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Chapter 3: Introduction to the Selinda pride.


John M.
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Our first visit to Selinda Reserve, Botswana, in July, 2000, was full of lion sightings, much to our delight. As Bush dog wrote in his “10 years’ love story” post in Historical Trip Reports seven years ago, the Selinda pride was at its peak in 2000.  But our visit was followed by a sad event, which I described for the Nature Photographers Network.

I won’t repeat the link to the article here, because many would have seen it already. For those who haven’t, it’s on Page 4 of Bush dog’s post.

Our safari comprised three nights at Selinda, three days walking, about 10 km each day, from Selinda camp to the Mokoba and Tshwene trails camps and then to Zibalianja, where we had another three nights.  The walks were a ‘doddle’, to use Geoff’s description,  easy country compared with Chizarira in Zimbabwe, but could be dangerous nonetheless.  The previous year, our guide had to shoot and kill a charging cow elephant which seriously injured one of his walkers.

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Yvonne behind the guide after we set out from Selinda camp

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We had no such encounters, though on the last walking day, this bull elephant in the distance made the landscape even more picturesque. The guide took us around a low rise to avoid him.

 

Not long after, we were informed by radio that the Selinda pride was between us and Zibalianja camp, so a vehicle was sent out to pick us up.

Chapter 4 soon.

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  • John M. changed the title to Chapter 3: Introduction to the Selinda pride.

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Selinda pride male, 2000

 

  For those interested in some of the early history of the Selinda pride:  in 2010, British zoologist and film producer Dan Freeman published a book about his wildlife encounters which included a chapter on "The Lions of Selinda", pre-2000. 

  Coincidentally, Dan came across my photographic website in which I had a page with the same title, dealing with the pride in the early 2000s. He contacted me because he knew nothing of the pride's fate after his time at Selinda.

  Dan's book, "Mangroves and Man-eaters", is still available in paperback and Kindle. 

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  This reminds me of a promotion I read a few months ago of a prize-winning Joubert documentary called "Birth of a Pride".  This is how the opening paragraph goes: "In the year 2000 all the lions in a place called Selinda had been hunted virtually to extinction. Two lionesses walked around, calling into a void. One day everything changed".  

  This is untrue. The situation it describes actually existed several years earlier, and by 2000, the repair work had been done by the then holders of the Selinda concession, who don't deserve the falsehood.  The true story is in the combined writings of Dan Freeman, Bush dog and myself, among others.  

  I do not know if the narrative said the same thing, as I have not seen the documentary (and have no wish to see it).  I'll be generous and suggest that maybe the producers were merely using the "dramatic/ poetic licence" often seen in movie-making. But they could be criticised for using it to gain more credit for their (praiseworthy) ending of trophy hunting in the far corner of the concession after they took Selinda over in 2006.

 

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Matias Cox

Hello @John M.

 

I remember this story, and two versions that were published in Africa Geographic.

 

I'll leave the LINK to the answer from the previous Selinda concession, it also have acess for the accusations to Mr. Derek Joubert.

 

In the face of public opinion, it would be a story of easy appeal. "A triumphant return after abolishing the infamous trophy hunting".

 

"At the very least, someone here was too unethical"

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4 hours ago, Matias Cox said:

Hello @John M.

 

I remember this story, and two versions that were published in Africa Geographic.

 

I'll leave the LINK to the answer from the previous Selinda concession, it also have acess for the accusations to Mr. Derek Joubert.

 

In the face of public opinion, it would be a story of easy appeal. "A triumphant return after abolishing the infamous trophy hunting".

 

"At the very least, someone here was too unethical"

Thank you, Matias. I did not know that Brian, Grant & Co. had responded to the Joubert claims, as I've not had any contact with them for about 15 years.  Before my last safari at Selinda, I fondly remember asking Brian and Jan if they would care to be our guides for a day or two. They declined with great humour. I had huge respect for them, but of course they were near retirement and didn't want to take work from their excellent people.

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Also, I am not aware of this article published on the Africa Geographic site and the reference made by Brian Graham to my report posted on this forum.  Everything Brian said is absolutely correct.

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offshorebirder

"As far as we are aware there is still no private concessionaire investing in and conducting wildlife monitoring with anything close to the intensity and thoroughness of our efforts – including the Selinda Reserve of today. It would be a challenge for any private concessionaire to proclaim any trends in wildlife numbers under their custodianship without quantifiable, historical public records to back it up."

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By the way, John, I think I did not mention it, I met Grant 2 years ago when I was in Kasane where he is living now.  He was doing very well.  We talked of course about Selinda  like two old veterans.  Unfortunately, I was not able to see Marianne Martens who was not available then.  She also live in Kasane. 

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14 minutes ago, Bush dog said:

By the way, John, I think I did not mention it, I met Grant 2 years ago when I was in Kasane where he is living now.  He was doing very well.  We talked of course about Selinda  like two old veterans.  Unfortunately, I was not able to see Marianne Martens who was not available then.  She also live in Kasane. 

I would like to have been a fly on the wall, if I couldn't have joined in the conversation☺

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