Innocent Victims

by Catherine Buckle

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Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions

In December 2002, Meryl Harrison moved a large audience to tears at the BBC Animal Awards Ceremony, having been flown over from her native Zimbabwe to receive their Special Award. There she told her tale of the rescue of countless animals caught up in five years of the Zimbabwean land invasions, as farmers and families were forced from their homes to make way for Mugabe’s ‘war veterans’. Many had to leave their animals behind, and it was Meryl’s mission on behalf of the under-funded ZNSPCA to go into these destroyed farmsteads to rescue countless domestic animals and wounded livestock.

Nandi, pictured on the book-jacket of this heart-warming account of her animal rescues, is just one of the many ordinary pet dogs she managed to save.

The bravery of Meryl and her small team, as they overcame huge obstacles to find and return these traumatised pets to their loving owners, has earned her world-renown. But she didn’t do it for any human praise – she did it for the animals, the innocent victims of human folly.


16 black & white illustrations


Mar 15, 2014


About the Author:

Catherine Buckle was born in 1957 in Harare, Zimbabwe. She trained as a social worker at the University of Zimbabwe and graduated with a diploma in Social Work in 1979. She later trained as a Librarian and worked as the School Librarian and Head Counsellor at an Harare girls senior school.

Catherine was the Estate Manager of a small conservation education game park – the Mukuvis Woodlands – just outside Harare for 9 years, where she was involved in raising baby elephants, crocodiles and general game and conservation management.

In her spare time she is a writer and has four novels in print in Zimbabwe, two for children and two for teenagers.

Since 2000 she has had two non-fiction books published on the crisis in Zimbabwe: African Tears, the Zimbabwe Land Invasions and Beyond Tears, Zimbabwe's tragedy.

Catherine currently writes a weekly column for a UK daily newspaper under a pseudonym for her own protection. She also writes a weekly letter from Zimbabwe about events there. This letter is used by a number of media outlets – radio, newspaper and web sites, in South Africa, the UK, Canada and Australia. The letter is also published on her own website and read every week on a UK-based radio station SW Radio Africa.

Catherine is divorced and has a 16-year-old son.

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