FAREWELL VIV WILSON          - 11/ 9/ 2012      <--Prev : Next-->

It is with great sadness that we must say farewell to Viv Wilson the Founder of Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Bulawayo.

Chipangali is a wildlife sanctuary for animals which stand little chance of survival in the wild. Animals, which have either been orphaned, abandoned, injured, born in captivity or brought up unsuccessfully as pets. It is often the last refuge for those brought in sick or injured, and increasingly it is a sanctuary for confiscated animals. Vivian Wilson and his late wife Paddy established the wildlife Orphanage in 1973.

Chipangali is not a zoo; it offers a home to orphaned, abandoned and sick wild animals. When possible, rescued animals and birds are rehabilitated and returned to the wild. If safe release into their natural habitat is not possible, animals are cared for and kept for educational purposes and study. Endangered species may undergo captive breeding programs.

Viv and Paddy were also very involved in establishing breeding groups of endangered African wildlife, research into wildlife and ecology, and education of the public, particularly children, in all fields of conservation. In addition, Viv carried out surveys on the distribution of Cheetah in Zimbabwe and on protection of the Chirinda forest.

Mr. Wilson, a biologist, won the Rolex Enterprise Award in 1987 for his research on the duiker. He was a former chairman of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Board. Viv wrote his wonderful book "Orphans of the wild" followed by an informative compendium on "Duikers of Africa" and in turn a book was written about Viv entitled "A Man For All Species".

Chipangali has been featured in countless documentaries and is now world renowned for its pioneering work and is famed as one of Africa's largest and most successful wildlife rehabilitation/release centres.

The Orphanage runs a Volunteer program, the Wildlife Experience Programme, which encourages young people from anywhere in the world to come and gain hands-on experience with caring for wild animals. The word Chipangali comes from the Chinyanja language in eastern Zambia where Viv Wilson originally began his career with the Zambia Government as a tsetse-fly control operator. It is here that the whole concept of Chipangali was born and derived. The word means 'open friendly country'.

Chipangali founder Viv Wilson and his wife Paddy retired from the active side of running the Orphanage over ten years ago, in order to devote more time to urgent wildlife research projects. Viv has been the leading instigator of several unique projects, such a ten-year survey of the duikers of Africa, which culminated in the 800-page masterpiece named Duikers of Africa, Masters of the African Forest Floor.

Recently Viv expanded his research activities to include a survey of the leopard and cheetah of Zimbabwe, the biodiversity of the Matobo National Park and the formation of the CRI (Carnivore Research Institute)

Her Royal Highness, Diana, Princess of Wales was Chipangali's patron from 1983 until her sad death, when the Princess Diana Trust took over the role. In addition, the conservation activist and ex-actress, Stephanie Powers is a patron and Ambassador for Chipangali in the USA.

Viv was one of Bulawayo's very special people, a true gentleman, always with a giant friendly smile, always one to remember a name and a face.

Viv made an impact on almost every man, woman and child in Zimbabwe. His love for animals and his dedication to their welfare made him truly remarkable

Indeed we can safely call Vivian J. Wilson a legend, his absence will leave an immense gap in the Bulawayo Community.

Please note that the memorial service for Viv will be held at Chipangali on Saturday 15 September at 11.00 am

Chipangali Website:- www.chipangali.com