Saturday, 31 August 2013

An extra boost

Frontline Farming donated 13 bags of mixed feed for horses, pigs and dairy cows.  Our zebra, warthog and eland (as close to bovine as we get) are all very grateful - as we are!

PS:  The dairy feed will only go to those animals that can absorb the urea.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Oh! what a beautiful morning
Oh! what beautiful day
Ten tonnes of feed was dee-livered
And Rich brought a truckload of hay!

Monday, 26 August 2013


 Why Stone Hills is So Important

Nature is not the only detrimental impact on wildlife in this area, we report the following incidents because we believe it is important to be the voice for the wildlife. The stories are sad and make us angry too - but it is the reality of life in the bush. We share them so that others are aware of the great impact people have on wildlife, as well as the animals' struggle with the drought.

This sable bull took refuge in a dam on a neighbouring property very close to our boundary when he was chased by poachers and their dogs.   They were throwing rocks at him when one of our scouts heard the dogs barking and alerted us. By the time we arrived, the bull was up to his neck in water and he was bleeding profusely from one eye.  Rich managed to tranquillise him and pull him onto the bank, but it was too late, as he was already blind in both eyes and suffering from severe shock.  A second sable bull was later found dead in the bushes close to the dam.  Our scouts followed up and apprehended the poachers, who were then arrested and fined in the magistrates court.

This sort of thing is happening all over the country.  Yesterday, I received a phone call from an African lady who has a farm in the Plumtree area (close to the Botswana border) and is influential in local government.   A few days ago, poachers and dogs entered her farm and chased a kudu cow to the point of collapse, then tore her to pieces.  She died on the lady's fence.  The only positive result of this tragedy is that she is now lobbying for a restriction of the number of dogs allowed in each household.   Many rural families have four or more of them, mostly used for hunting or left to find food for themselves.

Our scouts patrol the fence line every day in order to check for poaching and also to stop up the holes dug by warthog and bushpig.   Very occasionally, though, a stray dog does manage to get in, and a couple of months ago, one such stray savaged our precious Mary bushbuck a few metres from the house.   The vet came quickly, but she died under anaesthetic with her head in my arms.   She was in her 23rd year.

Dogs are not the only threat to wildlife -  wire snares and poison are also in widespread use, plus unethical trophy hunting and armed poachers who target the larger mammals, such as rhino and elephant.
  Wildlife sanctuaries and conservancies like ourselves are engaged in a continuous battle to protect our animals – whether it be from man or from starvation. 
We MUST win and with your help, we will! 


Help us help the wildlife - Donate Drought Appeal

Friday, 23 August 2013

All creatures great and small

Rock elephant shrews are insectivores with a penchant for pumpkin cake and a passion for mealworms.  If we are not on time with their daily rations, they come and find us - wherever we are.  We've had them staring up at us as we were lying on the bed, jumping up on the arm of the sofa, and even waiting impatiently, arms folded, outside the loo.

Then there's the little spiny mouse who used to nibble Rich's toes to remind him to put out the pumpkin seeds.   And the Tiny fat mouse whom we don't yet know personally,  but whose name is irresistible.

We've raised and released numerous bush squirrels - each one of them adorable and a very different character.  They're also having a tough time with the drought,  but we have a good supply of seeds and mealworms that should see them through.  Every one of them is important!


Monkeys on the roof, dassies in the dining room and kudu in the garden (all thirteen of them, lying there chewing the cud and occasionally coming to stare at us through the dining room window), and it's an absolute circus in the afternoons, when the house is surrounded by giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, eland, gemsbok, impala, warthog, baboons, zebra and guinea fowl - all waiting for food.

This is Chumley, a heterohyrax with a bent back leg. He arrives in the house every morning at breakfast, demanding a handful of cabbage leaves. Many of these animals (including Chumley) have never been near us before, but they knew where to come for help.  And now, thanks to all our wonderful donors, we are able to start giving them what they need.

No hope of a peaceful dinner when Patience is watching us!  She has a four month old calf and is struggling to feed it.  In fact, she's so hungry that when I put out mealworms for the nightapes, I found her eating them.   And it wasn't a mistake - she took them on the following night too.

You can help, please go to our donations page here

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Support from Australia

We've just done a radio interview with Ian Henschke on 891 Mornings with Ian Henschke, which will be aired tomorrow (22nd August) between 9 and 11 am.  Thank you, Adelaide!

Update 27 August
Thanks to 891 ABC Adelaide on the "Mornings with Ian Henschke" programme for broadcasting the great interview with Bookey this morning. Many of our supporters make the connection for Adelaide to Zimbabwe for a story to be told on local radio. A warm welcome to any South Australians who have found us here as a result of the 891 interview.

PS: Bookey's books mentioned in the programme can be found at this link

Sunday, 18 August 2013

More good news

At last, we've managed to source some lucerne from Jeremy Vaughan, who lives close to Bulawayo, and we are picking up the first load of 200 kg tomorrow.  Our sable, who are just as hungry as everyone else, won't touch any of the feed we offer, but - we are told - they won't be able to resist the lucerne if we mix it in.   And it will help some of the really needy animals, like the kudu cows who are still looking poor, despite all the feed they are getting.  Lots more news to come - and thank you everyone, once again, for your wonderful generosity.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

She's not daunted

Little Thembi makes sure that she gets her share - no matter how great the competition.  We are particularly concerned about the giraffe.  They are starting to eat poisonous plants like strychnos matopensis that none of us have seen them taking in the past.

If you would like to help us feed Thembi and the other animals on Stone Hills please Donate Here


Thanks to the wonderful generosity of our donors, we have today ordered 20 tonnes of food.  It will be a mixture of cotton cake (30%) protein and beef survival meal (11.5% protein).  And we're trying to source some lucerne hay to attract the sable - who are the fussiest of feeders even when they are really hungry.