This all has been no small feat and 'Ngwenya' (Nguenha Jose Mureau) who was our bull dozer driver, tractor driver, head of anti-poaching and overall go-to guy was a very big part of the rebuilding process and it is with deep regret to report that he was killed Friday the 9th of February whilst trying to apprehend a group of elephant poachers.
Coutada 9 has a resident population of about 350-400 elephants and like with all the other wildlife we have fought an uphill battle from day one to protect them. Unfortunately, with elephant poachers there is the added risk in that they are armed normally with an AK-47! Over the years our anti-poaching scouts have had several run ins with these guys and we were determined to catch them. We believe it to be a group of 4 guys who have been responsible for most of the elephant poaching in Coutada 9. With the Coutada being so large (nearly 1 million acres) it has been very difficult to catch up to this group as the normally come in, hit one or two elephants in remote locations, cut the ivory out then retreat for 1-2 months then come back in making it challenging to catch them.
On Friday 9th February, Ngwenya got information that one of our anti-poaching sticks based up in the north had found fresh tracks of these poachers trailing a wounded elephant. Ngwenya went immediately to our local police station and collected 3 police officers to go with him on the follow up. Unfortunately, due to the distances involved he got onto the tracks fairly late in the day to start following. They caught up to the poachers at last light where they had set up to cook and spend the night. The poachers refused to surrender and a shoot-out ensued. With it being dark it was difficult conditions to see what exactly was going on and unfortunately Ngwenya, who was the brave one at the front, took a bullet through his arm and into his stomach. Whilst he was trying to make it back to the vehicle several miles away he passed away.
Ngwenya’s passing is a massive loss to Mokore, Coutada 9, wildlife conservation and most of all, to his wife and four children. His big smile and determination to really make a difference will be truly missed. We are trying to raise funds for his family to help put his kids through school so please if anyone would like to donate some money towards his family we would be most grateful.
He requested (in a devastating audio message that he was able to save on his phone when he realized he would not survive) that we please take care of his wife and children and help complete the house they were building.
Donations of any amount would be greatly appreciated by Mokore and obviously, by his wife and children.
A great man, who achieved so much.
Below images of Ngwenya with his bull dozer which he used to create valuable water sources and road networks for the wildlife and people of Coutada 9.
Ngwenya working with the anti-poaching units. Hundreds of confiscated, illegal metal gin-traps and home made muzzle loader rifles.
- GoFundMe Team
- Kelti Kachur
- Kelti Kachur
- Robert Mehner
- Russell Marshall
Organizer and beneficiary
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