cost, but in one of the most disastrous episodes in rhino conservation, these rhino were eliminated by gangs of poachers,  The only protection the rhino had was the Botswana Defence Force who turned out to be totally inept. The Government has not disclosed the scale of the massacre but it is believed to be in excess of 200 rhino. 
Now the poachers have finished the Delta rhino, they will go back to ivory poaching, which will mainly be along the Zimbabwe border.
Unfortunately, Botswana's claim to be a wildlife haven is severely tarnished!


Thomsons Pan. Very frustrating!! the damage done by a gang of very determined  thieves who must have spent the better part of a night smashing our reinforced concrete and our welded pump cover, before getting away with the pump. Back to the drawing board!!  They also tried to steal the solar panels but failed.
Thankfully, Ian Thomson has come to the rescue and has supplied a replacement pump so we will have the pump back in action soon, with treble reinforcing!!
Kazuma Pan was not visited this month, but we intend to move our team in early in April to check and clean all the solar systems.
With the failure of the rains in March, the roads have dried up, and we have thus had access to more areas, and the sign clearing and solar panel maintenance program was resumed.
Onias is assisting Parks on the renovation of Deteema Picnic/Camp site. Apart from revamping the existing facilities, the plan is to divide the area so as to put campers on one side, while leaving an area for parking/picnicing and the main hut open to day trippers
Report by Stephen Long
Rainfall and Game Water.
    This year, January was much wetter than usual and February was much drier than usual so it was hard to guess what March might bring. In the event it was not at all a bad month – we had above average rain, spread out quite nicely with at least some rain every week, and the current situation is a great deal better than it was at the end of February……
  Most of our pans and dams (both natural and pumped) are either full, or nearly full, and looking beautiful…….
Elephant Pan at Shumba
Water lily at Elephant Pan.
The grass is green and the animals are looking fat, fit and healthy. Our one rain-related worry is that February’s drought has severely affected crops in the villages around the Park and that, combined with Ukraine-related price rises, will probably lead to increased pressure from poachers later in the year.
    We were a little busier on game water work in March than we had been in February. The solar pump at Tshompani stopped working and had to be pulled out. That needs a new motor. The ZESA powered pump at Mashambo was also down, at first thanks to a fault on the power line, then when the power was restored the pump wouldn’t run. Eventually we found a burnt switch - we by-passed it, only to find that there was a new fault on the power line. Every time there is something wrong with the electricity line to Mashambo (and that is far more often than you would expect) we have to drive to Hwange to collect the ZESA technicians, bring them out to make a repair then take them back to Hwange again, making a total trip of over 200km. As soon as funding permits, we would like to convert Mashambo to solar.
    Other game water work was test-pumping Mafa’s 1 borehole in the hope that the yield would sustain a wind pump (sadly it won’t), a similar test at Bumbusi South (with the same result) and checking and tidying as many of the other sites as we could reach. Whilst checking, we found problems to be solved at Mbala Valley and at Tshontanda. Those, we will sort out in April.
    Last month I mentioned that our tame pair of Red-billed Hornbills, known affectionately as ‘Dumb and Dumber’ were breeding again this year – their third year in succession. Dumb remained walled up in the nest box throughout March with Dumber working hard to keep her and her chicks (which hatched around the eighteenth) supplied with food. Dumber is always a fairly scrawny specimen but by the end of the month he looked worse than ever. We help out a bit when he comes begging from the table at lunchtime but he’s actually very fussy and only wants bread, with or without jam, not any of the more nourishing things that we can offer. If we sat down to a plate of centipedes, mantids and caterpillars we could do better for him but there’s a limit to how far I’m willing to help.
Dumber taking food to the nest.
  As far as other wildlife is concerned, there isn’t much to report. The elephants, buffalo and zebra still haven’t returned in numbers but when they do there will be plenty of food for them. Meanwhile we are happy to enjoy the smaller things out in the Park, like birds, insects and flowers – though we have seen a few tourists travelling through Sinamatella and I’m sure they don’t feel the same.
   Since 2009, we have worked with a French organisation, Planete-urgence, who organise groups of volunteers for projects around the World. In that time we have met hundreds of French volunteers and I can honestly say that there was hardly even one who wasn’t a pleasure to work with. After two years with no volunteers, thanks to Covid, we were looking forward to resuming our collaboration this year but sadly Planete-urgence has decided that they need to cut back on their activities and will only send volunteers to African countries where they have a local representative. That’s Benin, Cameroon and Madagascar – not Zimbabwe so we find ourselves at the beginning of the ‘volunteer season’ with no volunteers. We are very sorry to have lost our link with Planete-urgence and with France after all these years and wish them well.
   I mentioned briefly in February that we had received some very welcome help from Hwange Conservation Society with a new battery and starter motor to help keep our vehicles moving. Many thanks to HCS for their further help in March in the shape of two nice new tyres.

Report By Nick Long
We spent most of March on anti-poaching patrols, including two days in ambush on a snare-line that we discovered just inside the Park. Sitting in ambush for two days is harder work than it sounds, especially as it often ends with no result. This time though, it looked as if we would be successful because we saw a poacher coming towards the snares on the second day. We were spread out along the line and when the poacher got near to his snares, the nearest ranger jumped up and chased him. Of course the poacher was surprised but he turned and ran with the ranger close behind. He would have been caught but the ranger tripped and fell as he reached out to take hold of the poacher, injuring himself slightly and giving him time to get away. We had to be satisfied with just collecting the snares.
Some of the snares
On another day in the same area, we found an active poachers’ base. They had obviously been using it for a while as there was a big pile of ashes from their fire…….
   …and some of their kit still there.
  We also found snares set nearby but it looks as if our ambush chase had scared the poachers away. We’ll leave that area alone for a while but we will be back…
   On our rhino monitoring patrols in March we didn’t get any sightings of rhino though we did see occasional signs of them. We set some camera traps but when we went back to get them we found one of our new and expensive, white flash cameras was missing. Whoever took it had carefully unhooked it and left the strap on the tree. They had even replaced the pin that holds the camera in place on its mounting. Once before we found a poacher base with two destroyed cameras in it and that is probably what happened this time. If it wasn’t taken by a poacher, it was taken by someone else who was doing something he shouldn’t and wanted to destroy the evidence so I’m sure we will never see it again.
It has been a quiet month on the poaching side, with little activity recorded. However, In Matabeleland North, the maize crop has generally failed, so we can expect an increase in bushmeat poaching in the coming months.
A Black Rhino was discovered dead in the Matopos area outside of the Park - in the same area where two rhino were poached earlier this year. However, this rhino still had its horns attached, and is believed to have been a natural death. Matopos Park is quite possibly at its maximum carrying capacity for Black Rhino, which is forcing animals out and into danger

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):
Patrick Jacquemin of Les Animaux for his generous donation
Mark Unwin and the Clarkson Family Trust,his generous donation.

Ray Haakonse for his support
Adrian Clayton and NorthStar for their support
Frank Zindel of the Bright Light 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
Friends of Hwange and Dave Dell for sponsoring the borehole and new battery system at Masuma
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.
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 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
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
Craig Gobey and Zambezi Sands Drilling for their assistance
Brendan Malloch-Brown - for his support with our new container office, refurbished by Brendon.
Michelle Sindall for her donation ( which finally reached us a month late!!)
Sandy Elsworthy for his donation
Machaba Safaris for their hospitality and assistance
Patrick Williamson for helping on updating maps
Jeff Weingarten - donation 
Richard Scripps - donation
Meikles Trust - Jeanne Moxon
Tony Wild of the Wild Cub Society (an NFT) for his donation
Colin Baker for the donation of tyres
Jeremy Nichol for his donation.

Thanks to our Board of Trustees for all the hard work they are putting in - Ian Gloss, Dave Carson, Dan Jones, Stephen Long, Jerry Gotora 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
Area Manager - Zambezi --Mr Marvellous Mbikbiyana
Area manager, Sinamatella - Mike Jonassi
Area Manager, - Robins and Kazuma - Mrs N Moyo
Kazuma Wildlife Officer - Aleck Makamure
 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, and for doing instagram!!

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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