There is good news indeed this month on that mountain of trophies stranded in Tanzania by the failure of David van der Meulen's company there. Thanks to the forceful intervention of Safari Club International, the trophies have been officially released by the government. At press time, Dieter Ochsenbein of Highveld Taxidermists in Pretoria, who has been working with SCI on the release of the trophies, said the first shipment of 10 clients' trophies was already crated and scheduled for shipment to South Africa on September 6. The only remaining stumbling block apparently is the failure of many clients to send Ochsenbein the $900 needed to get trophies released from USA River Taxidermists in Arusha, plus $400 for various freight charges. USA River Taxidermists packed and dipped all of van der Meulen's trophies but never received any of the money clients paid for this service. So far, Ochsenbein says, only 25 of the 46 clients involved have sent him the funds he needs to get the trophies out. This has forced cancellation of his original plan to charter a plane and ship all the trophies together to South Africa. The evolving plan is to ship clients' trophies any way they want, bypassing South Africa if that is what they prefer.
"Just be sure you tell your readers that the $400 I originally asked for was to cover airport and handling charges in Tanzania, plus freight to South Africa, where onward shipment is cheaper. There are still going to be international freight charges on these trophies." Ochsenbein says most of the US clients involved in van der Meulen's debacle in Tanzania have forwarded him the necessary funds. It is mostly Europeans who have not yet paid.
One of the great mysteries in all this is - where are the funds international clients sent to van der Meulen for packing and dipping the trophies? Why should clients have to re-pay this? And, while we are at it, where are all the funds paid to van der Meulen for safaris to Tanzania this year and beyond? There is so much money involved (some........(continued)