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By: Chengeta Wildlife 01 June 2015
Africa Hero Ivory Poaching Rory Young
On my way to do further training of Zimbabwe Republic Police and scouts in the Nyaminyami area I received a message from a third party to “report to Office of the President in Kariba” (OP is the Zimbabwe Central Intelligence Organization- the local secret police goons).
After a full and thorough interrogation I was told that I was “not allowed to train anyone and if I did I would be arrested”. When I protested that I had been given a two year residence permit in order to train anti poaching personnel, that I was training police with the authority of Police HQ and with the permission of the appropriate authority for the area, I was told to shut up, that they were “above the police”, and that even if I had done nothing wrong they would find a reason to arrest me and throw away the key unless I stayed “away from the area and did no training in Zimbabwe”. No explanation was given and they clearly didn’t care if it was obvious that they are involved in poaching or trafficking. They were so stupid, arrogant especially incompetent that they actually bragged that two Europeans working for NGO’s in the Kariba area were keeping them informed of all activities in the parks and adjacent wildlife areas, and that if I did any anti poaching work with the police or parks that they would know immediately.
I ceased all anti poaching training, ops and other assistance in Zimbabwe and we only used Zim as our base of residence, continuing our efforts all over Africa, while we planned to leave in good time, staying well away from the Kariba area and not saying a word about Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately CIO didn’t stop there and we began to hear via third parties that CIO were making more threats against me, obviously to ensure I didn’t come back to the area. They wanted me and anyone like far away from Matusadona and Nyaminyami. I subsequently heard that another well-known international anti poaching organization was told to stay away and also threatened.
Aside from the worry that I might be “picked up” or disappear without my family knowing every time I landed at Harare airport on my return from anti poaching training and ops in other countries, we had to sit and watch the number of reports of elephants being poached in the Matusadona, Nyaminyami and other areas sky rocket to the point where there are now almost daily reports. Previously in one of the main areas we had been training and advising we had reached a point where there had been zero eles poached in many months.
We finally scraped together enough to get out and are determined to redouble our efforts in those places where we are welcomed and where we are currently enjoying unprecedented successes. However, we left Zimbabwe with heavy hearts.
Now you know who is behind the poaching of the elephants in Northern Zimbabwe and why we left Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s government is desperate for cash and this is why they are going to the extremes they are, such as tearing wild baby elephants away from their mothers and herds and sending them to China. What people don’t realise though is that Mugabe’s political party and his secret police minions are desperate for cash too. CIO needs cash to pay its secret informers who spy on their neighbours and report any opposition. That cash has to come from somewhere and whilst the official government departments use legal but unethical means to raise funds, the political and secret security appartus and often the army use any means they can.
They (CIO and ZANU PF) are nothing less than an organized crime syndicate. They are behind the poaching in Zimbabwe and as they become more desperate they are going to “allow” more of it. Don’t be fooled when there is a report of Zambian poachers being shot. That is just them allowing parks or police to deal with the competition. When CIO is behind it no one does a thing. With their tentacles reaching every corner of every village they could shut down the poaching in Zimbabwe in a day.
Zimbabweans cannot talk about any of this or even comment on this post for example. It is one thing to take on National Parks for exporting baby elephants legally albeit unethically but they cannot breathe a word against CIO and mention the fact that they are the biggest and most ruthless mafia in Zimbabwe.
Edit: Thank you for all the words of support. My work with Chengeta Wildlife will continue in Malawi, Guinea and elsewhere. Where there is a political will to fight poaching and support rule of law this war can be won!
As long as we can get on the ground we will keep fighting this war. If you can, please donate. If you can’t donate, please spread the word. We are an organization with zero overhead and all funds go to our work in the field.
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Hi Rory – in case you haven’t heard of this: https://wildleaks.org/
You are well out of it.
It is so terribly sad what has happened and what is still happening in Zimbabwe. It is absolutely heart breaking that such a beautiful country, with the most beautiful wildlife, is literally been torn apart to line Mugabes pocket as usual ! I knew a few anti poachers a while back (some 20yrs ago now), and believe me, Mugabe was the same back then !! It is atrocious how the world can sit back and let one greedy bastard ruin so much…….and yes, I agree, CIO are worse than the Mafia. There is no law when it comes to them and until the world does something drastic, there never will be ! I commend you and all others like you for fighting so hard to save the defenceless wildlife, but I also have come to believe, as tragic as it may be, that these greedy, selfish, murdering Mugabe followers have absolutely no back bone and to that end, will continue to be at the maniacs beck and call. With that said, it may very well be time to stand back and let them all destroy each other as that is what it shall become……. The most devastating loss, will no be the true heritage of Zimbabwe – the wildlife.
Just wish I had the power to capture Mugabe and his cronies and string them up.
Has this something to do with the fact the walking freely in Mana is not permitted anymore?
No. Not that I am aware of.
I think you need to approach avaaz.com and start an online petion to create an international awareness of what is happening. Don’t underestimate the power to influence they hold within the global community. This is very serious and can’t be ignored. Thanks for sharing your story
You are well out of it. I did anti – poaching across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe from 1991 – 2004 with up to 300 scouts at a time. All went well until the farm invasions in 2000. From then onwards we found ourselves being arrested for arresting poachers. It became an untenable situation and I went to Zambia for 9 years where I was an Honorary Senior Ranger with their Parks and Wildlife Dept. (ZAWA). What a difference! Although hampered by many restraints the support received was terrific. I’m retired now but missing the work, wildlife and the bush terribly. Good luck with your future endeavours. You need a ‘Madala’ to give you a hand please give me a shout.
I am going to spread this one all over facebook and twitter
Rory I am pleased you and your family are safely out of that evil country.
I hope God punishes these greedy bastards who have no thought for the beautiful wildlife of Zimbabwe and only money in their pockets.May they reap their rewards in hell.
Tt makes me furious and sad in equal measure to read what is happening in the land of my birth. The Zambezi Valley will always be in my heart and soul after spending so many years working in Chrisia, Matusiadonna and Mana Pools. What a travesty and tragic state of affairs. To be unaccountable is really scary. What will be come of the wonderful wildlife that should be protected.
Thanks for the update. I would have thought this was common knowledge by now?
So what’s new ?
it is a Sad truth that dedicated professionals committed to such a worthy cause are ostracized and disabled like this…
& those of us still hanging in here this beautiful land of our birth, trying against all odds to preserve and conserve a country and its wildlife that are not just a passion but a vital and integral part of our heritage and our very souls , as naive as it may seem, have done and continue to do so for as long as we can simply because we know that it has made a small difference and that leaving it to its fate, will most certainly seal its fate… as hard and as thankless as it may be, we are keeping a small seed of hope alive in the genuine belief that even the smallest roots can consolidate, spread, stop erosion and establish even the smallest of islands around which rehabilitation can be inspired… We are tired, we are near worn out, but for the difference it can and will make ‘Alluta Continua’…
Hanging is too good for these sub humans.
Such a relief that you and your family are safe! I think the Zimbos have forgotten that the animals were there long before they arrived on the scene. Keep up your good work, but stay safe and aware!
Please approach avaaz definately and expose the CIO. Thank you for all your work. Are you in contact with SA National Parks wrt Kruger and Moz poaching?
Rory thank you for everything you did. …I believe that some of the men you trained and worked with are not corrupt, just afraid, and I hope your legacy of anti-poaching continues to endure in our country, under cover until it can rise to the light again.
It saddens me deeply to read of how the country of my birth is being destroyed in all aspects. People like Rory have my utmost admiration and I sincerely wish I was in a position to assist his cause. Go well Rory.
I just dont understand how this can still be happening, when are we just going to go in, and get rid of Mugabe and his cronies, and please god take his wife out to…i cant bear reading this…
Impossible to read first two paragraphs. Advertising stuck on top.
I will be forwarding this to Avaaz as well. Its time that the Mugabi regime ends, abruptly!
While I applaud Rory and other NGO workers, as another Zimbo who refuses to leave, I know many folk like Gordo still working quietly behind the scenes and trusting God that their small efforts will ultimately bear fruit once the madness here ends. They are the true heroes of Zimbabwe wildlife preservation and have also been persecuted for their stance..
We were just down in Livingstone and met a bloke doing the same sort of thing as you. We saw no elephants on the Zambia side and he said it was because Mugabe cronies had taken 50 calves from their mothers to sell to china. So sad, but glad you are out of Zim
It has been obvious to me for years that our governments in Africa have sold their souls (So to speak) to China in exchange for huge “donations “. Nothing will ever help to save our beautiful animals as long as China has a foothold and what is to stop them? Sadly, nothing! 🙁
I admire your strength and commitment in keeping hope alive.
I remember Mana Pools well. I worked for Water Development out of Salisbury and did quite a lot of work in the Zambezi valley. Mana was a fantastic place and MOWD was responsible for the water supply which seemed to require very frequent maintenance visits.
Unfortunately I wasn’t surprised to read your story. How frustrating it is to see the Zim everyone knew and loved become the place it is. No law, greedy selfish and arrogant lowlife scum running the country. They have no respect for human life let alone wildlife. It will make us all sad forever for what has become of the land and country we loved. Zimbabwe’s wildlife can’t fight for themselves just as its people can’t. How can one pathetic man and his party have achieved all of this I will never understand. Why there isn’t someone or some body of people that can’t stop people like this is something else I can’t understand. So many thousands of people have had to leave their homeland, so many families separated, friends parted, some with barely any money, some lost everything. It’s devastating but yet continues everyday. Well done on all that you have done and continue to do, even though no longer in Zim, to help our beautiful wildlife. Hope you and your family remain safe.