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Shooting an Elephant

I haven’t seen the video and I don’t plan to. But I’m outraged that Go Daddy‘s Bob Parsons even thought of

Hwange Elephant up close - Photo Marcia Mayne

creating one glorifying his recent shooting of an elephant in Zimbabwe.

The arguments he and others like him use to justify this act are old and well worn.

Ditto the arguments the Zimbabwean officials use.

There was so much hope, so much promise in the newly independent Zimbabwe. Instead, it has been saddled with a government that for more than 30 years has been sucking the life out of it. All the economic indicators have fallen and continue to do so. In 2009, when hyperinflation had so devalued its currency, it was forced to stop using it in favor of the South African Rand, UK Pound or the US Dollar.

To use an African saying, “When two elephants fight, the grass suffers.”

Unfortunately, the elephants are now caught in the fight between people, like Parsons, who have deep pockets and corrupt government officials, like the ones in Zimbabwe, that’ll do just about anything to line their own pockets.

Hwange National Park Elephant

It is against this backdrop that Parson has seen fit to pose, wrapped in his suit of arrogance and sense of entitlement, his foot atop the carcass of the elephant he just slaughtered.

That arrogance, that sense of entitlement bothers me because that’s what drive men like Parsons to kill elephants and other animals.

It is that same arrogance, sense of entitlement and unbridled greed that drive Mugabe, and men of his ilk, and cause their own people to suffer needlessly.

Sadly, between the two of them, the elephants won’t have a change. They will continue to be slaughtered.

Three Black Girlz on Safari: Besides animals, what else is there to see?

If we didn’t know it before, we discovered pretty quickly that no two game drives are the same. While Makalolo Plains keeps a log of the types of animals that guests could probably see, they cannot offer a guarantee.

During September, the time we in Hwange National Park, there was a high probability of seeing elephants (100%), zebras (100%), waterbucks (100%), widebeests (93%) and steenbucks (90%). But because of the size of the park, the animals have many places to escape the sun so sometimes, we’d drive for long stretches before we’d see anything.

However, the guides are very knowledgeable of the animals’ habits and hideouts and would use every method – from communicating with other guides to following animal tracks in the sand – so that we’d have a good experience. We were very lucky to see four of the Big Five – elephant, lion (60%), leopard (17%) and buffalo (57%) – and witness some pretty interesting animal behavior.

Game drives were never boring. While we jaunted along, different things caught our attention. Take our first day out, for example. We spotted vultures sitting high atop several trees. Others were circling and a few more were flying in – a sure sign that they knew a meal was waiting.

Godfrey told us that an elephant had died the previous day – probably from old age. As guides, they’re not allowed to interfere in animal activities. However, since the elephant had died close to the path, they had moved it out of sight so as not to upset us. We saw part of the carcass – and we could definitely smell it.

Since Hwange is a natural habitat, life and death exist side by side.  Seeing the carcass was a reminder but if we hadn’t seen it, there would be other reminders as the bones of dead animals were everywhere.

Besides animals, what else is there to see?
Elephant skull

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