Friday, June 3, 2016

Hippo Hunt South Luangwa


The Irony of DNPW's Logo and Motto


Dear Friends of Wildlife, journalists, advocates.

There is an urgent situation arising in the South Luangwa region of Zambia. Hippo hunting license/s have been awarded to a foreign Professional Hunter (PH) with large bag limits (up to 2,000 over 5 years) under the guise of animal management. The PH is on-selling hippo trophy hunts to other foreign nationals. Allegedly awarded last year by the now dissolved ZAWA, the new DNPW appears to have forged ahead with the revenue raiser.

At least two hippo have been killed in the past few days, urgent action is called for  - including investigative journalism and world wide publication of the story.

Also welcome is targeted advocacy/activism to stop the hunting.

Any media exposè, campaigning, petitioning etc welcome.

Note: Photos are graphic and show both a trophy hippo hunt picture and butchery of hippos.
(Photos here) from 31 May 2016.

The photos have been downloaded from a DNPW officer’s private Facebook page (posts were public) his name is Kamisa Malipita. (Screen shots provide proof of the the source)

The source of the details about this matter must remain anonymous, apologies for no identifying information.

In hope of action to save thousands of Hippos

A Friend of Wildlife

The Original Images
The peaceful Luangwa River: assume this was taken from Hippo Hunting Camp.
He/she almost made it back to the water
Preparing nyama (meat)... Hippo butchery on the banks of the South Luangwa 31 May 2016
Hippo reduced to body parts. (original source:
Preparing nyama... Hippo butchery on the banks of the South Luangwa 31 May 2016

All that is left of two hippo.

The Hippo Hunt Story in Zambia
Dateline: May-June and ongoing 2016

The Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW - formerly ZAWA) has issued licenses to professional hunting outfitters in 2016 onward to ‘cull’ hippos. 

There are real questions as to the legality of the original issuance of the license/s.

DNPW have sold a number of hippo licenses to a Professional Hunter from South Africa, Theo De Marrilac. and
(See attached PDF link from Mr De Marrilac's PH operation advertising the hunts.)

The photographs (shown above and linked below) sourced from the DNPW officer’s FB page clearly show a hunter with a hippo carcass and other images of preparation of the killed hippo’s bodies for meat. (Note: Graphic warning)

DNPW are calling these hunts a wildlife management tool. There were questions raised by the new Director of DNPW that the licenses may not have been legal and were arranged under the now defunct ZAWA last year. Despite this, DNPW have forged ahead with the contract and killing has commenced. Serious management issues have seen ZAWA disbanded in recent times and the New DNPW established. (See relevant Zambian legislation in regards the change of operations, linked below.)

Recent meetings with the representatives from 6 local Community Resource Board (CRB) have confirmed that they will benefit from the hunt revenues.  All the CRB’s agreed to the hunt, on the promise of revenue. The hunting was flagged in these meetings to commence 22 May 2016. The photographs were uploaded to the DNPW Officer’s Facebook page on 31 May 2016.

Information received indicates that the DNPW had either contracted or issued an exclusive license to a South African hunting outfitter, Theo De Marrillac to oversee, or manage what they are euphemistically calling the “cull” for animal management purposes, but which is in reality solely to sell hippo hunts to foreign hunters.

At the community meeting the officials from DNWP stated that the cull will be of whole herds of hippo; which would also mean that pregnant and suckling females and babies will be killed, which is in contravention of the Wildlife Act, if individual foreign trophy hunters undertake these killings. Please note though that the advertising material from the PH selling the hunts promise "walk and stalk hunt over floodplains"(See attached advertising material.) Again, if this walk and stalk is the only modus operandi - suckling females who may have sequestered infants while out to graze could be killed. Leaving orphans to suffer. If pod masters are killed, this leads to the destabilization of the herds.

To the best of knowledge no Environmental Impact Assessment has been prepared or submitted.

Local professional hunters safari outfitters (PH) were up in arms. The bag is 400 a year, there is talk of the bag being 4 hippo's a day for 5 years in four separate locations along the Luangwa River. The hunting season is 4 months duration. If this is the case, then it is potentially running to 2,000 hippos over 5 years, [1] a significant proportion of the hippo population in the Luangwa Valley. 

The local safari outfitters (PH), are concerned at the way Zambian authorities have conducted this licensing. There was talk of a court challenge by some of the local PH to issue an injunction against these hunts. The local PH's operating in the area have hunting concession with exclusive rights to hunting, it appears they have gone into negotiations with the foreign hippo hunters to allow the safari hunting clients to hunt hippos on their concessions to their financial benefit.

The Safari industry (non-consumptive) in the area are also very concerned - but may feel they have their hands tied as DNPW officials and local conditions means anyone speaking out may lose their concession licenses to operate their lodges.

To show just how challenging a hippo hunt is… a well known Big Game hunter, Safari Bwana, has this to say about Hippo hunting… "To hunt a hippo is probably as challenging as beating a fly to death with a rolled up piece of newspaper” Source:

The Luangwa River is one of the major tributaries of the Zambezi River, and one of the four biggest rivers of Zambia. The river generally floods in the rainy season (December to March) and then falls considerably in the dry season. When the dry season is particularly bad, as it has been for several years, the pressure on hippo populations is huge.The Luangwa River is one of the biggest unaltered rivers in Southern Africa and has 50,000 square kilometers of surrounding wildlife habitat along it's valley.

The hippopotamus is listed as *Vulnerable on the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Redlist.

By way of analogy, until the 1980's the Black Rhinoceros was at this species greatest concentration on the African Continent in the Luangwa Valley. They were hunted to extinction. The government and hunting fraternity mindset at the time was the Rhino were a plentiful species and the sale of hunting licenses ran unchecked. The further poaching for the illegal trade in rhino horn saw the end of this species in its entirety in the South Luangwa. The government mindset now is that hippo are plentiful, indeed the [1] largest concentration of hippos on the African continent reside along the Luangwa river. The analogy between the rhino of the 1980's and the hippo of the new millennia is plain to see. If the hunting of thousands of hippos over the next 5 years is allowed what will happen to the natural biology of the hippos of the South Luangwa?




Suggest contact to relevant members who may have hunting concessions in the South Luangwa, contact details can be found here: PHAZA - PH association of Zambia,

The relevant Government and parastatal authorities are:

The Director of DNPW, Paul Zyambo -
+260 21 1278482 Zambia

Tourism and Arts Minister Hon.Jean Kapata, -
(260) 977-155782 Zambia
(260) 955-657079 Zambia

Tourism and Arts Deputy Hon Minister Patrick Ngoma -
(260) (211) 292425
(260) (211) 415098

The PH with the license and operating at least one of the hunts is:

Professional Hunter - Theo De Marrillac -
+27 83 451 9566 South Africa



Individual links to photos
Hippo hunter
Hippo butchery 1
Hippo butchery 2
Hippo heads flayed

Relevant ACT from Zambian Parliament. See part 31:,%202015.pdf

Other relevant legislation about dissolution of  ZAWA and establishment of DNPW:

Note: all media and other organisations publicity about the Hippo Hunting issue is shared for public interest.  Hippo Whistler has no association with any other entity)

Born Free Foundation Website article - 7 June 2016

BFF: Media Release: 7 June 2016
News article about dissolution of ZAWA:

The state of ZAWA and the new DNPW has been in turmoil for some time with the former Director facing court on 26 July 2016.

*The ICUN Redlist criterion:

[1] "There are probably more Common Hippopotamus in Zambia than in any other single country. F. E. C. Munyenyembe puts the country-wide total at 40,000 with 20-25,000 in the Luangwa Valley according to R. H. V. Bell" Source.

[2] Sent to media by Born Free Foundation 7 June 2016.


The Original Image Source
Screen captures on 4 June 2016 of uploaded images 31 May 2016