Ongoing Elephant Conservation on the Hwange Estate:
SHARON PINCOTT’S NEW BOOK:
In March 2001 Sharon Pincott left her home in Australia and began working with ‘The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe’ on a full-time voluntary basis, on land bordering Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe. President Mugabe decreed in 1990 that the elephants which roam this land – known locally as the Hwange Estate – should never be hunted or culled, and that they should symbolize Zimbabwe’s commitment to responsible wildlife management.
Sharon instigated a formal naming process, for ease of identification, and learnt to know hundreds of elephants as individuals, and members of close-knit families; monitoring their lives on a daily basis. It was an idyllic time.
But it soon became apparent that snaring was rife, and snare-destruction teams were established to help combat the poaching problem. No sooner was the snaring situation better under control, a government official claimed this tourism land as his own, and secured quotas to sport-hunt. What followed was 16 months of heartache and endurance, before this situation was eventually righted. But still, the degradation continued. Every year from that point on, pans were left to dry up; the elephants forced to move elsewhere to find adequate water. Snaring was once again rife, and continual efforts were made to save the lives of maimed animals.
What has kept Sharon in Zimbabwe during these past 8 years is the beauty and wonder of the Zimbabwean veld – which still remains, despite everything – and the extraordinary relationship that she’s formed with these wild, free-roaming giants over the years. Adult female elephants now come to her when they’re called – and even more remarkably, allow her to rub their trunks.
Sharon considers ‘The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe’ to be a truly unique tourist attraction, which could potentially attract a myriad of people from all around the world to Zimbabwe, yet the indifference of the safari operator who now hosts these elephants continues, adding to the frustrations of her ongoing voluntary work.
Sharon has written a book about her 8 years living and working amongst these elephants, which has been published by Jacana Publishing in South Africa, titled:
THE ELEPHANTS AND I: Pursuing a dream in troubled Zimbabwe
It should be available on the UK Amazon book-site by June, but unfortunately availability on the USA Amazon site will take considerably longer.
This is what Kuki Gallmann – author of the international bestseller – I Dreamed of Africa has written about Sharon’s new book:
A moving account of Africa’s power to attract, inspire, and change the course of one’s life, giving it a new meaning. Sharon’s story is of courage, adventure, love and commitment to the elephant of Zimbabwe.
An unplanned visit to South Africa’s Kruger National Park changed Sharon Pincott’s life as she knew it. She was a high-flying information technology specialist Down Under, but now she dreamed of working with Africa’s wildlife.
Eventually, she abandoned her life of privilege and luxury and moved to Zimbabwe – a country in turmoil – to live and work among elephants on land bordering Hwange National Park. It was a startling contrast to her former life. In time, Sharon formed extraordinary relationships with wild elephants, having learned to know them intimately. She treasured escapades with friends, both human and animal, in spectacular, remote places. But, as she soon discovered firsthand, the beauty and wonder of wild Zimbabwe had a dark foreboding side. Snaring of wildlife was rife, and when land invaders claimed the area where Sharon’s elephant friends roamed, she went into battle for their land and their lives – while fighting for her own wellbeing, in her homeland of choice.
This is an inspirational true story filled with unrivalled splendour, joy and hope – but in today’s Zimbabwe, this precious beauty is frequently shattered by heartbreaking despair.
Cynthia Moss, World-renowned Elephant Specialist, Amboseli, Kenya says:
Sharon Pincott has written a brave and passionate book about her work in Zimbabwe trying to protect the special herd called the ‘Presidential Elephants’. Against all odds and her own safety she has stayed in this troubled country for over eight years trying to deal with poaching, land grabbing, unethical hunters and personal harassment. Sharon vividly portrays both the tragedies and joys of her mission. Her writing about the individual elephants and their behaviour is fascinating. I highly recommend this book for its insights into some of the conservation challenges in Africa, into elephant behaviour and into the personality of an extraordinary woman.
Wilf Mbanga, Editor, The Zimbabwean writes:
Sharon Pincott is the Joy Adamson of Zimbabwe. It takes a very special person to battle the loneliness and isolation of the African bush. Sharon’s passionate commitment to the Presidential Elephants – in the face of soaring political tensions … – is contagious. We salute her courage and dedication. Her book gives rare and important insights … This vivid, first-hand account … is heart-breaking.
David Shepherd OBE, FRSA, Founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, UK states:
During the fifty years since I first went to Africa, I have collected or been given a considerable number of books written by those who have been to Africa but very few stand out in my memory as being exceptional. I was privileged therefore to be asked to contribute a few words to this very special book written by a great lady who writes with such dedication, feeling and passion for the gentle giants of Africa. … [Sharon] writes as only someone who has Africa in her blood can, of the despair and the delights of the so called dark continent. Wildlife deserves a better deal than it is getting from Man, the most lethal animal on the planet and when I leave Africa now after every visit I cry tears of joy and anger. Sharon’s book will, I know, bring similar feelings to the reader.
Sharon’s own royalties from the sale of this book will help to fund her ongoing wildlife conservation efforts – and so we encourage your support of her book. A portion of the text of The Elephants and I appeared in a different, and much more reserved form, in Sharon’s two Zimbabwe edition books – but to know the full story, this tell-all book is the one you must read.
The Alvarez-Galloso News Hour rates this book with five stars