Below is a statement by the owner of the Sango Wildlife Conservancy in the Save Valley, Mr. Wilfried Pabst in response to cabinet findings and also President Robert Mugabe’s statement at the recent Chinhoyi rally where the arrangement to translocate 2,000 animals to Mozambique was found to be “fraudulent” and prejudicial to Zimbabwe.

In a telephone interview early with ZimEye Thursday morning, Mr Pabst concurred that he is fully aware of the allegations and how they have halted the translocation. He however maintained that the development is purely philanthropic and he does not own or run any such business across the border in Mozambique. Below was his statement:

 “In a progressive move and as a sign of good neighbourhood Zimbabwe agreed to donate 2 000 plains game animals to Mozambique.

The northern part of the Save Valley Conservancy is fenced in by a veterinary fence, which disallows animals from migrating elsewhere in case of lack of grazing or water. Drought and proactive management combined means we simply have too many plains game animals. It was therefore suggested to the Minister of Environment and Water Affair, the honourable Ms Muchinguri, that we entertain a request handed to us by the Peace Park Foundation of South Africa to offer these animals as a donation to repopulate the Zinave National Park in Mozambique.

The Minister embraced the idea as a progressive step towards celebrating Zimbabwe’s conservation successes by helping a war-ravaged national park in our neighbouring country, a serious win win for all involved. When the translocation started we were followed by some 200 million readers and viewers globally, a spectacular reputation gain for Zimbabwe.

Currently there is no commercial market for our excess wildlife near or around Zimbabwe. Hence a donation, which by definition does not carry any monetary value, was the way to go. We in the Save Valley Conservancy have spent millions of US Dollars to buy, raise and protect these animals whilst looking forward to building up a foundation for sustainable use and tourism on an ecological basis. Therefore, we agreed for Zimbabwe to donate these excess animals through the good office of our forward-thinking Minister as well as his Excellency, President Mugabe, as the patron for this translocation so as to promote the richness of our wildlife and successful conservation work in Zimbabwe.

I am informed that the Minister stands accused of some wrong dealings in connection with this transaction. Therefore, I would like to categorically state that the point expressed by the Mozambique Government, the highly reputable Peace Park Foundation of South Africa and I, as the owner of Sango Wildlife Conservancy within the Save Valley, was to make it very clear that no moneys are changing hands in this translocation. As a matter of principal as well as due to the fact that the animals are a donation no monetary or other influences were offered by us to the Minister or requested by her in any way whatsoever.

Any statements implying that the honorable Minster acted in anything but an honorable and visionary fashion are slander, ill-founded and denied in the strongest form possible. Our Minister does not deserve this and I am deeply troubled by these insinuations. “

Wilfried Pabst
Sango Wildlife Conservancy