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Newsletter December 2012

Posted 17 January 2011

DAGABOYS NEWSLETTER – DECEMBER 2010.

After having it so good for so many years it was inevitable some where down the line that incoming news would dwindle; the regular incoming flow of updates and goings on has really fallen off - I will therefore just “waffle where necessary” to fill space!
In this Newsletter:

• In Remembrance
• Dagaboys News
• Australian Visit
• New Email Address details
• Whereabouts unknown
• New Books on the Shelf
• Department Book and update
• Conservation Issues
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In Remembrance
Dick Nash
Dick passed away suddenly in the early evening on September the 4th, the night before he had been at the “Rubbing Post” (equivalent to the .470 – Pete Thomson) and having a couple of beers with old colleagues. The news certainly came as a shock to everyone.
Dick joined the Department in July 1964 and resigned in October’69 to take up a post with the then Natal Parks Board. In 1999, some thirty years later Dick retired from the Board and in 2005, during his well earned retirement, Dick published his memoirs in a well written and delightful book “I Remember When” from which I quote “Were I to live my life over again. I would choose the same family, I would choose the same profession and I would choose the same organisations”
Our condolences and deepest sympathies go to Sandy, Kim and Tanya.
________________________________

Dagaboys News
1. South Africa
Paul Coetsee left Kapana two or three months back and is once again in Polokwane (Pietersburg.) There are old people and old people – Paul even at the age of seventy wasn’t an “old man” he was fit and walked kilometre after kilometre each day with his beloved elephant. With Paul’s intimate knowledge of the ways and habits of elephant there was a remarkable bond between Paul and the group, I was privileged to see this - some people just don’t know when they are on to a good thing – the well being of people and animals sacrificed to suit modern economic ideology and thinking!

Jan Wiltshire
Still in Eshowe – “I am much the same as always; happy, contented and publishing a Community magazine which I started from scratch. Very hard work canvassing for ads, printing, producing etc but enjoying it. Only done 2 issues but working on Dec and Jan issues now.”

Pete Thomson
A short and succinct note dated the 12th of November reads - “I am much involved at the moment in getting Game Rangers Association members involved in consultancy work for conservation outside the formal Protected Area network. American dollar funding and potentially exciting work.”

Dave Blake
With the kind assistance of Jackie Horner I have been able to keep in touch with Dave and Jill; Dave has his ups and downs like most of us who’ve had a blip or two with our hearts.
A while back I wrote to a couple of chaps concerning the “mountains” of raw data Dave has on crocodiles, it’s all original and his own. The question is - What’s going to be done with all this? When Dave goes so does the information – WHAT A WASTE! Does anyone know of someone suitable to go through Dave’s work and write it up?
Dave’s telephone number is (SA) 039 976 1708.

Dougal and Jill MacTavish
Dougal celebrated his 70th on the 11th of December – I was unable to attend but John and Tara White flew down from Harare for the bash in the bush. Well done Dougal – we raise a glass to you.

Colin Welensky
Do not have much to report except that I am mending a broken leg; happened on the 19th August in a car accident here in South Africa.
Another vehicle overtook a truck carrying sugar cane on a double white line and blind rise. Common for this country it seems. I was a passenger and got the brunt of it. The dash board ended up against my right knee and shattered my leg 6 inches below my hip. Both my ankles were lacerated and the knee is pretty bad. All in all I have been on the mend getting around on crutches. Never thought I would have to learn to walk again. The break is a bad one; go for more X-Rays next week to see if the bone has knitted if I can put pressure on it.
(I am sure everyone joins me in wishing Colin is speedy recovery – Mike B)

Graham Child
Congratulations to Graham and Diana who celebrated their Golding Wedding Anniversary earlier this year in Natal. During their sojourn in the Province they spent an afternoon with Phil and Betty Evans.

2. United Kingdom
Tom Everett
26th November: “Not much news from Mud Island. The weather is still very unpredictable and not much of a summer was enjoyed. As I write, much of the UK has had the earliest significant falls of snow for nearly 20 years. Here in the Midlands we haven’t had a flake so far – wonder what we did right?” ( I don’t know Tom but are you sure you and your buddies did something right – Tom’s note was dated a week or so before the recent cold snap, snow and blizzard-like conditions swept across the UK and Europe!)
“My archery has been slow this year with various activities, weather and doctors getting in the way. Since becoming a Level 1 Coach I have managed to spend more time coaching then shooting. Having crossed over to using a compound bow (As they say in the archery world here I have crossed over to the dark side) I am finding the experience of this discipline very rewarding and exciting.”

Jon Hutton
Jon recently sent me the following piece, entitled “Chivero Croc Attacks on The Increase”
“Eight subsistence anglers, thought to be poachers, have been killed by crocodiles at Harare’s Lake Chivero in recent weeks, while a ninth person was attacked and seriously injured.
Most of the dead are believed to have been residents of Porta Farm, which is along the Harare-Bulawayo road, while others are from the Norton area
Poachers are often seen selling fresh fish along the highway and some move door to door selling their catch.
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the attacks, saying the victims included both men and women.
“These people did not have licenses that gave them permission to fish in the lake. In the past two week we have had eight people attacked and killed by crocodiles and all but two bodies recovered. These people included both men and women and all of them were poachers. Their colleagues have not been deterred as they keep returning to the same site.” She said – “Although lake Chivero has many crocodiles, there is one which is believed to be behind most of the attacks.
She said the authority was worried by the frequency of the attacks, adding they were making efforts to minimize such incidents.
“We are appealing to the public countrywide to acquire their licenses for fishing. If they have expired (the licenses) they should have them renewed. This is the only way they can operate safely.”
Ms Washaya-Moyo said the authority has also stepped up patrols in the lake area to arrest people fishing illegally.
“If anyone breaks the set laws and regulations, we will not hesitate to arrest them.”
(Magazine or Periodical editor’s note “So there you have it folks: If you wish to avoid being attacked by a man-eating saurian (and who doesn’t) It would be wise to purchase a fishing licence from National Parks. While fishing, the licence should be attached to your chest or other prominent part of your anatomy: But please continue to exercise a sensible degree of caution: It is quite possible that some of these monsters are short sighted or even illiterate. Good Luck – Editor)

3. Canada
Pete Guy
Is also returning to the frozen waste lands of the north – “I am about to leave for the frigid north where the temp, when I left, was minus 32 and winter has just started.”

4. USA
Deryk and Joan Langman
“All is quiet on the home front - except the car insurance people have got the lip with us. Peter has pranged the kid’s car and not to be outdone Colleen pranged the replacement a matter of months later. Fortunately the trauma has not stopped either of them from giving us ‘ou toppies’ advice whilst we drive them about in "mom’s taxi"
We have visited a few more national and state parks during summer plus taken a jaunt down to Key West and are now qualified to sing "Margarita-ville" Sadly we didn't see the little deer - so will have to go back. It’s an interesting area so that will be no hardship.”

5. New Zealand
Diary entries from Rob and Ann Murray
September 4th, Christchurch had the massive earthquake, which miraculously did not claim any lives, but it did do a lot of damage and they are still experiencing aftershocks. They had over 2000 shocks in the short period after the first quake. I think I would have left town. It was felt over the whole of South Island and half way up North Island. Many folks over there have lost their homes. It was almost like a warning to all to get prepared for the big one. Hope we are not here when that comes.
21st November we submitted our application for our citizenship and we now wait to hear. I cannot see any reason for them to deny it to us, but we wait. Hopefully this will not take too long, we long to feel that we do belong somewhere again. Rob will then apply for his Kiwi passport which will then enable us to travel together again.

6. Zimbabwe
Glenn Tatham.
From Carole Pearce, Glenn’s sister – Glenn underwent back surgery on the 9th of November in the Avenues Clinic. On the 17th he was out and recuperating with family in Highlands. By now (10th December) I am sure he will be back in Zambia; I await a reply to my email of the 30th. The surgeon is happy with the operation but cautions Glenn that he will have to take things very slowly.

Tore and Smithy Balance
I was most surprised to receive an email from Smithy and learn Tore was holding an exhibition at the Richard Rennie Art Gallery in Harare on the 11th of last month. The information was circulated locally; Di Hull came back to me to say she had visited the exhibition and noted it was really good. Well Done Tore (see attachment)

John Smith Wright
Tom Everett put me in touch with another of our lost colleagues. John joined the Department as Curator Euranrigg in May’80 and resigned in Apr’85. He now works at Malilangwe and has Norman and Nyasha Monks as neighbours.
John writes “To rewind the clock a bit……After Ewanrigg we joined Smithy and Tore in Swaziland. They came back here (Zimbabwe). We were there from 1985 to 1991 in forestry. From there Betty and I went over to live in Cyprus for two years which I enjoyed but she hated. She missed Africa and the bush too much so kept herself sane by painting botanical drawings which she donated to the Cyprus herbarium when we left. Then back to Swaziland for a year, and then home to Zim. This time to work for the Wattle Company based in Chipinge/Chimanimani living on an estate for about 12 years. I loved being on my own up there – was the Divisional Manager with all 10 estates and the Silverstreams factory under me, so was left alone and only had to go to Mutare once a month for Exec meeting.” - Very sadly John lost Betty his wife some three years ago.
On Malilangwe John notes – “it’s never dull and no day is the same as any other, I just love it here.”

Mark Brightman
The ingenuity of poachers – Mark notes three poachers were arrested last month (November) in the Save Conservancy with a ‘modified’ pellet gun; they had removed the barrel and replaced it with one to chamber a .300 or .303 calibre round.
On the same incident Norman English at Towla notes – “Evidently they had a go at a rhino, fired twice but missed on both occasions – the mind boggles at the thought of it!”
___________________________

Australian Visit:
August saw me in Australia and on the east coast for some four weeks. During my stay I managed to spend a few days with Dave and Erica Scammell in Bunderburg where I also saw Bob and Jenny Thomson. I managed to speak to Rob and Ann Murray and Chris Pullen both are in New Zealand, Roy Killick (HO Staff Department) and Anne Moore (CBO) in Perth, and Peter Shore (Management Unit) who now lives in Tawoomba. Last but certainly not least I spent a lot of time with Geoff Higgs an Honorary Officer from the lowveld.
I must apologise for not contacting the Hans and Val van der Heiden together with Kit and Vix Hustler in New Zealand and Clare Davies (Tawoomba? Sorry chaps, no real excuse I should have gone through my address book earlier and a lot more thoroughly.
Every one with who I got in touch with sends their best wishes, greetings and salaams.
Briefly – Dave and Erica live in a charming, quiet and out of the way suburb of Bunderburg, they share their ‘estate’ with five possums - three live/nest in the garage roller door (I’m not quite sure how) and the other two in nests in the garden. Dave still has his diaries and other records from the day he joined the department – I collected a substantial amount of information whilst with him.
Bob and Jenny Thomson live in a cottage within a fairly large retirement village on the coast – they have swans and other aquatic birds on the waterway in front of their house. As I recall Bob should now be on long leave pending retirement in either May or June– the Queensland Government has a rather interesting scheme –one can double ones leave by opting for half pay during the period in question!
Geoff and Jenny Higgs live in Buderim on the Sun Shine Coast. Although running their own business from home they were exceptionally hospitable. Geoff has mounds and mounds of old records, news paper cuttings, magazine articles and photographs; being an ex District Commissioner everything is filed and stored away correctly – almost a mini archive! With my quest for everything under the sun, their once orderly garage cum store room was turned upside down – Thank you for going to all the trouble you did, you were certainly of great assistance, thank you
. Rob and Ann Murray – still dairy farming on south Island; in a couple of years they hope to move to West Australia. Rob sent me fifty odd pages of info plus three CD’s of photographs - you certainly did me proud.
Chris Pullen is still in conservation; once I managed to get hold of him we had a long chat.
Peter Shore was also very helpful and, like the Murrays sent me a couple of CDs with management photos. Even though Peter has been in Australia for a few years now I still think he is battling to settle down – it is certainly a different way of life.
Roy and Nita Killick – Roy is exceptionally content; his only regret since taking retirement is that he went to the UK and then onto to Aus; he ‘reckons’ he should have skipped the UK!
Anne and Robin Moore seem happily settled.
Its twenty four years since my last visit so obviously a lot has changed; it’s certainly a very different way of life to what we’re used to here and in South Africa – no walls, palisades, security fencing with razor wire or ‘electric toppings’ – just open plan with gardens and lawn running to the edge of road, that was something I really enjoyed. With green belts scattered about the bird life is good too.
The Fish and the sea food was something else – most folks here rave about the Mozambique prawns, to be frank I do enjoy them but in comparison to the prawns on the east coast of Australia they’re pretty second grade!
Very first world – good roads, clean, everything seems to work. There are a lot of rules and regulations which work for the Aussies (and after all it is their country) but many seem petty to me! A great place for a holiday but I don’t think I could live there!
_________________________

New Email Address details
Kit Hustler - kitvix@orcon.net.nz
Barrie and Bertie Duckworth - bertie@morore.com
Kathleen Stokes - kathkeens@compassnet.co.nz
Jon Hutton - jon.Hutton@unep-wcmc.org
__________________________

Whereabouts unknown
The list remains unchanged from July:

Richard Smith (Research) - procap@tiscali.co.za (??)
Nick Drew - No address or contact details
Sharon Fulton - Sharonfulton@dynabyte.bw (??)
Harry Hayden-Payne - In Ethiopia – email address unknown
Ian Riddle - gemsaf@mango.zw (??)
Phil Palmer - Zimbabwe? – Email address unknown
Richard Clough - Grand Cayman – email address unknown
Mike Bunce - Victoria Falls–email address unknown
Chris Owen - No address or contact details
Seb Audin - UK – email address unknown
Andy Cousins - Perth / West Australia (?) – Email Address unknown
______________________


New Books on the Shelf

River of Remembrance – Dale Kenmuir – ISBN No not known.
Published by Sable Publishing House – www.Sable-publishing-House.com
PURCHASE ON LINE -
If anyone prefers to order from a company such as Amazon, WHSmith, or Blackwells, appropriate links at the SPH site will connect them to their choice of supplier

From Sable Publishing - “A timely and thrilling tale set in Southern Africa, written by an African-born author who lived through the region’s recent history. The story begins in the picturesque fishing harbour of Kalk Bay on the rail line from Cape Town, moves to the thundering surrounds of the Victoria Falls then elevates to a stunning climax on the wild shores and waters of Lake Kariba.”
“The story unfolds against the stunning vistas and wildlife of Southern Africa * Gripping and thrilling throughout * A genuine "can't stop" read * Topical and realistic * An array of interesting characters * Easy, flowing writing style * Humorous * Informative * Provides insight into the thoughts and minds of those who suffered the change inflicted on Rhodesia.”

God Created Man the Hunter – Ron Thomson – ISBN No 978-0-620-44206 Published Magron Printers
The first of a series of several books on hunting.

From Dale Kenmuir:
I still have copies of two of my Tom Finnaughty series - The Tusks and the Talisman and Sing of Black Gold - which feature game ranger Tom Finnaughty and his adventures in the Zambezi Valley/Lake Kariba area, and which books are aimed at older teens/adults. Both received excellent reviews, and are available at R65.00 (this price includes packaging and postage, which alone comes to almost R30) and of which R10 for very book sold will be donated to struggling ex-Rhodesians via the local branch of the Flame Lily Foundation (Lewis Walter, an ex DC, and Skatie & Avril Fourie, who work hard to help these unfortunate people left stranded in this part of the world). Orders and cheques/postal orders can be sent to Box 22501, Fish Hoek, 7974; payment - indicating a clear payee reference - can be made directly into the following bank account:

Bank: ABSA
Branch: Fish Hoek Town Square
Branch Code: 63 2005
Acct No: 9168000212
Acct Name: Kenmuir, DHS
__________________________

Department Book – Update

For the last few months I have hopped about from chapter to chapter and topic to topic.
I have broken the back or believe so on the anecdotes and stories, about five or so chapters now complete. Quite a few more humorous accounts and other interesting snippets have come in recently which will be attended to shortly.
Have also more of less tied up the ‘Calendar of Events’ - one of the appendices which will be a historical reference point.
I have decided that the end of March 2011 (which is a mere three and a half months down the line) will be the cut-off point for the gathering of information. I initially intended to call time out at the end of the year but as I have to visit SA at the end of January I have extended the date. It is a decision that has had to be made but on saying that if something of exceptional interest comes my way after that date I will consider using it and the same applies to photographs.
I have just sent out an email with regards to the cut off date, with one last appeal for input.
__________________________
Conservation Issues
? Rhino Poaching.
? Incidents involving dangerous game
? Restaurant and bar in the Rain Forest
? Coal mining in Hwange National Park

Rhino Poaching – the spotlight is off Zimbabwe and firmly focused on South Africa at the moment. At least nine rhino have been shot this year in the Save Conservancy and one on the Bubye Valley Conservancy (Lemco). Figures relating to poaching statistics in National Parks are not known; I did hear one white rhino was shot at Nyamandhlovu Pan in the middle/late afternoon fairly recently, poachers tracks followed to Dett!
The South African scene is mind boggling despite the fact that Dawie Groenewald, two Vets, a couple of professional hunters and other hangers on (wives) were arrested a few months back and allowed bail – Groenewald’s was set at a million rand! One of those implicated committed suicide recently - he was accused of selling thirty six rhino horns to the Groenewalds! The trial of the twelve or so ‘king pins’ is scheduled for either March or April this coming year which brings me onto the subject of evidence in aggravation.
There is absolutely no doubt that those accused will be seeking highly qualified attorneys or barristers to defend them. I don’t doubt the “Hawks” or specialised crime unit have a good case, but will their witnesses be able to stand up to the rigorous cross examination of the defence councils? I believe it is necessary for the various wildlife agencies, authorities, conservancies and game ranchers, or at the very least the state and provincial authorities, to join forces and obtain high powered legal representation to prepare and submit evidence in aggravation for the prosecution and aggrieved parties.
With magistrates setting bail at ridiculously low amounts - R5000, above and below (?) the courts are sending out the wrong messages – it’s almost condoning rhino poaching! The illegal hunting of an endangered species is not viewed with any real concern. The success of this case is paramount – it will set the tone for the others

Incidents involving dangerous game – Over the past few months there have been no fewer than four incidents involving dangerous game, of these three were fatal.
Steve Kok was killed by a buffalo in the Charara Area, exact date of incident unknown.
On the 6th of September Geoff Blyth, a Kariba resident, cycling along the ‘power line’ was very fortunate to escape with his life when he was tusked by an elephant cow; from all accounts the ‘attack” was unprovoked.
On the 13th of October there was a similar but fatal incident in Matusadona when a South African tourist was killed by an elephant.
Pete Evershed was mauled and killed by a lion on the 30th of November at Chitake Camp 2 in Mana Pools. Reports indicate he was taking a shower at the time.

Restaurant and bar in the Rain Forest – a 120-seater restaurant, bar and merchandise shop has been established in the Rain Forest; this is contrary to the rules and regulations pertaining to World Heritage Sites!

Coal mining in Hwange National Park – prospecting roads and mining activities now extend into the Bumboozi area of the National Park. Mining is also being carried out on the Sinamatella access road.

In Closing
Little remains to be said other than to wish every one a Happy, Peaceful, and Blessed Christmas and everything of the best for 2011.

Mike Bromwich



To let you all know Bruce’s (Couper) Memorial Service will be held on Friday the 21st of August 2009 at the Meerhof Chapel in Meerhof, Hartbeespoort, starting at 11:00.
Bruce has requested to be cremated and his ashes will scattered at Lethaba in the Kruger National Park on Saturday.
I know it’s fairly short notice but please make every effort to attend, it would mean a great deal to Paula and the family, they need all the support we can give.
With Kind Regards
Mike

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