Tuesday, 12 August 2014

John Gledhill | The Last Elephant DSWT Fundraiser



The Last Elephant, 150 x 180 cms by John Gledhill (Image used with permission)


Heart Land's venture to showcase 'Artists With Heart' welcomes British master artist, John Gledhill. His series of poignant works titled "Extinction Series" is benefiting David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

John studied at the Royal Academy Schools London where he graduated with a Masters in painting and won the first prize, a silver medal for life painting. He was artist in residence at York University where he also studied for his Doctorate in art history which has resulted in the publication of the book Matthew Smith ‘A Catalogue Raisonne of the Oil Paintings' 2009. His mediums are linocuts, paintings and drawings.

50% of the sale from all John's animal images are donated to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). During "The Last Elephant" campaign (until 18th August 14) he also has a selection of prints for sale in support of DSWT on the website.

See John's 'Extinction Series' paintings
and bid for the 'The Last Elephant'

Saturday, 7 June 2014

MEDIA RELEASE 7 JUNE 14 | PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANTS





MEDIA RELEASE: 7 June 2014
By Kenesias Dambakurima, 
in collaboration with March for Elephants and For Elephants Int. 

__________FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE___________

Hundreds of concerned Zimbabwe citizens hand over 8000 signatures to Minister Mombeshora’s office to save the Presidential Elephant Herd.

On Thursday 5th June 2014, Kenesias Dambakurima of Chiwundura Constituency, Zimbabwe and thousands of supporters, called on the Ministers for Land and Resettlement and Tourism to immediately evict the occupiers of the Presidential Elephant game-drive land known as State Land Kanondo, adjacent to Hwange National Park Main Camp. 

Mr Damakurima, flanked by a 30 strong contingent from the hundreds waiting outside the offices, presented the ‘Save the Presidential Elephants Now’ petition which has been signed by thousands of Zimbabweans, including many in person in Harare and over 6000 internationals. The petition calls on the Minister of Lands and Resettlement, The Minister of Tourism, The Minister of the Environment, the Cabinet and Politburo to enforce the Cabinet Directive of 3rd December 2013. The petition requests that the illegal occupier of the land, Ms Elisabeth Freeman (also known as Pasalk) be evicted as per the Cabinet's orders and the land reopened for tourism operators and the conservation project she banned. The area, adjacent to the Hwange National Park Main Camp is renown for the President’s own flagship elephant herd, which became known as the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe following a 1990 Presidential Decree, that was reaffirmed in 2011.

The Lands and Resettlement Minister, the Hon Douglas Mombeshora issued a public invitation in an article in The Zimbabwe Herald on 16 May to the conservation advocates to meet in person to put their concerns to him directly. Time constraints, for the advocates and supporters, in negotiating the handover of the petition made it impossible to secure a meeting in person. Attempts to meet with the Permanent Secretary in his stead were ultimately unsuccessful. The Permanent Secretary, Ms Mutwira, had initially informed the group that she would receive the petition in the Minster's stead, but at the time of handover sent a staff member, Mrs V. Nyamayaro, to accept the petition. As Mrs V. Nyamayaro was not a high level official she was unable to comment for the media or to the group presenting the petition. 

Mr Dambakurima stated “Of course all of us who attended the Minister's office and our 8000 plus supporters are very disappointed that despite our best efforts to engage directly with the Minister or his Permanent Secretary we were unable to do so. We have on record the signature of receipt that the petition was delivered to the Minster's Office; there is no excuse now that the Ministers and Cabinet have not been formally informed of our concerns. We have done our level best to put this issue squarely in front of the responsible Ministers.”  He went on to say “We will continue to agitate for the Politburo and Cabinet to do the right thing and enforce their own 3rd December Cabinet Directive. We do this for the on going well-being of the Presidential Elephant Herd, equity in the tourism industry for the good of the general tourist who comes to enjoy these elephants on game-drives and to ensure this prime land and until now, safe, elephant habitat is not compromised by links to political heavyweights and known unethical hunting ties."

Ms Freeman is the daughter of the late politician Isabel Shanangurai Madangure. Ms Freeman's brother is a hunter from the nearby Matetsi sport-hunting area known to have hunted without a quota.  There are ongoing fears of this claimant bringing underhanded and unethical hunting activities into this important land area, heightened by her demand that this area now be closed off to others.

“It is of deep concern that Ms Freeman has stopped the formal monitoring, recording and patrol efforts of a conservationist who had been dedicated to this work for the past 13 years. The authorities must ensure that all Presidential Elephant areas are open to this important work, which is crucial to knowing the ongoing status of this flagship herd across all land areas.” Damakurima reiterated.

Earlier reports of Ms Freeman’s connection to hunting operations, her building of a lodge (which she has called Gwango Elephant Lodge) and advertising long stay safaris all fuel the concern that this was to be no ordinary photographic safari operation. A tourism operator, who wished to remain anonymous, said “We have been bringing clients to this area for years, now these illegal boundaries are in place and we cannot access prime waterholes. Our clients, from South Africa, Zimbabwe and foreign visitors, have spent thousands of dollars to visit our lodges precisely because of where they are located. They are disappointed that we cannot take them into the prime area – it reflects so badly on Zimbabwe’s tourism sector to have one individual with political connections lock up land like this.”

Responding to the charge that Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is being harmed by advocates who speak out about the occupation of the land and voicing concerns about the safety of the herd, Mr Dambakurima, stated "We want tourism to be fair and sustainable for the operators and the animals in Zimbabwe. If the Ministers give a directive about the lands that are used for tourism, and are important to the conservation efforts of a flagship herd, then the occupiers must listen to that directive and vacate and the Ministers must enforce it. We have not gone public on this to generate bad publicity - we have done this to create the best outcome for the elephants, tourism operators and wildlife conservation efforts in Zimbabwe. It is not us that has caused this situation it is the Ministers and Cabinet for not following through on their own orders. When one woman can lock up prime land for a personal business when the area was already flourishing – that is bad for Zimbabwe Tourism and the perception of Zimbabwe as a whole towards its wildlife, and especially towards its flagship herd of elephants."
______________________________________________

CONTACT FOR COMMENT
CELL PHONE: Kenesias Dambakurina on:  +27833 579 901
EMAIL:  kennydamba [at] gmail.com





Tuesday, 20 May 2014

MEDIA RELEASE | PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANTS




MEDIA RELEASE: 19 MAY 2014
by Kenesias Dambakurima, in collaboration with March for Elephants and For Elephants Int.

__________FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE___________


Government aligned media outlet questions Ministers on Presidential Elephants Fiasco...

On May 16th The Herald, a media outlet favoured by the Government in Zimbabwe published a news story, 'Conservationists launch Presidential Elephants petition' speaking to the petition 'Save the Presidential Elephants Now' raised by Kenesias Dambakurima of Chiwundura Constituency, Zimbabwe, March for Elephants and For Elephants International, calling on the Ministers for Land and Tourism to immediately evict the occupiers of the land known as Kanondo adjacent to Hwange National Park Main Camp.

Despite both Ministers, Hon Douglas Mombeshora who is the Minister for Lands and Rural Resettlement and the Hon Walter Mzembi, the Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Industry, being members of the Cabinet, and party to the Cabinet Decision of 3 December 2013 which revoked the Letter of Offer of the land to Elisabeth Freeman, Mr Mbezi has chosen to state publicly that this is a Politburo matter. The Cabinet Ministers; including the Hon Saviour Kasukuwere, who is Minister of Environment and Wildlife, and is also named in the petition, are also members of the Politburo. This begs the questions if the Ministers will enforce their own directive? Could it be that the occupiers of the land are well connected and therefore being granted favour despite what is essentially a binding notice of eviction by the issuance of the Cabinet Directive of 3 December 2013? In the Herald article the Ministers appeared to play politics by passing the buck from one to the other, ultimately saying that the Politburo must make the decision.

Ms Freeman, the occupier of the land, is also known as Elisabeth Pasalk. Ms Freeman is the daughter of the late politician Isabel Shanangurai Madangure. Ms Freeman is the sister of a hunter from the nearby Matetsi sport-hunting area.  There are ongoing fears of this claimant bringing underhanded and unethical hunting activities into this important land areaheightened by her demand that this area now be closed off to others.

In the article in the Herald, Minister Mombeshora invited the conservationists and concerned citizens to "come in person and tell us or write to me or the permanent secretary.” The petition letter is being prepared with the current 3700+ signatures gathered to date to be presented by fax and post to the Ministers, the Cabinet and the Politburo, so there can be no doubt that the matter has been formally raised with the responsible parties. The conservationists will appeal to the Ministers for a formal meeting in person with the relevant officials to discuss the issue.

Kenesias Dambakurima, the initiator of the petition, stated "We have the Ministers attention, we will submit the petition and letter to the Ministers as invited." He said "We are hopeful the Ministers will fulfil their duty and the legal requirements of the Cabinet Directive forthwith". 

Damakurima went on to say "This article in the Herald has put our concerns about the wellbeing of the Presidential Elephants front and centre. Their safety and that of their land areas is our primary concern, the elephant's range within the Kanondo area has been a major draw card for tourists who access this land on game-drives from several well established safari lodge operators. The presence of these tourists help to ensure the elephant's safety. Tourism operators who have had access to the land, and the Presidential Elephants Conservation Project are currently denied access, the land is occupied in contravention of a Cabinet Directive."

“It is of deep concern that Ms Freeman has stopped the formal monitoring, recording and patrol efforts of a conservationist who had been dedicated to this work for the past 13 years. The authorities must ensure that all Presidential Elephant areas are open to this important work, which is crucial to knowing the ongoing status of this flagship herd across all land areas.” Damakurima said.

Please sign the Petition
*Save the Presidential Elephants Now

Background Reading
Presidential Elephants Conservation project | Zimbabwe

Conservationists launch Presidential Elephants petition
16 May 2014 The Herald (A Govt. Media Outlet) www.herald.co.zw

The Fate of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe—A Conversation With Sharon Pincott
12 May 2014 National Geographic newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

Questions raised over ownership of Zimbabwe’s Kanondo
23 April 2014. South African Tourism Update. www.tourismupdate.co.za
Read also the numerous comments on this post.

Hunting of Zim Presidential Elephants Reportedly Begins

Elephant Activist Calls It A Day
13 April 14 www.thezimbawean.co

An earlier Action post by For Elephant's International with details from the Presidential Elephant Conservation project here:
ZIMBABWE PRESIDENTIAL HERD UNDER THREAT

______End of article_______

Not for publication (NFP)
CONTACT
Contact: Kenesias on: +27833 579 901
EMAIL:  kennydamba [at] gmail.com

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

ACTION | SAVE THE PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANTS NOW!




You can help the Zimbabwe Presidential Elephant Herd
Sign the petition now: http://goo.gl/uWyhBf (on Change.org)

The iconic Elephant herd protected by Presidential Decree in Zimbabwe is under threat from illegal land occupiers. We are seeking immediate eviction from the Minister responsible for lands and the Tourism Minister

Sign to help: http://goo.gl/uWyhBf

It is being delivered per signature to Hon Douglas Mombeshora Minister for Lands and Rural Resettlement. 
This petition will be delivered to the Zimbabwe Parliament IN PERSON when we reach 10,000 + signatures. 

The matter is urgent. Please sign and do all you can to assist getting the word out that the elephants are under threat. 


We need thousands of signatures from all over the world, the more Zimbaweans who sign the better, this is a national issue of importance to Zimbabwe's conservation record, land management and the status of these Elephants affects future national revenue - as well as for their own safety's sake.

Please Sign: http://goo.gl/uWyhBf (on Change.org)

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY AND SEND BY EMAIL TO CONTACTS
_____________________________________

This Petition is a collaboration initiated by Kenesias Dambakurima, Zimbabwe, of like-minded individuals and organisations formed to help save the Presidential Elephant Herd of Zimbabwe. This petition is administered by For Elephants International and championed by March for Elephants. www.forelephants.org and www.marchforelephants.org



READ MORE ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL ELEPHANTS HERE

Campaigners bid to protect Zim elephants
18 May 2014 Eye Witness News ewn.co.za
16 May 2014 The Herald (A Govt. Media Outlet) www.herald.co.zw

The Fate of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe—A Conversation With Sharon Pincott
12 May 2014 National Geographic newswatch.nationalgeographic.com

Questions raised over ownership of Zimbabwe’s Kanondo 
23 April 2014. South African Tourism Update. www.tourismupdate.co.za
Read also the numerous comments on this post.

23 April 14 www.thezimbawean.co

13 April 14 www.thezimbawean.co

An earlier Action post with details from the Presidential Elephant Conservation project here:

25 March 14 www.elephantectivism.org

News will be added here as it comes to hand



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