Without effort, no harvest will be abundant. (Proverb)

Celebrating Our Success —Zero Elephants Poached in Mana Pools Since 2019!

Highlights of this month's newsletter: 

  • Zoom Call with Nick Murray on Sunday, Nov. 20th, at 12 noon EST
  • Tusker Ranger Fund
  • Update from BC President Nick Murray
  • Vehicle Funding Campaign—Match Opportunity from Nov. 15 to Jan. 7
  • Update from “Freedom” Hlongwane, BSU Operations Manager
  • Results of eBay Auction to Support BC
  • Save the Date—Nick to be in Florida in mid-March
  • Meet Our Donor—Mana Pools Report from Christine White
  • Support BC by Shopping at AmazonSmile

Zoom call with BC President Nick Murray on Sunday November 20 at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time

Nick will be thanking Tusker Ranger Fund (TRF) members and providing an end-of-season update from Vundu Camp on activities in the Lower Zambezi. All donors are invited to join Nick on a Zoom call hosted by BC on Sunday, November 20, at 12 noon EST. For other time zones, use this Time Zone Calculator.

Link for the Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 833 4051 9996
Passcode: 371970

Let’s celebrate our successes and learn what is on the horizon. Your attendance is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect. We hope to see you on the 20th and thank you all for what you do to support BC!

Tusker Ranger Fund

Who doesn’t love Tusker? If you haven’t become a TRF member yet, we could certainly use you on Tusker’s team. The TRF donations purchase food, fuel, tents, and salaries for Bushlife’s drivers and scouts. We are currently hovering around 60 TRF members toward our goal of 100. When fully funded, these monies will cover all the costs of the monthly patrols, freeing up additional donations for expanding our impact, including intelligence gathering, community outreach, research, collaring, and managing human-wildlife conflict.  A donation to TRF is $100 per month or at least $1,200 annually. If you can make this generous commitment, please donate on our website.


Update from BC Board President Nick Murray

Hello from Mana Pools! Our BSU anti-poaching teams have been very busy. During recent patrols, our team at the southern boundary of Mana covered Chitake up to the gorges. On their way, they noticed an increase in elephant movement, more so on the Mana side as compared to outside of the Park. In this newsletter, you will be learning more about our year-end fundraising campaign for much needed anti-poaching vehicles. We are optimistic that you will support this effort.

As in prior years, there have been veld fires on the Pfundundu side of the border, and we are hopeful that they won’t cross the river (see regional map). The team also went deep into the bush, and they discovered a new spring. This water source attracted many elephants, buffalo, kudu, and baboons, based on the amount of spoor that was found.

Finally, we wanted to update you on our painted wolf pack. Violet is looking well and healthy, but a few weeks ago she lost her litter of pups. She went through the process of denning down, and we can only presume she gave birth after her 70-day gestation period. The pups may have died in the den, been stillborn, or killed by lions. Wild dogs normally den down in late May or June, so for Violet to be pregnant and denning in late September is extremely out of season. This may have had something to do with the failure of the litter. This is sad news as we were hoping she would add a few pups to her pack of 9. We saw Violet on October 13, and interestingly watched the pack hunt a baboon as the troop were preparing to roost. One of the truly unique hunting behaviors of the Mana dogs is baboon hunting.

Photo from Bushlife Safaris

Matching Funds Opportunity November 15-January 7

According to Nick, the single most important need for our organization now is to replace our aging, beaten-down fleet of vehicles, as the time and expense dealing with repairs has gotten beyond the worth of the vehicles and we are facing too much downtime with repairs in Harare. Our annual fundraising campaign is about to launch in November. As in the US, the inventory of used vehicles in Zimbabwe is very low, and the prices have escalated. The situation in Zim is especially bad this year due to the upcoming political elections whereby the government purchases more vehicles to campaign. The cost of a good used vehicle is about $30,000.

We are seeking matching donors who will match up to $60,000 in donations for us to raise the $120,000 needed for 4 new used vehicles.  Nick just reported that his scouts have identified three possible new land cruisers, but Nick’s busy schedule has not permitted him to “vet” these yet personally. He will be turning his focus soon to this priority and hopes to have the new fleet operational by the end of the year. 

We are extremely grateful to longtime friends, Julie and Tom Hull, who continue to donate their time, talent (Julie is the editor-in-chief of the newsletter), and treasure for the benefit of Bushlife Conservancy. They have very generously offered to match gifts up to $20,000 during the upcoming annual campaign. This wonderful gift has kicked off the matching fund and 3 other generous donors have also offered to match funds of a further $18,000, bringing our total matching funds so far to $38,000. Thank you to our good friend and conservationist Suzanne Taunt (who by the way has not even visited Vundu and still supports our mission) for $10,000 in matching funds. Thank you to our longtime supporter and friend Kevin Traut for his gift of $5,000 matching funds. Thank you also to dedicated supporters Nicki (who also serves on the fundraising committee) and Jeff Ubinger for their matching fund gift of $3,000. We will be honoring other matching fund contributors in the next newsletter and feel optimistic that we will have $60,000 in matching funds by November 15. 

You can take advantage of doubling your annual donation and getting a US tax charitable deduction by donating online at or by check between November 15 and January 7.

Thanks to matching funds, our donors contributed over $100,000 during our 2021 year-end campaign. Raising $120,000 this year would result in having solid vehicles in good running condition, which will vastly improve our ability to effectively patrol during the most vulnerable rainy season and going forward. Please help us provide the tools Nick and the team need to improve overall park security.

Update from BSU Operations Manager
"Freedom" Hlongwane

News, photos & videos from Mana Pools.

Photo by Freedom Hlongwane

The population of buffalo in Mana Pools is thriving! Here is a short video from late September demonstrating the large herds of buffalo we are seeing in Mana Pools.

BSU has had a demanding schedule this month. The anti-poaching teams have been working hard to make sure that wildlife in the Lower Zambezi Valley is safe. No illegal activities have been detected this month. In the picture below, a team from the Mana East base is on patrol. They report that most of the water pans around that area are drying out with about 30 percent water left in most pans. As a result, most game have been forced to move closer to the Zambezi River.

Meanwhile the Chitangazuva base team has been out on patrol in Gombajiti. They experienced very dry conditions with minimal activity in the area.

Below, the Chitangazuva base building project continues to progress. The ranger office is nearly finished, and soon the roofing will be completed. The next project will be the Senior Rangers block. Eighty bags of cement have been purchased recently, and 4 tons of quarry stones have been bought and delivered.

Mana East Base

BSU driver Charles sent the photos below of G Camp in Sapi. We are happy to report that there are frequent sightings of elephants and buffalo in the area.

I am including below a few pictures of our October 12 anti-poaching patrol. We went due east to Chewore, which is the boundary between Mana Pools and Mukanga. After walking for about 6 kilometers, we noticed some signs of recent veld fires that had destroyed most wildlife habitats. We proceeded to the Chewore River, which at this time of year is dry. On our way, we located various old gold panning pits and some recent human footprints in Chewore River sand. Closer to Chitangazuva, there were several animal footprints from elephants, leopard, hyena, African civet, zebra, baboon, and a small cat spoor (unknown). We determined that the veld fire came from Chewore because most of our prevailing winds come from the east and there were several burn areas along the Chewore River.

Here are some fantastic sightings captured by Freedom while on patrol.

Supporting Conservation Through Community Engagement

Our Bushlife conservation club teams from nearby communities had a gala where they participated in sports and games. Transportation and some uniforms and equipment were sponsored by BC. Here are some photos from the games.

At the Kazangarare youth games on October 1, our Bushlife boys’ soccer team A was victorious, winning 1-0 in the first game. Congratulations to our brilliant team! Unfortunately, our girls lost, as did the boys in the finals of the tournament due to penalties levied against them. Amazingly, close to 400 people came to support various teams. See this short video of the crowd and the final penalty kick.

Meanwhile, Sophia Mwaseba, our Community Liaison Officer (CLO), was busy this past month visiting different schools and preaching the conservation gospel to club members. Two of the themes Sophia focused on in October were veld fires and climate change.

Bushlife Community Liaison Officer Sophia Mwaseba at work

Below is a photo of Sophia’s conservation club members preparing for the conservation club competition next month.

In the following photos, you see Bochiwe from Zimparks making a presentation to a school with Sophia (on left) from Bushlife. These ladies have been presenting to the conservation clubs at various schools in Hurungwe. They covered 17 schools, and their message was well received by all. Thank you, ladies, for doing such good work!

Results of eBay Auction to Benefit BC

Leslie Spangler, owner of Silver Stain Artistry, created a gorgeous stained-glass image of a lioness that she photographed in Mana Pools earlier this year. We are happy to announce that Leslie’s auctioned art work generated $1,200 to support BC’s anti-poaching work. Thank you, Leslie, for sharing your time and talents to directly impact the work of Bushlife!

Save the Date—Nick will be in Florida in mid-March 2023

Back after a two-year COVID delay, Alison and Mark Nolting of The Africa Adventure Company are hosting and sponsoring a soirée to include updates from Nick and other conservationists in mid-March 2023, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Details to follow in upcoming newsletters.

It would be fabulous if Nick could get together with donors on the West Coast during his March trip. If you live in San Diego, Long Beach, or the California Bay Area and would be willing to host and sponsor a donor meet-and-greet for Nick, we would love to hear from you! Please contact Mara at for more details. 

Meet Our Donor—Mana Pools Trip Report
from Christine White

After spending three days in Mana Pools last month and seeing some amazing sights, including a photo op with Tusker, our request to Nick Murray for our final day was to see the painted dogs. The dogs had managed to elude us during the prior 3 days. As one of the editors of the newsletters over the last few years, I was intrigued to observe these animals in their habitat. We took off on our morning drive with one goal, finding the dogs. As we drove, Nick would periodically stop to look at tracks that were visible on the road to see signs of the dogs. There was general consensus by the guides that Violet was probably in a den awaiting the arrival of her new pups. When this occurs, the remaining 8 members of the pack hunt in the morning and the evening and then return to the den to regurgitate food to Violet. As we continued our drive, we drove out to a wash near one of the airstrips that had not been previously explored. After walking for a mile with no sightings, we returned back to our vehicle. Fortuitously, as we headed back to camp, we noticed a significant number of parked vehicles. We stopped to see what animal had been spotted. There in a small ravine were the 8 dogs. Apparently, they were completely spent from their morning hunt, as they slept soundly, ignoring all of the human activity surrounding them.  

As we had only viewed the dogs sleeping after their morning hunt, we returned that evening, hopeful that they would be recovered and more active. When we arrived, they were indeed stirring and getting ready. As they headed out, they were loosely organized but then, as if on command, fell into a side-by-side formation. With heads down and looking straight ahead, they picked up the pace as they spotted a herd of impala in the distance. They were now running side by side and again, as if by command, they all diverged from one another to encircle the impala of choice. Choosing not to watch the kill, we returned to camp. Interestingly, Nick told us the dogs are successful 80 to 100 percent of the time when hunting. We were indeed overjoyed to have finally seen the dogs in action. Now it was time to go home.

Photo by Tim White

Support BC By Using AmazonSmile Website or App

Looking for ways to support BC? An easy way to support our conservation and anti-poaching work throughout the year is by going to AmazonSmile when you shop. This website is operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and features as When you shop on AmazonSmile, the Amazon Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Bushlife Conservancy when you designate us as the charitable organization of your choice. To shop at AmazonSmile, simply go to on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone (found under settings on your app). 

The amount donated to BC through AmazonSmile doubled last holiday season (Oct-Dec) compared to the previous holiday season, which was double the amount from 2019. This is a great way to support the Bushlife Support Unit (BSU) team, and it is available throughout the year.

Building Our Team

1 - Consider sharing your BC newsletter with friends and family who might be interested in learning about the conservation efforts which you support:

2 - Invite your friends to follow us on Facebook.

a. Go to the Bushlife Conservancy page:
b. Scroll across top or side banner and click on “Community.”
c. Scroll down page and select blue “Invite Friends” button.

3 - Do you have any contacts who might be interested in funding any of our projects? We always need funding to address:

  • managing human-wildlife conflict in the surrounding communities through community education and relocating and tracking animals that destroy crops or are a threat to people;
  • providing children’s conservation education clubs and camps for wildlife conservation; and
  • anti-poaching patrols and vehicles.
4 - Please visit our website to make a secure (US tax-deductible) donation, or send a check to:

Bushlife Conservancy
216 F Street #112
Davis, CA 95616


Nick Murray, President    Beth Brock, Treasurer   Ed Callen, Secretary

Board Members:  Alison Nolting, Mara Perkins, Charles Hanemann  
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