E-mail Extra subscribers will remember a bulletin I sent out on January 8th regarding a 100-plus-pound jumbo taken in Mozambique this past October. The elephant was taken by a German client with PH Peter Wood, guiding for Guy Whittall of Roger Whittall Safaris. The bulletin included a photograph of the spectacular ivory. You can see it on our homepage where we post bulletins 24 hours after E-mail Extra subscribers receive them. At the time, we reported that the ivory had not been officially weighed yet, due to a lack of accurate scales that would accommodate tusks of this size, and we promised a complete follow-up report on the hunt. Well, I have now learned why the exact weight remains unknown. Seems the tusks were confiscated by wildlife officials because the animal was taken illegally.
According to Department of Tourism officials I spoke with over the phone, there was no elephant quota or permits issued where the elephant was taken. Not only was there no quota for the specific concession, but the entire region. Officials say the elephant was originally shot in the Nungo concession. The animal crossed over into a neighboring concession where the hunters followed it and finished it off, according to the official report. Upon hearing that an elephant had been killed in the area, officials were dispatched to the camp where they seized the ivory. At this writing the tusks were at the Lichinga tourism offices. The investigation had not been closed yet, but officials told me that was only because three agencies were involved and each was determining the fines and other sanctions that would be leveled and exactly who would be held responsible. Speculation is that Peter Wood did not know there was no quota and was merely following the boss’ orders. Whittall, however, had to know they could not get permits. He had not returned any of my e-mails at press time.
Besides the obvious legal matters and question of ethical conduct, what makes this incident all the worse is that Mozambique has a reputation for not being able to curtail poaching and illegal sport hunting, which is why the US Fish & Wildlife Service will not allow the importation of ivory from Mozam-bique. This latest stunt only puts the elephant hunting program there at further risk, which may explain why the authorities I spoke with were so keen on making an example of everyone involved….
Still in Mozambique, subscriber Howard Kroeker contacted me about a new concession that has opened to hunting there. It’s called the Sabie Game Management Area and is located on the border of Mozambique and South Africa. Sabie shares a 40-kilometer boundary with Kruger National Park, which is fenced. The southern and northern boundaries, however, are created by Lake Carrumane and the Massintoto River respectively, which are completely open. For seven years, the 65,000-acre area was a dedicated conservation area offering photographic safaris. That did not prove productive, and the title owners decided to open the area to sport hunting.
A unique feature of the Sabie is that there are no human populations within the area’s boundaries. Seems the title owners had worked out an agreement with the local people seven years ago, moving them outside of the Sabie in exchange for access to the Sabie’s water sources for their cattle. So, there is some movement of livestock around the rivers and the lake on the boundaries of the area. Also part of the agreement is that a portion of the fees and all meat goes to the communities.....