THE ADVENTURES OF SHADREK
Southern Africa's Most Infamous Elephant Poacher
by Ron Thomson
2001 Long Beach, 388pp, drawings and photos, 6x9, hardcover, dj.
This is the story of a man called Shadrek, a descendant of one of Shaka Zulu's generals, whose elephant-poaching exploits in Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park were legend. In his day there was nobody who could touch this poacher and hunter extraordinaire. During the 1960s and 1970s every resident in the towns and ranches of the Zimbabwean Lowveld knew about and spoke about Shadrek. Between 1965 and 1975 Shadrek ran rings around the game rangers and police who tried to catch him. When the local black people were asked about Shadrek, they denied any knowledge of the Scarlet Pimpernel of the African bush. Yet mention of his name brought enigmatic smiles to their faces. Strangely, the white community, too, despite their disapproval of his plundering of the game reserve's great elephant bulls, had a grudging admiration for Shadrek. For five-and-a-half years during the height of Shadrek's poaching career, the author was the game warden in charge of the Gonarezhou National Park. This eminently readable book is an account of how Thomson tried to apprehend the elusive character known as Shadrek. Eventually the author meets Shadrek when the pair of them get involved in the Rhodesian Bush War. Unfortunately, this fascinating and gripping story ends in tragedy.