For Molly.

Molly was an African elephant calf. She was born in the south of Zimbabwe – the Lowveld. In September 2017 she lost her mother when she was just six months old; not to poachers, but in a hunting “accident”. Her mother apparently charged a hunting party to protect her calf. The “professional hunter” (PH), who was tracking a wounded wildebeest, believing his group to be in danger, shot Molly’s mother. As he was not hunting elephant  he did not have the correct weapon, so one can only imagine how long it took him to kill her.

Molly was found a few days later, and taken to a ranch in the Lowveld. She ended up at the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery (ZEN)  after the intervention of Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management (ZNPWM) around the circumstances of Molly’s mother’s death.  Since November, ZEN has been caring for Molly, trying to help her come to terms with the mental and physical trauma she suffered. She had lost the sight in one eye, and initially walked in circles due to brain injuries she suffer during the shooting incident. She demonstrated so much courage, and with the love of the other elephants at ZEN and under the care of the dedicated staff there was great hope she would recover.

Molly died on Thursday 10 May, 2018. Two days later the autopsy results have been released by Roxy Danckwerts of Wild is Life and Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery.  What is revealed is a shameful account of human nature at its very worst. Roxy words are:

The initial finding of the post mortem done on Molly showed two massive intracranial epidural abscesses, which had been caused by the complete fracture of her left Molar 2. We are still investigating further concussion injuries in the jaw. This injury occurred during the killing of Molly’s mother in a hunting accident.

Additional information just in: We have cleaned up the bone and found a bullet entry wound, beneath the Molar 2. This elephant calf was shot, at some point in the whole melee.

I have an awful lot to say to the PH (name known and withheld), the hunting client (name known and withheld) and the landowner (name known and withheld). Why this calf was not immediately bought into professional care immediately, is not known. The cruelty of leaving this little soul, without medical attention, on her own in the bush FOR DAYS, with her dead mother is, frankly, reprehensible.

It is time to stop being a nation of killers, thieves and dominion believers. Causing untold pain and cruelty to other beings is unconscionable. “Leaving it to nature”, particularly when the problem is man-made (and this includes man-made waterholes) is also a thought process that comes out of the ark and has no place in our current society. I am sick of it.

I am not a major “bunny hugger”, nor an activist. I am a realist and I visit life and death on a daily basis. However, this incident and so many others have enraged me, due to the brutal and unnecessary cruelty inflicted.


Please note that it is now Government POLICY to report and rescue injured and orphaned elephant calves. There is a set of standards and protocols signed by the Director General ZPWMA for this purpose. So, do not look away. Do not walk away. Do not take that calf behind a bush and shoot it. Make an effort. Stand up for something good. Do what is right. Show some compassion. Think long and hard about second chances.

The one lesson learned from Molly’s short time on earth is about the milk formula. We have finally found a crack in the armour of this particular issue, for southern African elephant calves. One size does not fit all. Every calf is different, but we have run the gauntlet and we now have a far better understanding of the digestive tolerance of these fragile animals, and what we can do to mitigate those problems.

We are continually told that professional hunting in Zimbabwe is ethical. The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association assures us that “the primary objective of this association is to work with policy makers to identify problems and formulate solutions for conservation of our wildlife and habitat in Zimbabwe.” Yet increasingly we see actions that contradict this claim,; there is little if any regard for the wildlife resources the organisation claims it wants to respect. If this is the case how does the organisation explain its silence on the following “unethical” hunts that have taken place in the last three years:

Trophy and sport hunting no longer has a place in today’s world. Poachers are destroying Africa’s wildlife resources at an alarming rate; why do we need trophy hunters doing the same thing, albeit at a slower rate? Human beings have been labelled as the “ultimate super-species predator” – we have developed more methods than any other species to kill and destroy the other species sharing our planet. Contrary to the claims of hunting organisations all over the world, trophy hunting does not support conservation and is helping push species to the brink of extinction. Take a look at the photographs in the link  provided; how attractive is that room filled with dead animals in frozen, glass-eyed poses. What kind of person is happy to pose next to a dead elephant lying in blood from its front tusk, mouth and front legs? How much effort did it take to kill that giraffe?

Thank you to Roxy and everyone at Wild is Life/ZEN for giving this elephant child what her mother was denied: a chance at life. Thank you for respecting Molly and caring for her, and for showing her the best of mankind.

Only when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned will your realise that you cannot eat money.

Native American Indian saying.


Submitted byMarina Button (not verified)on Sat, 12/05/2018 - 13:11

My heart breaks with all the hardship what’s going on with the wildlife
Why destroying such gift of the earth.
Roxy I wish you strength and all whom cared for molly
When I was with Sharon I saw the emotions of the ele.s.and her pain leaving zimbabwe
I hope that the world wakes up for its to late.
These wonderful creatures.
Hoping that governments will do and cites will do there best to stop the hunting because they are denying others to see these animals
Please stop it stop it
Followed molly on face book this poor soul so much hurt in that little body of hers
Rip in peace and may you fly to find your mum

Submitted byAnne Kohl (not verified)on Sun, 13/05/2018 - 13:15

Aww so sad to read that little Miss Molly has gone to be with her mum. It’s heart breaking to read what she went through after her mum was killed. Poachers and hunters really need to stop this barbaric act for their greedy and selfish ways. These beautiful animals feel too. Thank you to the team who looked after her during her short life and for giving us regular updates.

Submitted byAnonymous (not verified)on Mon, 14/05/2018 - 13:16

Thank you for .. your honest words for #Zimbabwe and you are right .. it has to stop now #BanTrophyHunting in #Zimbabwe their is no integrity no law & order no rules .. just the same old same faces .. shooting up a storm .. One PH this latest March 7th #Tusker this is his 3rd Iconic Collard Kill in less than 3 years .. a collared Bull in Musvingo was a victim .. and a Collared Lion in #Bumi as well .. not even a word .. from Hunters Association > 1 perhaps an accident but 3 with the same excuse .. Seriously .. Then the case with the .. Hunter .. & Client hunting in National Park ..…
and so on and so on .. every which way we look .. they are there bending the rules .. exploiting corruption and laughing in our faces .. shame on them all ..

Sharon, this story was big news when I was in South Africa last week. I’m not sure how true it is but some newspapers claim a Zimbabwe professional hunter worked with the South African professional hunter to shoot the elephant in Gonarezhou. I sincerely hope this is not the case.

Submitted byKim Lowery Aglioti (not verified)on Mon, 14/05/2018 - 13:18

Lost for words. Sinful. Heartbreaking. Human scum do this.

Simon Butler… right now we need to spread the word about what happened to Molly and her mother. We need to spread awareness about Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery and Wild is Life and the amazing work they are doing for our animals. Thank you for caring.

Submitted byKrystyna (not verified)on Tue, 15/05/2018 - 13:21

Its devastating what is happening in this world. Wildlife is being wiped out by poachers, hunters, farmers,China and Asia ..Forrest destroyed , train killings, even tourist who ride/selfies.. endless list of people making the worlds wonders extinct .
Poor Molly dread to think of what this baby went through.. RIP. Things really must change the world needs to get a grip. Time is fast running out.. no more hunting.. it really needs to be banned world wide!! No more captivity sending animals to unsuitable climates and tiny Zoos.. they suffer so! No more Temple Elephants they are wandering animals not chained statues. No animal circuses or exotic pets.. this is a very sad world to kill off its wildlife and will be mych regretted in the future if no changes are made!

Thank you for sharing the ZPHGA’s reply. The document they attach was forwarded to us two weeks ago. The ZPHGA is entitled to their opinion, and we are happy to share this on our site. Apologies for the delay in posting, but our admin was away and unable to update the blog.

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