I’m writing to you with some amazing news. With the help of your support, we have a major success to report. Thanks to a concerted effort by many individuals and groups, both internationally and in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe/North Korea animal deal has been called off.
The deal involved capturing a number of wild animals in Zimbabwe, including two juvenile elephants, and shipping them to a zoo in North Korea. Our sincere thanks goes out to all of you for adding your names to the weight of opposition against what would have been a disastrous deal for Zimbabwe’s wildlife.
The Zimbabwean authorities have indicated to us that this deal was genuinely intended to raise urgently needed funds for habitat conservation, in particular cutting fire-breaks in Hwange National Park, from where most of the animals have been captured. Furthermore, they have told us that they do not intend to undertake another capture of this nature. However, we do not yet have this Statement of Reassurance in writing – it is something we are trying to secure.
But what has happened to the captured animals? The priority was to immediately release the majority back into the wild. This began last week and the Tikki Hywood Trust has been coordinating the release. The giraffe and zebra have been taken to a private Game Park, within Zimbabwe.
It is not advisable to return the two juvenile elephants back to the wild immediately, as this is unlikely to be successful. Instead they will be integrated into a herd of other rescued elephants of all ages, at Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust - with the intention of returning them to the wild when they are fully integrated and ready to survive independently. This may take two years or more and we urgently need to raise funds for this vital project.
As you can imagine, releasing/caring for all these animals carries a significant cost and we hope you will all be able to help. We need to raise a total of £18,000:
· £2,000: to fund the immediate release of most of the wild-caught animals
· £16,000: to fund two years care for the two young elephants (£4,000 per annum per elephant)
Furthermore, although the cancellation of this deal was in no way dependent upon us raising funds for the fire-breaks, we have also indicated our willingness, subject to the Statement of Reassurance mentioned above, to support National Parks on this specific issue – as many thousands of wild animals could be affected by devastating fires in Hwange if these fire-breaks are not maintained.
We would like to raise an additional £16,500 towards this.
In these difficult economic times every penny, cent and shilling is precious. However, what an incredible and groundbreaking project to support! We appreciate you all digging deep to help us as much as possible.
One generous individual, in Zimbabwe, has already stepped in with £660 and Born Free has committed £1300, to cover the immediate release of most of the animals.
If you could each donate something then we would make huge progress.
To find out more please contact Shelley Waterland, Born Free’s Programmes Manager - firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks in advance for your continued support.
CEO Born Free Foundation
Tikki Hywood Trust