The Zambezi Society BULLETIN – March 2017


Read The Zambezi Society’s latest news as at March 2017 at this link:


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- A year on – we remember Claudio & Max Chiarelli


-  Highest elephant losses related to lack of resources/Zamsoc’s role.

- Anti-Poaching Appeal

- Improved collaboration on all fronts

- Funding grants supporting the War on Poaching:  Thank you

- Zambezi Society ranger firearms training continues

- Bushlife Support Unit holds the fort during the rains

- Trails & tribulations of the rainy season

- Flying for Wildlife:  fueling up for a busy season

- Tashinga Initiative completes a new anti-poaching base


-  4X4 Club of Zimbabwe to open roads at Easter

- Public Consultation: Clarity on definition of “Commercial Photography” in National Parks


- The crossing point between greed and poverty

- Anti-poaching support, ranger rations and road maintenance.


- Mavuradonha Wilderness Area declared a National Monument

- Biosphere Reserve – Zambezi Society offers management assistance

- The ancient Zambezi


The Zambezi Society BULLETIN – December 2016


The Zambezi Society Bulletin for December 2016 is now out. Please read it HERE



•  The Gift of Giving – Donate to protect Zambezi elephants

•  Anti-poaching:  We adopt a co-ordinating role

•  Wildlife Conservation Network Expo – San Francisco, Oct 2016

•  Changes at ZimParks

•  Key to protecting Zambezi Wildlife and Habitat – working together

•  Parks rangers undergo firearms training

•  Anti-poaching awareness project inspires urban & rural kids

•  New anti-poaching vehicles & road clearance in Mana Pools

•  Ranger deployment working well

•  Tourism in Mana Pools – Please follow the Codes of Conduct

•  Nkupe Camp tourism concession re-appears and raises concerns

•  Fieldwork and assistance to ZimParks in Matusadona

•  Caught in the act!


The Zambezi Society BULLETIN – August 2016


The Zambezi Society Bulletin for August 2016 is now out. Please read it HERE.

It is also available for download in PDF format. You can download this Bulletin here: - The Zambezi Society Bulletin August 2016

Zamsoc-vehicle Chisi-girls


  • Elephant Poaching – Creating awareness of the crisis 
  • Our focus: Anti-poaching strategies & priorities for funding
  • Flying for Wildlife – providing valuable “eyes in the sky”
  • Thanks to anti-poaching collaborating partners
  • Zamsoc donates new anti-poaching vehicle for Mana Pools
  • Volunteer Report: Mana southern boundary
  • Mana Pools anti-poaching base nears completion
  • A Plea to Mana Pools Visitors:  Please honour the Code of Conduct
  • Mana Pools Predator Survey 2015 – read the report
  • Chisipite Junior School – 30 years of fund-raising for Matusadona
  • Surveying predators in Matusadona
  • Success and new challenges in the Matusadona

The Zambezi Society BULLETIN – April 2016


The Bulletin for April 2016 is now out. Please read it HERE.

It is also available for download in PDF format. You can download this Bulletin here: -The Zambezi Society Bulletin April 2016






The findings of the Great Elephant Census which surveyed all major elephant populations in Africa in 2014, revealed a 75% decline in the numbers of elephants in the Sebungwe Area of the Zambezi Valley south of Lake Kariba since 2001 (from 14,000 to 3,500), and a 40% decrease in the middle Zambezi Valley complex, including Mana Pools (from 18,000 to 11,500).    (See The Zambezi Society’s news item Zambezi Valley Elephants – horrific decline in numbers  - 20 August 2015)

Since then, the Zimbabwe’ Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has been working with stakeholders to develop an urgent 5-year National Elephant Plan for Zimbabwe and to map out (via a series of regional workshops) urgent anti-poaching strategies for the areas where elephants are considered to  be most vulnerable.

These deliberations have resulted in the publication of three important reports/plans of action, which are now available for download at the following links:-


Summary Report on a collaborative workshop held by ZPWMA to develop an anti-poaching strategy for Mana Pools National Park and neighbouring Safari Areas held 30 March–2 April 2015, Chirundu Safari Lodge,  Zambezi River.  (Parks & Wildlife Management Authority – 2015)



Proceedings of the Sebungwe Elephant Management Plan Workshop  held on 19-22 May 2015 at Musango Safari Camp, Kariba.  (Parks & Wildlife Management Authority – 2015)



zim-ele-management-plan-cover  Zimbabwe National Elephant Management Plan 2015 – 2020    (Parks & Wildlife Management Authority – 2015)




Statement from The Zambezi Society
14th March 2016

Richard Maasdorp and Gary Layard of The Zambezi Society today visited the scene of the tragic incident which took place in Mana Pools National Park on Sunday 13th March and resulted in the deaths of Claudio Chiarelli and his son Max Chiarelli.

The two deceased died instantly when caught in the mistaken fire of a National Parks patrol of three rangers at about 3.30p.m. yesterday afternoon – Sunday 13th March.

Claudio and Max, together with Francesco Marconati were providing voluntary support to deploy two National Parks anti-poaching patrols consisting of 6 rangers with the intention of uplifting the three rangers who were in the field following fresh spoor of poachers.

The group had parked their vehicle on the side of the road in the middle section of the Mana Pools National Park to await the arrival of the three Park rangers who had been tracking poachers in dense bush since 9.00a.m. that morning.

The intention was to meet at the road and hand over three fresh rangers to continue the follow-up.

Claudio and Max Chiarelli with Francesco Marconati took the opportunity to open the bonnet of their vehicle to inspect the engine.  Meanwhile, the 6 Park rangers they were transporting had dismounted from the vehicle and arranged themselves next to it while waiting for their three colleagues to arrive.

Unbeknown to them, the vehicle had been parked within just 15 metres of where the poachers’ tracks had crossed the road.

Meanwhile, the anti-poaching patrol in hot pursuit, heard voices, crouched down, and slowly moved forward through the thick undergrowth.

Through a gap in the bushes, they saw part of a blue shirt.  They assumed this was a poacher and let off a burst of gunfire.

Tragically, both Claudio and Max were killed instantly.

As the anti-poaching patrol rangers were crouched, they were unable to see the road at all.

Fortunately, the 6 rangers awaiting deployment did not return fire.

Richard Maasdorp, Strategic Director of The Zambezi Society stated:  “Today (Monday 14th March 2016), we witnessed a thorough on-site investigation by the Zimbabwe Police CID and members of the National Parks Investigations Branch and Senior Management.

The Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority and other state organs now, more than ever, need support and resources to contain their battle against wildlife poaching.

We, the Zambezi Society, extend our very deepest sympathy to Mrs Chiarelli and her daughter and the family on this terrible tragedy.  We posthumously thank Claudio and Max Chiarelli, as a father and son combination, for the years of dedication that they have shown in support of wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe.  This tragedy is deeply regretted.”

E-mail us at
Note:  Richard Maasdorp is currently out of mobile phone range in Mana Pools, but will be available from Tuesday 15th March on +263 772 419897


The Zambezi Society November 2015 BULLETIN


Please see The Zambezi Society’s final Bulletin of 2015 here:- The Zambezi Society November BULLETIN 2015






MANA POOLS:  The Zambezi Society is collaborating with “Flying for Wildlife” to conduct an urgent and important overfly and aerial surveillance operation over Mana Pools over a three day period within the dates of 15th November to 30th November 2015.  This is in support of the anti-poaching efforts of Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA).
The Society is appealing to its friends and supporters to urgently assist us with the fuel and manpower costs involved.

FUEL COSTS & TRANSPORT:  The Zambezi Elephant Fund will be assisting with some of the fuel expenses but the costs are high and we still need more.  Donations can be made via the PAYNOW donate button on the Home Page of the Zambezi Society website.  Alternatively if you have access to fuel coupons, these will be readily accepted.   If you are in a position to assist with the urgent transportation of full fuel drums into the Park, we would be glad to hear from you.

ON-THE-GROUND VOLUNTEERS:  We are looking for supporters who would (in their own vehicles and at their own expense) be prepared to travel to Mana Pools, base at Nyamepi Camp and carry fuel, the pilots and a member of National Parks’ staff to the Mana Airstrip over a three day period.  Maximum two volunteers at a time. Volunteers will be required to abide by the terms of the MOU between The Zambezi Society and ZWPMA (which will be made available to them prior to deployment).
If you are able to assist please advise the days that work best for you during the period 15th to 30th November. 

MATUSADONA:  Under a separate initiative. The Zambezi Society and a private pilot will be overflying Matusadona in the near future.    Any support towards the fuel costs for this will be most welcome.

DONATE:   Via the online PAYNOW button on our Home Page at

OR CONTACT (Phone, message or Whatsapp) :  Pete Musto  (Zambezi Society Director of Operations)  +263 772 249434


Zambezi Valley elephants – horrific decline in numbers



While the world’s media focuses its attention on illegal hunting activities in Zimbabwe, centred on Cecil the lion,  The Zambezi Society  wishes to highlight a wildlife crisis of even greater proportion –  the plight of Zimbabwe’s elephants in the Zambezi Valley:-

  • There has been a 75% decline in the numbers of elephants in the Zambezi Valley south of Lake Kariba (Sebungwe area) since 2001 – from 14,000 to 3,500.
  • A 40% decrease has been recorded in the middle Zambezi Valley complex (which includes Mana Pools) – from 18,000 to 11,500.

These statistics derive from a national air survey conducted by experts as part of the Africa-wide Great Elephant Census, which surveyed all major elephant populations in Africa in 2014.

Kenyan-based Save the Elephants recently highlighted a huge escalation in the demand and price of elephant tusks in China since 2002. China’s legal ivory trade, it believes, is acting as a smokescreen for horrific escalation of illegal activities which are driving the unsustainable killing of Africa’s elephants.

A recent census in Tanzania revealed a catastrophic 60% loss of that country’s elephants in just five years (109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014).  Mozambique has lost around 50% in the same period from 20,000 to 10,300.

In Africa (and Zimbabwe is no exception), state wildlife authorities are unable to provide sufficient policing and protection of wildlife areas.  The costs of protection are high, but government funds allocated for the purpose are negligible.  This gap is exploited by corruption.  Rangers on the ground, in general, are highly experienced but poorly paid.

Your support is critically needed to assist with this critical human resource and will strengthen their motivation, resolve and performance.

Says The Zambezi Society:  “We are deeply concerned by these latest elephant figures.  The message for Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley is clear – poaching is rife and we need to do something about it urgently.”

As a follow-up to the Zimbabwe elephant census, two anti-poaching workshops for the Middle Zambezi and the Sebungwe areas took place recently.  The Zambezi Society attended both and now sits on the Task Force steering committees for  each.  The Society has committed itself to work with Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) to act on certain of the prioritised actions resulting from these deliberations.

The Society has a Memorandum of Understanding with ZWPMA and a 30-year-old history of working with the Authority, other NGOs and the private sector to assist in combating anti-poaching in the Zambezi Valley.   Funds channelled via the Zambezi Society are fully accounted for and used in the most effective way possible.

Please help us to strengthen our anti-poaching efforts in the face of this elephant crisis by making a contribution via The Zambezi Society’s secure online payment system  or via the newly-formed, collaborative  Zambezi Elephant Fund  of which the Zambezi Society is a partner.

For more information, contact
The Zambezi Society


Mana Pools Carnivore Survey (July-Sept 2015)


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