from the volunteer Board Members of Bushlife Conservancy!
Along with most of his countrymen, our CEO, Nick Murray, is busy celebrating the exciting news out of Zimbabwe. As the holiday approaches, however, we wanted to reach out directly, to express our personal thanks to each and every one of you for your incredible support during the past year.
Many of you donated once, twice, three times or more during the past year, in amounts large and small. Your consistent funding has enabled us to maintain a stable anti-poaching presence in the Zambezi Valley, which has resulted in many elephant lives saved.
During the 2015-2016 rainy season, elephant poaching reached crisis proportions in and around Mana Pools NP. Parks personnel were literally finding at least one dead elephant a week. That’s when Nick Murray, along with some like-minded folks in the area, decided that they had to tackle the poaching epidemic head on. Nick, through his local nonprofit Bushlife Support Unit (BSU), started doing periodic patrols with the few available vehicles, and realized that his presence was having a positive effect.
Now, those seeds of an anti-poaching effort have grown into a full-fledged, widely respected program to eliminate poaching and protect iconic bull elephants from hunting in this area. ZimParks has recognized Nick’s success by expressing a willingness to enter into a formal agreement for future cooperative work with BSU, and has pointed to Nick’s efforts as a model for anti-poaching programs in other parks.
THANKS TO YOU, we have been able to purchase more vehicles, set up a repair and maintenance shop, and provide fuel, food, and equipment for the rangers out on patrol. We have helped build a ranger station and roads into remote areas where poachers have been known to prey. We have established a full time Investigation Team that pays rewards for information leading to poaching arrests, and helps detain, arrest, and assist with poaching trials. And we have been able to purchase and fit 4 radio collars on iconic bull elephants to monitor and protect them from hunters if they should wander outside the boundaries of Mana Pools NP. In this way, your generous support is helping save the elephants of Zimbabwe.
As a result of your generosity, we’re proud to say we have achieved some very impressive results, including 85 poaching arrests, sentences totaling 700+ years, and the recovery of:
- 18 Live Pangolin
- 5 Dead Pangolin
- 3 Lion Skins
- 4 Crocodile Skins
- 150+ Tusks
- 2 Leopard Skins
- 10 Firearms
Words cannot adequately express how much we appreciate your help in making this possible. But the fight is not yet over! We need your further support to ensure we can maintain and build on this past success. We urgently need funds to maintain our Anti-Poaching Patrols and Investigation Teams throughout the rainy season -- because we know as soon as we stop, the poachers will come back! We hope you will consider making a year end tax deductible contribution to support this important work.
We wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy holiday season. And we look forward to your continued support in the year ahead!