Action at SCI Convention
I returned from the SCI convention in Reno last night and understand EXACTLY why this organization is crucial for the global hunter. The way that SCI facilitated introductions to the right people was amazing and the fantastic experience of getting to meet face to face with key decision makers was very beneficial.
Ms. Linda Venter
SCI – South Africa
Although my problems are not in SA I had reached out to Linda for general advice and council. And she made a personal introduction to George Pangeti, a special contractor to SCI for all African affairs. Linda also connected me directly with Bill McGrath at the SCI – DC office to address an ethics complaint. Linda zeroed me in with exactly the right people.
Mr. George Pangeti,
Chairman of Zimbabwe National Parks
George and I had been corresponding via e-mail. He understood the basis of my complaints and quickly offered to make a personal introduction to the individual at Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife who can help. George was true to his word. We met in person on Friday after he addressed the conservation committee. George walked me right over to the Director of Commercial Services for Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife and made the introduction as promised.
Ms. Tarirai Musonza
Director – Commercial Services
Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife
The DC office staff was very gracious in offering meeting space in their convention offices for Ms. Musonza and I to have a private conversation. I produced copies of all the materials related to my complaints and she was very understanding of the situation. She also let me know that an investigator from Zim Parks was already looking into the matter initiated by my earlier e-mail correspondence with Mr. Tawanda Chipere. The first matter at hand is to confirm that the game was taken legally. Since a licensed PH was not in camp this is an immediate hurdle that will require further investigation. I am also not certain that Col. Watson Tshipa is in good standing with Zim Parks and Wildlife – they are the authority who issues the PH licensing designation. Given that the PH has gone missing she suggests that if I can prove that I paid my US Based Outfitter, and that he in turn can produce evidence that he paid the Zim based PH, she may be able to make an exception and authorize the export permits. So Ms. Musonza and I walk over and talk with Arnold Payne at Impala African Safaris since he is exhibiting at the convention. Arnold assures her that he will cooperate fully and that he can produce the necessary paperwork if required. Afterwards Ms. Musonza assures me that she will do everything in her power to work out something and that she recognizes that SCI is watching this. But initially everything will hinge on the legality of the hunt, then on our ability to reproduce the financial paper trail. She commits to provide me with regular e-mail updates.
Mr. Cyril Meredith
Taxidermy Enterprises is an exhibitor at the convention and was actually the first contact that I made on my arrival. I figured that we both have the same objective: to get my trophies out of their shop. As I share the details with Cyril he begins to draw the connections and suggests that we take a walk over to visit with Arnold Payne at Impala African Safaris. A very firm conversation ensued. As Cyril and I are walking back he is very upset and candidly shares with me that I am not the only hunter who has had difficulty with Mr. Payne and that Taxidermy Enterprises has little patience for these poor business practices. His encouragement to me is to continue pursing this matter with the highest authorities and fullest force possible.
Zimbabwe Professional Hunters & Guides Association
I had stopped by and left a copy of my materials with Roy early upon my arrival. He is very busy with prior commitments but suggests that we set a time to meet early the last day. By the time of our meeting Roy has read all of my documents and is very agitated by the situation. This is NOT how things are supposed to work when someone hunts in Zim and he is appalled with what has occured. But he also shares that it is not uncommon and that you must use the utmost caution to ensure that you book with a reputable PH in Zim. Mr. Watson Tshipa is NOT a member of their association so there is little direct influence that he can provide. But he knows others at Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife and also and investigator with the Reserve Bank that will have interest in my situation. Roy assures me that he will do everything in his power make introductions to facilitate. He encourages me to continue to pursue this matter as aggressively as possible.
Founder of AfricaHunting.com
Jerome sought me out at the convention and was exceptionally generous with his time to discuss my story in greater detail. He really helped me connect the dots and see through the fog of dealing with problems like this on an international basis. I cannot express enough my gratitude for the thoughtful and insightful advice that Jerome shared with me.
Continue work with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife to complete their investigation confirming the legality of my hunt.
Begin to build the financial paper trail to Zimbabwe.
Move forward on an SCI Ethics Complaint with full force.
If any of you have similar problems and would like contact information for these authorities please reach out to me directly.
Thanks for taking the time to follow up post on your situation.
Glad to see you may have some light at the end of the tunnel.
Good on ya,for keeping up the fight.
Eric, It was a pleasure meeting you at the show. I was glad to hear that things are moving in a positive direction for you and I really hope that you will be able to get your trophies back. You have done everything that it takes, not given up, done all of the tedious ground work and really pursued every avenue, I commend you for that. I know that it would have been easy to just have given up and I hope that all of your hard work will pay off.
I appreciate you sharing your story with us as I know that it has been informative and eye opening for many here. I think that it is very important for hunters to talk about these type of issues so that we can learn from and support each other.
Update February 15, 2010
I woke up this morning and found that Taxidermy Enterprises had written:
I trust this finds you well.
Further to your correspondence to all the various organizations, National Parks Investigations have been in contact with Watson Tshipa and given him two weeks in which to sort out and present his paperwork.
I will update you further as soon as there is anything else.
Take care – kind regards
Taxidermy Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
So... Zim Parks is on Mr. Tshipa now. Finding him was my first hurdle. Now if they can keep the pressure on him maybe this will get resolved soon. Again, I would not have made it nearly this far without the assistance of the folks at SCI. At the risk of sounding like a commercial they really are an organization that helps out when there is trouble.
Eric, That sounds great. I am glad to hear that SCI was so helpful to you in this matter and they should be recognized for it.
Hi Guys - new on the forum and didn't have time to read the whole post.
Originally Posted by Western Expedition
May have an idea of the problem: Camp Selous (previously known as Jabulisa) was a photographic camp owned by Buck de Vries - a white Zimbo. Camp Selous, Kumuna Lodge (on the other side of the vlei) and Lion Camp were all invaded by "war vets" and were then grabbed by different members of the government. The ongoing legal battle about who owns the land etc may be effecting the processing of your paperwork.
Taxidermy enterprises is a well known and well respected taxidermists - however they have no power over National Parks etc - the people who issue your paperwork. So apart from the unlicensed hunters, illegally grabbed land and the further question of the ilegal hunting I see no reason for your stuff being held up.
BTW: I worked for Buck at Jabulisa and Kumuna when they were both photographic camps WAY back in the day (I even trained as a PH there). I still have a home in Bulawayo and am still in contact with Buck so I have a fair grasp on what has gone on there.
I forgot - we hope to be going home (Bulawayo) in the summer for a few weeks so maybe I can chase it up for you. I'm not a magician but having someone asking questions in person may speed up your case.
Thanks for the info Bundu. Kind of you to offer to assist Eric with this matter.
You are SPOT ON. I stayed up high near the main stone house. The buildings there were in pretty good shape. The buildings down low by the pond have fallen into disrepair. Nearby there are several concrete buildings that look like they used to be a kitchen / housekeeping area. Maybe a photo finish shop? It's the skinning shed now. All this is down by the spring water pump house. Photos available at Western Expedition
I was told that Camp Selous was purchased by a French owner sometime prior to 2008. A South African was in camp during my safari on an ele hunt of his own. He was a bidder but lost out and is still a bit sore about it. The camp is being run by Clifford Sibanda. Clifford is also an MP for Zanu-PF. Bubi constituency. He has a farm down around Turks Mine. Mr. Sibanda served under Col. Watson Tshipa in the army.
I've talked with Squirrel at Taxidermy Enterprises. He wants my stuff out his shop too. But we are both stuck without Mr. Tshipa doing his paperwork or some larger intervention by Zim Parks.
Any input from Mr. de Vries would be appreciated. As you can see, I've gotten pretty invested in working things out. It would have been great to have seen this place in "the day".
Be safe in your travels.
Update April 8, 2010
In my e-mail this morning...
I trust this finds you well. Just wanted to give you an update on your order! Michael has just been in to see me with paperwork from Watson. Regrettably, there were still some details omitted from the TR2 form, and I have gone over it with him. Michael has promised that he will sort these out and return the paperwork to me by Monday, 12 April 2010. I am confident that once the missing details have been filled in, I will be in a position to prepare your Dip and Pack account and get the order in line for packing.
I will contact you as soon as I have the paperwork in my hands!!
Have a great weekend.
Take care Ė kind regards
Taxidermy Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
And Michael had called our house to let me know that he is on it. I have been away on business but my wife spoke with him early this morning and he assured her that all is good! Michael was part of the team on the ground during my hunt and was the main reason I kept my temper throughout all this. He is an honorable man in a bad situation. But he is showing up and showing his metal. Hope to know more soon.
Good news! Glad to hear that all of your efforts will bring your trophies home.
Okay. I received an e-mail yesterday from Taxidermy Enterprises notifying me that all the paperwork is completed and items are ready to ship as soon as my bill is paid. That is GREAT news. But I already paid PH Watson Tshipa at Pasat Safaris for the dip and pack before I left Zim. He apparently decided to pocket the money. It is exasperating but not unexpected.
My inclination at this stage is to go ahead and pay Taxidermy Enterprises then pursue my US based booking agent Arnold Payne with Impala African Safaris for the lost fees and other expenses. If anyone has any prior experience, positive or negative, with actions like this please drop me a note.
Eric, Did you contact Arnold Payne from Impala African Safaris recently to see if he would help you financially in any way?
Given the magnitude of the problems at hand I have started putting everything in writing. I want to avoid hearsay. There is no evidence of what has been told to me verbally and I donít want it just to be my word against his. The last letter to Arnold Payne at Impala African Safaris was sent USPS certified and was returned to me unopened.
I was held to the precise language of the contract with Impala African Safaris when things were falling apart and I wanted out. Since they set the expectation then I intend to hold them to the same standard regarding the delivery of their services.
I feel for your situation, it just sucks when you spend your hard earned money and then just get so crappy of service! I wish people would just be honest and say hey we lied or this is going to take forever to hammer out...have little hope of getting things resolved.
Thank you for the kind words. I wish the folks at the SCI Wisconsin Chapter (serving southern WI) felt the same as the sensible northerners like you. Check out who is advertising on the home page of their website in the "special deals on hunt cancellations hunt" area. http://www.sciwi.org/
I recieved an e-mail from Taxidermy Enterprises letting me know that an investigator from National Parks would be taking up the detail of my missing payment with Mr. Tshipa and that his license to operate as a PH is being held in suspense until all these matters are settled. It is nice to know that the rule of law does exist and holds significant power in Zim.
Good information to know.
Many thanks to Zim Parks
It is very hard for me to believe but Taxidermy Enterprises e-mailed to say that they received payment from Pasat Safaris in the same amount that I left with Watson Tshipa. The Investigator from Zim Parks is to be commended for his excellent work and persistence. After all the other difficulty with Watson Tshipa I had serious doubts that this money would ever make itself known. But Parks stayed on it and I'm done with Pasat Safaris and Watson Tshipa now. Just waiting for the shipping confirmation from Taxidermy Enterprises.