On Mother’s Day 2018, Sharon Pincott (known during her years in Hwange as Mandlovu, ‘Mother Elephant’) urges President Mnangagwa and Minister Oppah Muchinguri to respond to hundreds of thousands of would-be tourists from around the world concerned with Zimbabwe’s elephant capture policies, and also high-level ivory smuggling rings.
His Excellency the President of Zimbabwe, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa
via Honourable Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, Special Advisor to the President
Honourable Minister Oppah Munchinguri, Environment
Copied also to Ambassador Grace Mutandiro, Permanent Secretary Environment
Mr Fulton U. Mangwanya, Director General, Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
Sharon Pincott (aka, on this Mother’s Day, by the name given to me while I lived in Zimbabwe, ‘Thandeka Mandlovu’), Elephant Specialist, Conservationist and published Author
(13 years full-time in the field, 2001-2014, working alone on a voluntary basis with the clan of wild elephants known as the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe in Hwange)
Greetings Mr President, Honourable Ministers Mutsvangwa and Munchinguri, Ambassador Mutandiro and Mr Mangwanya,
RE: CHASING feedback from you on this Mother’s Day – on behalf of 287,509 people in 227 countries around the globe – regarding Zimbabwe’s policies on the capture of elephants, from their mothers and families, for sale to zoos
I trust this email finds you, your mothers, and your families well, and that you will make time, even with your hectic election campaigning, to give this important issue the attention it surely deserves.
I remind you all of my previous correspondence to you in this regard, dated 24 January, 1 February and 23 March.
Nearly 4 months have passed since I first made contact, advising you of the Care2 petition that attracted the signatures of 287,509 people; would-be tourists to Zimbabwe, wanting the best for our world’s wildlife. 287,509 people who took the opportunity to input to you with grave concerns, re your elephant capture policies.
I take this opportunity now to express our profound disappointment to have had confirmed – from one of your own – that more young elephants did indeed leave Hwange just last month (April 2018). It is my understanding that these elephants went to the UAE.
Mr President, we had been heartened to read the Press Release of 13 January 2018 titled ‘President Mnangagwa Announces Commitment to Conservation and Invites Tourists to Visit Zimbabwe’. Yet we have seen no hard evidence at all to date that your elephant capture policies are even under review. I note too here that Mr Adrian Steirn’s name is part of this 13 January press release; the photographer who implicated ex-First Lady Grace Mugabe in ivory smuggling. Of that, too, the press has reported little more, of late.
We ask for your assurance, Mr President & Honourable Munchinguri, that both of these crucial issues will not be swept under the carpet. World eyes are still focused hard on Zimbabwe and its precious elephants.
I know first-hand (especially from my own experiences prior to the 2013 elections) that politicians’ priorities too often become just about being re-elected at this time. You currently have billboards put up in Zimbabwe promising ‘Clean fresh water for all’, ‘Affordable, quality Healthcare guaranteed’, ‘Affordable Electricity’. Forgive me for wondering how you will actually pay for that – although I’m certain it would be more easily achievable if your Tourism Sector was to truly flourish, which it will certainly do, once you remove the policies – and the corruption – that chase away so many elephant-loving tourists into other African countries.
All 287,509 of us continue to await your feedback.
With kind regards,
Elephant Specialist and acclaimed author of Elephant DawnPost published in: Environment