The Cheetah Brothers are doing well

Just a quick update to let you all know that our two cheetah brothers that we are re-wilding are doing very well and have discovered the delights of impala….

 

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Naia the orphaned African Clawless Otter

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Naia

Hi Folks – this is Naia a female African Clawless Otter orphan. She is currently be reared by as she was rescued after being attacked by a pack of dogs.

We have been quiet for far too long………

Dear Readers,   You may well have thought that we had fallen off the planet / lost our cause or simply shut down….. We are very happy to report that this is not the case, rather that technology in Africa has gotten the better of us and we are only now just catching up!!!!   We have been busy for the last year, catch up on our news and events on our facebook page : Tikki Hywood Trust We are even Tweeting…… THTZim And now have our own website….. www.tikkihywoodtrust.org   So do look that all up when you get a chance. In the meantime…… WE’LL BE BACK……..

Runners in the mist…

First there were zebra’s in the mist and now we have runners in the mist!  The Vumba Run, hosted by Leopard Rock Golf Resort and Casino was held on the 15 October 2011, and was to be the first of its kind for the area.   It is hoped that the Vumba Run will become an annual event bringing attention to the Eastern Highlands and awareness to the people and wildlife who call the Vumba their home!

Although not quite a “comrades” marathon, the prospect of running in the winding Vumba roads, exquisite scenery and of course the intoxicating mountain air appealed to quite a number of people. At the end of registration, nearly 200 runners had signed up, though this is not a guarantee that everyone will run the race. However, as is the case with first time events, there is always an element that cannot be anticipated.

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The day of the race dawned with the ever-present morning mist and of course a light drizzle which feel gently upon the awaiting runners. The Vumba race comprised of three distances, all starting at different points but having one grand finish line. Nervous energy was amplified by thoughts of running the event in the rain, making sure all the runners were at their correct starting points and hoping that they could find their way! They say that running is a lonely sport but this could not have been further from the truth with the camaraderie and enthusiasm of the runners as they awaited the start. The very essence of the Vumba seemed to participate, as the mist gently lifted to reveal the picturesque montane forest and its enigmatic wildlife. Speaking of which, a rather special participant needs to be mentioned here; the Vumba zebra stallion. The 21 km race started near a Vumba landmark – Tony’s coffee shop and as the starter’s gun fired and the runners surged forth, so did the Vumba’s very own Zebra stallion. Compelled by his herd instinct, the four-legged runner led the pack for the first 300 meters of the race, wondering I am sure what everyone was running from! Perhaps his sense of curiosity took the better of him when he decided to stop and gracefully let all the other runners past – surveying the troops as they carried on. Who really knows what was going through his equine mind and maybe it was his way of making the Vumba more memorable because one thing is for sure, those runners will be talking about it for quite a while.

In addition to the race being unprecidently started by a non-human, there was also a spirit of “going for green” in that some of the runners were painted green! A statement of solidarity, green represented the mountains, wildlife and of course an overall sense of empathy for the environment. Amongst the green faced warriors were several members of the WEPU scouts, some Zimbabwe Parks personnel and the new Warden of the Botanical Gardens Dominic Mubvanyika. Also with a great display of dedication, a special mention must go to Martin Stiemer of Animal Lifeline who is responsible for training the WEPU scouts, who ran the 10km race in borrowed shorts, a green face and loafers! Allegiance to a good cause knows no bounds when you truly believe in it.

In addition to this race bringing business and interest to the Vumba, it also provided sponsorship to our WEPU team (Wildlife and Environment Protection Unit). This unit has operated in the Vumba for a year now and the evidence of their hard work and commitment is very apparent. Perhaps the best form of gratitude for this dedication is shown by the wildlife, who in turn are showing themselves more and more, with sightings of leopard and cubs, samango monkeys and the rare blue duiker becoming more frequent. Not to mention a singular charismatic zebra.  In September 2011, Martin Stiemer of Animal Lifeline, went to the Vumba to under take our first refresher course with the WEPU scouts as well as the rangers from National Parks.  We do feel that these refresher course, are vital to keep the scouts performance on track as well as to iron out any issues which might have been discovered over the past year.  So a very big thank you goes to Martin for not only his expertise but for believing in our WEPU Vumba project and his continued support.

Some statistics on the WEPU operations and results during the past twelve months:

Day patrols: 214 days

Night patrols: 21 days

Snares, whip traps, gin traps and other illegal traps recovered: 948

Total arrests: 32

We need to commend these very dedicated people, 8 scouts in total, for this phenomenal result. In addition we would like to mention that this work would also not be possible without the guidance, co-operation and leadership of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority staff of the Vumba and surrounds.

This event has marked the re-discovery of one of Zimbabwe’s hidden jewels, the Eastern highlands. For those of us having the privilege of working and or living in the Vumba we would like to offer profuse thanks to the hosts Leopard Rock Hotel and Casino for holding this event and also to the race organisers and participants for raising some sponsorship for WEPU.

We now encourage you the public to visit the Vumba if you haven’t before or if you have already, go back and repeat the wonderful experience of the magical mystical mountains. Oh and next time, bring your running shoes……

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The Pangolin Files…….

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How do you give an animal such as a pangolin a true value?  For me these unknown creatures are priceless, the worlds they live in we still have not come to fully understand and with each experience I have, with these mystical animals I am left with feelings of total awe as well as sadness to what we as a fellow species continues to do to the pangolin both in Africa and Asia.

Recently the Tikki Hywood Trust, was involved with a court case, involving the poaching and selling of a male pangolin.  The case has finally come to an end with a conviction of both men involved being found guilty on both accounts.  Unfortunately the sentencing was not exactly what we had hoped for but it is nonetheless a step in the right direction.  Both men, Stephen Chizema and Prince Muusha were convicted on the 1st count of having a specially protected animal, US$200 or 30 days imprisonment, 3 months suspended for 3 years on condition of good behaviour.  The second account, US$50 or 10 days imprisonment for cruelty.  The reason for this seemingly light sentence was that the guilty parties did not benefit from the crime, they did not kill the pangolin and it was only by chance that they found the pangolin and unlawful possession and cruelty were done of out of ignorance.

This conviction most certainly does not do justice for what this male pangolin was put through over what we believe is at least a week of immense stress.  The first prize with regards to this case, was that we managed to release the pangolin back into the wild after we had him for only three days.  Normally with this type of court case the evidence (which in this case was the pangolin) has to remain in possession or captive for the entire hearing.  That would have been two months whereby I fear he would have most certainly have died.  The older the pangolins are, the less likely they are to adapt to a captive environment, their diets of solely ants and or termites being the biggest challenge.  At long last we have managed to persuade Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authorities to increase the poaching fine for pangolins from the current value of US$500 to US$5000.  As stated to the Court, pangolins are Specially Protected and hence we have to do everything when trying to protect them.  It is hoped that this increase will act more as a deterrent against people wanting to poach them from their natural environment.

This has been the first case which I have been actively involved with from the beginning to end and I have to say I have learnt so much as to the how’s, why’s and why not our judicial system works.  The process is incredibly lengthy and there are so many different procedures to go through before there is change.  In total I attended court 7 times before I had to stand before the magistrate as a witness to the cruelty that the pangolin had been subjected to.  The detectives involved in the arrests of the two convicted men, had to attend the court 9 times before they had both given their testament to court.  So in the time, fuel and energy, the conviction does not justify those costs, let alone the trauma that was caused to the pangolin.  There is so much education that is required for our court systems to be come more compassionate towards wildlife crimes and take a much more active part in making sure that the culprits are charge accordingly.   In conclusion, we understand that there is a lot to address from when an animal is captured, the arresting of the perpetrators and their prosecution.  Our Zimbabwe CID border control investigators did a fantastic job with arresting these two men as well as attending all the required court dates, my thanks goes to them as well as to the Public Prosecutor who prosecuted the case so admirably.

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BIKITA 2011

Bikita 2011

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“They don’t mean to bite” – a mantra that I said to myself over and over during the three days that we were in Bikita, running the fourth domestic animal sterilization program co-ordinated by the Tikki Hywood Trust. Looking into the eyes of these rural dogs, there is no malice, no intent to hurt, only a desire not to be hurt themselves.  I have yet to meet animals as forgiving as these ones, often living on whatever they can scavenge, fending for themselves against other dogs and now a new threat to the area – hyenas. Yet despite the day to day hardships they face, they submit themselves to prodding and poking by complete strangers, having foul tasting dewormer squirted in their mouths, injections and finally a dunking in cold water dip. And after all this there is still a waggling tail and a tongue-lolling smile – a lesson in humility second to none.

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The Bikita project certainly has a profound effect on all who take part. It is a program that allows people from all levels of life to meet on a common ground – care for their domestic animals. This year, 2011, was certainly no exception, with everyone from mine management to rural farmers to mine labourers, getting involved. These kinds of things tend to bring out the best in human nature.  This year unfortunately Dr. Biko Gadaga could not partake in the program and he was sorely missed, however Dr. Blessing Mutangiri, a well-known Bikita resident did an absolutely marvelous job taking care of all the surgeries, assisted by Jo Howson who volunteered with us this year. Additionally this program could not have been as successful or smooth without the involvement of Simon Chikidaya (ZNSPCA) and Darlington Machingambi (Bikita Minerals) and the organization of Mr. Nigel McPhail and Mr. Mapeture of Bikita Minerals. Finally the additional sets of hands belonging to the Reyneke family, Susara, Chantelle and Ryan went a long way to making the program efficient and caring. A special mention must go to Chantelle for the exceptional nursing skill she displayed with some less than healthy puppies which needed to be de-flea’d.

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On a personal note, for me the most nerve-wracking thought was the surgeries, as I do not have the greatest reputation for staying upright during them! However, even surprising myself, once I focused on the fact that these animals needed this assistance so desperately, I was able to take it all in and just help them. Even if it meant a stroke or a pat on the head, cleaning up a wound or simply saying “good dog” – the universal sense of well-being flowed between us all, man and beast.

Herewith follows a breakdown of the treatments performed;

BIKITA AUGUST 2011 STATISTICS:
No of dogs attended to: 143
No of cats attended to: 2
No of rabbits attended to: 10
No of guinea pigs attended to: 10
No of cattle attended to: 12
No of donkeys attended to: 8
No of sheep attended to: 5
TOTAL NO OF ANIMALS ATTENDED TO: 190
RABIES VACCINATIONS 125
Dogs 123
Cats 2
CASTRATIONS 9
SPAYS 3
EUTHANASIA 3

The subject of euthanasia is never a nice one but I must comment here that the attitude of the animal owners of the Bikita district is definitely changing. I believe the people now have a better understanding of being ‘cruel to be kind’ and allowing us to put an animal to sleep so as to end suffering. Nothing displayed this more dramatically than our last euthanasia, which took place in a village in the hills belonging to the Masvimba family. The headman has an elderly dog whom he thought had a bone stuck in its throat. Well clearly the animal had been suffering for some time, emaciated doesn’t even begin to describe this poor animals condition. If you can imagine those picture of the starving skeletal children in Ethiopia, this was a canine equivalent. His eyes were dry, deeply sunken into the sockets and he could barely lift his head. Old callouses and scabbed wounded covered his back legs, his tail a bumpy series of bones. He was so dehydrated from not being able to even hold down water, it was obvious he had been in this worsening state for some days. The headman was adamant that with our white medicine we could fix him. It took a lot of discussion and even a ‘village meeting’ for him to accept the fact that we simply could do nothing further for the old dog. It was poignant moment when he looked at us and said “Do you know my dog loves me so much?” to which Jo Howson responded so fittingly, “He will love you even more if you end his suffering”.

He did not even struggle when lifted by foreign white hands and laid on his side on the makeshift table which was the open back of the vehicle. His dignity and acceptance of what was about to happen was so apparent, he lay his head down and allowed us to find the vein in his leg and administer the euthanasia drug. The last words he heard was a strange language saying “good dog, good dog” but he knew what it meant.

The Bikita domestic animal program has been one in which we continue to see the impact with each successive visit. By changing the lives of these domestic animals and their owners, we know that there is a further reaching ripple effect. You the readers and all who support the Tikki Hywood Trust are part of that effect too, and for this we thank you. We are constantly evaluating, and adjusting our approach and methods, so if anyone has any suggestions and or comments, we welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you.

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Gratitude to the sponsors;
A special thankyou to the Bridget Bardot Foundation who is the biggest sponsor of the Bikita project. Furthermore, National Foods generously put together parcels of dog food that were appreciated by both pet and owner alike. Bikita Minerals and staff for their hospitality and use of their premises and finally a thankyou to the people of Bikita who welcomed us and worked with us.

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The fire season again

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Fire. One of the four main elements of myth, mystery and history, as well as the subject of both worship and fear throughout human evolution. The manipulation of fire separated us intellectually from our fellow creatures and gave us the ‘power tool’ to explore and expand our repertoire of capabilities. Of the four; earth, wind and air, fire was the easiest to recreate and to control. There are many folklores and tales as to how mankind first learned about fire and if one is to delve deeper in the science of fossil record, it states that the first wild fire occurred approximately 420 million years ago, as the levels of atmospheric oxygen rose thanks to the increase of combustible vegetation. However, even after all these millions of years, fire still retains that wild and uncontrollable quality as it still manages to ravage the earth’s surface unchecked.

As winter arrives on our doorstep in Zimbabwe, even in this relatively warm climate, fire is still essential to our culture. Traditional images of snuggling up in front of a warm fire come to mind and the distinctive acrid taste of smoke hangs in the air in both rural and urban environments.  However over the past decade a new and very tragic image has begun to be a familiar sight; char burnt veld wherever one looks. During this time of year my heart drops to the very pit of my stomach, when I look up into the sky and see billowing fire clouds!  Birds circle on hot thermals, scavenging for any misfortunate creature fleeing the flames. After the fire rips through an area all that is left is kilometres and kilometres of blackened, smoking, sterile landscape. Through our socio-economic upheaval of land re-distribution, uncontrolled wildfires have been one of the most destructive consequences.  Reports show that 11 million hectares of land were burnt in 2004, and last year a reportly 11 504 947 hectares were again burnt!  As a percentage of Zimbabwe’s total land area, this equates to 29% of the total. We have lost nearly a third of our biomass to fire this year.

The ramifications of the damage and costs relating to bush fires are in the billions.  With unmanaged burning the following can be expected, a reduction in biodiversity, destruction of flora and fauna, reduction of soil fertility, increased erosion and soil compaction that increases surface run-off, thereby decreasing infiltration. All this reduces water needed to recharge ground water sources.

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The lack of social consequence is a primary result of uncontrolled wildfires. For example; poachers start fires in order to flush their targets from the safety of the vegetation. In resettled and communal areas, people smoke out bees using grass torches to get to the honey, but are not always careful to properly put out the fires. At bus terminuses, passengers start little fires to warm themselves whilst waiting, but often board buses without dousing them. Veld fires can also be ignited by burning cigarette stubs carelessly thrown out of moving vehicles by drivers or passengers.  During the winter months many resettled farmers use burning as a method to clear their fields but often do not stop the fires as they move further out of their boundaries.

Only in extreme cases are veld fires induced by natural factors like lightning.

In a country like Zimbabwe, where we have a high percentage of combustible biomass it seemed sensible to have a legislation that relates to the use and control of fire. Hence the Forest Act was first written in 1949 which forbids people from burning, growing or standing vegetation on any land without prior notice to the occupants of all adjourning land and the police.

The Act further stipulates that in the event that one is found guilty in a court of law of setting a fire outside of the criteria as stipulated, they should be liable for either a fine or imprisonment or both.

However, ignorance of these regulations by both civilian and official alike has resulted in a regressive attitude towards proper fire management, and there is now a need to re-educate the general populace on the proper use of one our most fundamental tools. With the survival and fate of many wild animals under threat from wild fires, we as the Tikki Hywood Trust are proud to have been involved in the fire awareness campaign initiated by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

In 2010, with the help of like-minded organisations the Tikki Hywood Trust was also asked by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authorities to assist with the firebreaks for the Hwange National Park.  Our largest and premier collection of naturally occurring wildlife, home to specially protected species and endangered alike, the Park is home to 105 mammal species, including 19 large herbivores and eight large carnivores. The population of African wild dogs to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today.

With all these creatures relying on the environment which they call home, it is vital that we protect the vegetation from unnatural fire devastation.  The winter months are the hardest of all for wildlife and without the required vegetation all animals in the food chain eventually face starvation. In 2010, we co-ordinated and assisted several groups and organisations in achieving the first comprehensive boundary firebreak for the park in decades. We are very proud to be involved in this operation again this year and hopefully will extend the protection against fires further than what we were able to last year.

Results so far are depicted in the map below;

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People involved in making this possible

African Bush Camps – Beks Ndlovu

Friends of Hwange

Gary Cantle & Peter Banks – with out whom we would not have managed to cover so much ground in such a short time frame

Martin Peters Safaris – Martin Peters

National Parks Head Office and Hwange National Park staff

Save Australia

The Hide

Tikki Hywood Trust

WEZ Matebeleland Branch

Wilderness Safaris

A Pangolin’s day in Court

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How many readers have had the truly spiritual experience of being in the presence of a Cape Pangolin? For myself, there is never an occasion that prepares me for receiving a pangolin as each animal touches my very soul. These animals truly are the most remarkable and mystical animals, which deserve the utmost respect and honour that our Shona culture has bestowed upon them. However, the air of mystery surrounding these creatures has also contributed to the decline in their numbers, as when they are found in the wild, they are picked up and presented to the Chief or more often, the President. From this point on, it normally spells doom for the pangolin, since they do not eat or drink once captive. This is because they are highly specialized feeders, having what we refer to as a tube mouth with no articulating jaws. They lick up ants and termites with a very long sticky tongue and drink water in the same manner. Pangolin are taken from all over the country, they endure tortuous journeys bound up in sacks or other suffocating and confining containers, to be brought to the Capital, starving, terrified and dehydrated. As a nation, I think we need to address our expression of respect to this species.

The logo of the Tikki Hywood Trust is the pangolin, for us symbolic of our admiration of this animal. We are also recognised, as the authority on captive care, management and release of cape pangolin and due to this reputation we have working arrangement with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. What this means is that any pangolin presented to any member of the government is accepted and then handed to the Trust for safekeeping and or release.

This is an account of exactly this type of situation which took place recently;

On 1stJuly personnel from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, called us to confirm that we would take a pangolin who had been removed from the wild and which the C.I.D. department of Border Control Mines and Minerals personnel were about to confiscate. We of course accepted this request. The story unfolds that the Parks investigations unit had been alerted to a pangolin that had been brought into Harare, with the intention of the poachers to sell the animal. Yes, we have labeled them poachers because they have illegally removed this animal from its natural habitat.

In a true movie style operation, a trap was laid for the pangolin poachers, who had pegged the price of this invaluable animal at a mere USD $ 7000.00! Once arrested, the two suspects were taken into custody on 1st July and were held until the hearing the following Monday where they were released on bail. We were advised to come and collect the pangolin when the suspects had been arrested and we then made the fretful journey to Central Vehicle Registry (also the Offices for the C.I.D. Department) in the centre of Harare not knowing what to expect. Afternoon traffic on a Friday in the centre of Harare is not to be trifled with and add this to the fact that an ocean of people gathered all wanting to catch a glimpse of this rare sight. The pangolin had been taken from the Chimanimani area of Zimbabwe and brought to Harare in a sack in a boot of a car. Upon seeing him for the first time we discovered that he was a large mature animal, but was terrified and rolled up in a very tight ball. During the phone call from the Investigating Officer to advise us to come and collect the pangolin, he stated that they had no idea how to take the animal out of the boot and then what to do with it. With the flashes of phone cameras and a pressing and craning of necks to see the rare species we managed to transfer him to a more comfortable crate with a deep bed of hay in the back of the Trust vehicle. Once we had the pangolin safely in our care, I went to fill out a statement with the investigating officer. The case had been set for court for the following Monday 8.15 am, and since it was Friday, this meant that this pangolin was to be in our care for the weekend.

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If anyone has ever had anything to do with a pangolin, they will know that there is nothing more difficult in the world than to feed a pangolin, let alone, a pangolin who has been terrified, kept in a chicken coop for four days and undergone immense stress. On the first night we walked for two hours hoping that he might at least eat something, but all he did was walk. The sights and smells must have been so completely foreign to him from his highland home, much less the two-legged ‘torturers’ that appeared to be following his every move. On getting him home he went into the Tikki Hywood Trust nursery room, which we deemed to be the most secure place to hold him and also where we could create heat and warmth with an oil heater and bean bags. When under stress, pangolin find it very difficult to regulate their temperature, so we have to do this artificially. After investigating every corner of the room, he found a place that felt safe and curled up. We swathed him in a thick blanket and a hot bean bag at his side. For the first time in a number of days, I believe he had a restful and deep sleep. Over the course of the weekend he was walked between three and four hours in the evening, in the hopes of stimulating his natural foraging behaviour. On each occasion his trust towards us had improved, but still he did not eat any food. We placed him directly on ant nests and termite mounds but he showed absolutely no interest. This being my biggest concern, as he had now not eaten for a minimum of 7 days if not longer, I spoke to the police over the weekend saying that we had to petition the animal’s release as soon as possible. What I was not aware of but soon became clear, was that the pangolin itself was booked as evidence and therefore had to be presented in court in order for the prosecution to have a solid case. So early Monday we headed to the police station once again with the pangolin in a crate, wrapped up in his blanket to see if we authorize his release before night fall. Thankfully, due to full co-operation from the CID Mines and Minerals, as well as the courts and the Magistrate, we were able to get through the legal proceedings and the pangolin on his way to being released by midday. For purposes of the animal’s safety, we respectfully decline to mention where he was released.

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For those of you reading, like ourselves, you may be confused and angered by the fact that the animal had to be physically used as evidence, being carted from one foreign environment to another, but this is an indication of a system that was devised with unfamiliarity of the welfare and survival of live exhibits. Now that we have experienced this situation we can work towards improving the legislation and the court procedure to benefit the animals in question.

In the meantime, we offered to assist both the Police and the Parks Authority in preparing the docket, as we also needed to understand the legal implications of this case. All too often this is where the momentum is lost as our Public Prosecutors are not well versed in the wildlife laws of the country. All departments involved at this point where incredibly enthusiastic and grateful for the assistance and on the Sunday before the first hearing we frantically put together the following legal citations;

The Primary charge is Part IX Section 45 of the Parks and Wildlife Act, Control of Hunting of Specially Protected animals and Procession and sale of Specially Protected Animals.

Under this section the crimes involved would be, illegal procession of Specially Protected Animal, holding an animal without a licence and or permit, noting that we are dealing in particular with a Specially Protected Endangered species such as a pangolin.

Section 59 of Part XII of the Parks and Wildlife Act, Control of Hunting Removal of Live animals and animal Products,

Specifically point (2) (b) where it states remove any animal or any part of any animal from any land or from one place to another on any land, further to this point

( 3) subject to this act no person shall sell any live animal or the trophy of any animal except in terms of a permit issued in terms of section 75 of the Parks and Wildlife Act [20:14].

(5) any person who contravenes sub-section (2) or (3) shall be guilty of an offense.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Section 3 Offences

(1) Any person who -

Sub-section (e), wantonly or unreasonably does or causes or procures the commission of any act likely to infuriate or terrify any animal;

or Sub-section (g) cruelly or unnecessarily ties up or confines any animal or causes or permits any animal so to be tied up or confined;

or Sub-section (h) conveys or carries or causes or procures or, being the owner, permits to be conveyed or carried, any animal in such a manner or position as to cause the animal unnecessary suffering;

Shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(The justification for citing this Act is due to the fact that the pangolin, once captured, was being kept in a chicken coop, where the animal contracted parasitic mites which it would not have been subjected to under wild circumstances. In short, the cage was entirely inappropriate.)

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Photo above of scale damage due to being in captivity

Trapping of Animals (CONTROL) Act, Part VIII – General Section 22 Control of sale, etc.,of animals trapped Sub-section

(1) Notwithstanding the trapping, in terms of this Act or in terms of a permit or licence granted in terms of this Act, of any animal as defined in section 2 of the Parks and Wildlife Act [Chapter 20:14], the sale or disposal of such animal or the whole or any part of the carcass thereof shall be subject to the Parks and Wildlife Act [Chapter 20:14]. Sub-section

(2) No person shall sell or dispose of any animal or the whole or any part of the carcass thereof which he has trapped in convention of any of the provisions of this Act.

Sub-section (3) Any person who contravenes sub-section (2) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level six or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such a fine and such imprisonment.

In addition to the above legal citing, we would also obviously prosecute on the basis of the standard trapping and hunting fines per species.

After the deliberations prior the court appearance on Monday, it was decided that the following two counts would represent the thrust of the Prosecutor’s case;

The Primary charge is Part IX Section 45 of the Parks and Wildlife Act, Control of Hunting of Specially Protected animals and Procession and sale of Specially Protected Animals.

Under this section the crimes involved would be, illegal procession of Specially Protected Animal, holding an animal without a licence and or permit, noting that we are dealing in particular with a Specially Protected Endangered species such as a pangolin.

Section 59 of Part XII of the Parks and Wildlife Act,Control of Hunting Removal of Live animals and animal Products, Specifically point (2) (b) where it states remove any animal or any part of any animal from any land or from one place to another on any land, further to this point

( 3) subject to this act no person shall sell any live animal or the trophy of any animal except in terms of a permit issued in terms of section 75 of the Parks and Wildlife Act [20:14].

(5) any person who contravenes sub-section (2) or (3) shall be guilty of an offense. According to the legal deliberations we could not charge separately for the Cruelty Act, section 59 of the Parks and Wildlife Act as above encompassed the action of cruelty against the animal.

At the hearing on Monday 4th July the two suspects were released on USD $100.00 bail and told to return the following day, Tuesday 5th July to hear what the Magistrates decision whether to charge on only one count of illegal removal or to charge for the count of cruelty as well. Of course my initial reaction was panic as I did not think that the two suspects would return once they got out on bail! The next 12 hours were rather difficult to say the least and when I got that phone call saying that both suspects had appeared in court that morning and that the Magistrate was prepared to hear the case on both accounts section 45 and section 59 – I was relieved and exhilarated! The date of the trial has been set for 25th July 2011.

We at the Tikki Hywood Trust and most certainly all the Government Departments that we have worked with on this issue feel that this is indeed a victory, even though the trial has not yet taken place. It is definitely the first step towards bringing the justice system into line with more severe recognition of crimes against wildlife and could ont have been achieved without the co-operation and dedication to all involved – we salute you.

Neil Armstrong, may have taken that first step on the moon and thereby a giant leap for mankind, but this event and subsequent result, is equivalent of a lunar leap for all wildlife prosecution in Zimbabwe and in particular the pangolin! The following newspaper articles have been published with regards to this case, please take a moment to read them.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201107050708.html

http://www.newsday.co.zw/article/2011-07-05-pangolin-lands-mutsvangwa-in-trouble

Mozi the Suni

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Thursday 12th May, a little tiny bundle arrived!  Mozi the first suni which the Tikki Hywood Trust had received was brought to us from Christy Jira. During a trip to Mozambique, they had seen this furry bundle being carried upside down on the side of the road with his legs tied up.  This sight is not uncommon in Mozambique!  Mozi was an amazing little antelope who fought through all the odds until late Saturday 14th May when he passed away in my arms.

Nothing prepares you when you lose an animal.  Even in those few days Mozi’s character started shining through, during the ups and downs. He was one of the few antelopes in my experience, that was eager to groom a fellow being, and seemed to especially relish the salty taste of human skin. Trying to save an orphan who has endured a snare, unknown abuse and more than likely starvation is certainly not easy as one feels quite helpless when they are in pain and you don’t know what more to do.  What man does to his fellow planet dwellers is just criminal.

A little more about Suni Antelope;

Considered to be one of the smallest antelope in Africa, Suni only stand between 35 – 40cm at the shoulder and weighing a mere 5kg. They depend heavily on dense habitat for protection and are therefore under serious threat through habitat loss and encroachment by human development.  Killing by domestic or feral dogs is also huge problem, as well as poaching by snare as they use forest trails.

Please may we appeal to all those of you who may be travelling to and from Mozambique (or anywhere in Zimbabwe for that matter) that if you save any wildlife from the side of the roads, contact us quickly so that together we can help with the survival of these precious creatures .

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Changing places…..

A change is as good as a holiday……
How many readers have experience the thrill and or terror of relocating from your home? For animals, there is no difference in how it affects them; some are excited by the change, others frightened by change and the unknown. At the Trust, one of our key factors of release is making sure that the individual animal is ready both mentally and physically. With many animals, the call of the wild within them is very strong and they will develop a “long distance stare”, essentially an acknowledgement in themselves that there is something greater out there.
The second and third months of 2011 have presented the Tikki Hywood Trust with several situations where we have purposefully moved animals, herewith a breakdown of the relocations;
genetpen
In November 2010 we received three orphaned genets that had fallen out of a tree in a garden in Harare. Apparently abandoned by their mother, they were brought to the Tikki Hywood Trust and this is how we received Hugo, Boss & Femme! (Incidentally the theme for genet names is perfumes….) Since these three were in perfectly healthy condition it was always the intention to release them at the right age, however the criteria for finding a safe release site might be harder met. So, after monitoring their growth and overall development for the next four months we had the privilege of watching three extremely happy and healthy genets grow in stature and character. They made acquaintance with all the other genet at the Trust and even had an impromptu introduction to a Mollucan cockatoo! In our professional opinion, they were now ready for phase two of a release and that was to be moved to the intended site.

genet-release
It was a wet and misty morning on 13th March when we arrived at the property of Neil Deacon in Darwindale. After a few last minute alterations to their new quarters, we allowed the three musketeers out to inspect. Their reaction was as positive as we could hope for, they were only slightly nervous to start but very quickly their natural inquisitive nature got the better of them. It was very smooth and ‘text book’ as they say. With the daily feeding and monitoring being done by Neil, we were satisfied that these three lucky orphans were in the best care. A routine was quickly established with Hugo, the leader of the pack enjoying Neil’s company as close as Neil would allow. We believe they were visited by a wild genet on site, which was even more encouraging for the whole release. However, 45 days later, on the 25th April 2011 our three intrepid genets showed us that they were in fact more than ready to be released and found a hole in the enclosure letting themselves out! The erstwhile self-release was discovered by Neil on his feeding expedition that even. Instead of three sets of eyes peering out of the enclosure, they were peering out of a tree nearby!
Sometime the most unplanned release is the best one!

genetout
We are very happy to report that the three are doing well and have definitely made themselves at home.
Not a release but another kind of move was the change of the two serval males, Bilbo and Gandalf from their old enclosure to a new one on Bushman Rock Estates in Ruwa. The reason for the change of location was that a new enclosure had been built for the boys next to the lodges, which incorporate a beautiful little stream and a msasa woodland. We could not have asked for more a stimulating environment for them. On the day, the question was in our minds as to what exactly the process would be to get the serval boys into a crate and moved. The answer was the most unexpected thing you could think of; boiled eggs! Rick Passaportis has been patiently making friends with these two magnificent cats and his method did involve a little bribery……. Tit bits and treats every now and then kept the felids sweet and associating Rick with a very pleasant experience. So, on the misty morning, cool as cucumber Rick beckoned the salivating cats with the well-known rattle of a plastic dish and sulphurous wafting’s of freshly boiled eggs. Gandalf, the more retiring of the two was the first to venture straight into the crate and claim his prize. The door was neatly slid into place before he could realise and after a short drive he was deposited in the new enclosure. A few squirts of frontline later and he was released into the new wonderland. We were all wondering at this point whether Bilbo would be quite as co-operative, since is normally the case that the next animal to be caught is more wary. Our musings were soon proved unfounded, when Bilbo followed the eggy treat as quickly as his brother had. Unfortunately his rear haunches were still protruding and we could not slide the door shut as smoothly. This was soon remedied by a rather large size 11 croc-covered foot belonging to Rick, and with a gentle shove Bilbo was in position to join his brother. The brief separation proved to be of no consequence and they united in mutual exploration and urinating on everything they could possibly find!

serval
Ever in search of improving our techniques and methods with all the species we work with, we often find ourselves taking leaps and bounds when we come across ‘new ways’ to do things. So it has been with the breeding program for the Southern African Hedgehogs. After the very successful release in January of this year, we decided to create a permanent outside enclosure for the breeding stock at the Trust. We moved the first four into the new enclosure on 17th April and selection for the new area was based on body size! Yes, the fattest of our lady hogs were put into the new area in order to get them slim and trim for the coming breeding season. They performed so well that the following weekend all 16 hogs were placed in the new enclosure, a more natural environment, and it has also given us the opportunity to renovate the main breeding house. We shall keep you posted!

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