HE DIED AT THE FEET AND TRUNK OF AN ELEPHANT, As HE HAD SPENT A LOT OF HIS LIFE SAVING WILD ANIMALS THROUGHOUT EAST AFRICA
ONE OF A TWO PART TRIBUTE BY AKRAM SHEIKH
- - Tuesday 2nd
September 2008 will be a dark day in the history of Kenya and
was the day when the devastating news about the death of my
friend, the friend of everyone who new him in Mombasa, in
Kenya and the entire world and the wild animals in Kenya,
Uganda and Tanzania started coming to us by way of telephone
calls, text messages and e-mails.
Zahoor-ud-deen Kashmiri met his death the previous Sunday
evening in a remote part of Ethiopia 500 kilometers from
Addis Ababa at a place called Hare.
happened when an elephant he had injected with revival drug,
after darting him earlier to put a collar on, got up within
seconds and attacked him while he was attempting to film the
Dr. Zahoor Kashmiri.
ironic that he died at the feet and trunk of an elephant, although he had spent
a lot of his life saving elephants and other wild animals throughout
body was flown to Mombasa from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia a charter plane
belonging to Aircraft Leasing of Nairobi.
was some uncertainty about the time of the funeral as the arrival time
of his remains in Mombasa could not be ascertained but once it was
decided the news spread very quickly and although it took place late
on Wednesday night, there was a large number of mourners at the family
residence in Tudor and at the Sunni Cemetery.
never seen so many people of all castes, religion and ethnicity
gathered to grieve a death.
mosque for the Funeral Prayer was full to capacity and after the
burial people stood around talking of this incredible man.
or 'Zoro' as he was often called was a special breed of man.
always smiling his sense of humor was fantastic and his gravel voice
and hoarse laugh added to the humor.
always offering his help to whoever needed it and never expected
anything in return.
seemed to be impossible for him.
always said "ho Jaye ga" in Punjabi meaning "it will be
done" and he meant it.
such an easygoing person and made friends with who ever he met.
needed any excuse to have a party and he welcomed anyone and everyone
to his Thorn Tree Ranch in Kikambala.
1997 he had been hosting a "Food Festival" every September
at his ranch to raise funds for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in
Mombasa of which he was the Chairman.
year the function is meant to take place in October due to the month
of Ramadhan and we hope it does go on and becomes a day when we can
all pay tribute to him.
also involved in the preparations of the Kenya Special Olympics Team
and had accompanied the team in The Para Olympics in Korea in 1988 and
the USA Olympics in 1994.
passion for the wildlife conservation was unmatched.
talked about it to everyone at every opportunity.
very concerned on the number of animals being injured by snares in the
involved in numerous platforms on wild life.
in Kajiado in October 1950, Zahoor completed his high school
in Mombasa and then joined the Veterinary School of Nairobi
University from where he qualified as a Veterinary Doctor in
1975 and was posted in West Pokot where he spent three years
working with the Pokots, Nandis and Maralal looking after
their herds and the wild life in that area.
Government Service he went into private practice in Mombasa
and worked on all types of animals from a small domestic
animal to a horse.
his wild life work was: the immobilization of the Sable
Antelope in Shimba Hills, movement of crocodiles from Tana
River to the Mamba Village in Mombasa, translocation of the
Black Rhinos from Nairobi National Park to Tsavo,
immobilization of Elephants in Marsabit and collaring of
Elephants in Ethiopia - with his first visit there in
February of 2007 and the second fatal one last month.
He was also involved in
various rescue efforts of animals in the Game Parks and
Sanctuaries and I would often meet him at the airport when
he was on the way to one of his rescue missions.
- - Mombasa
veterinarian Dr. Zahoor Kashmiri safe guarding his three
sleeping flight guests - lions Ira, Cleo and Boy - while
assisting the African Safari Club to translocate them to
their new home at Kimana Game Sanctuary.
- DIETMAR ROESSLER
of the meetings at the airport, I mentioned that I was on the way to
Nairobi and was going to see the Chief Executive of the Serena Group
said he was travelling to Nairobi the following day and if I could
arrange that he met with Mahmud Janmohamed to explain to him the
injuries being sustained by the wildlife in the Mara and how Serena
came to the meeting the next day with hundreds of photographs and very
enthusiastically explained from the photographs how the animals were
being trapped by poachers and how the local community in the Mara
could help by reporting any injured animal to Kenya Wildlife Society
or to himself.
Janmohamed had this to say on hearing the news of his tragic death:
Kashmiri in my opinion, was a model Kenyan with a genuine love for
animals and conservation, and dedicated his life towards the cause.
tragic end to his life is a great loss to Kenya."
year he chaired the Wild Life Disease Association Africa and Middle
East Section in Kasese in Uganda where one of the issues discussed was
the dwindling numbers of Lions in Uganda.
also involved in looking after "Owen" the young hippo who
had drifted to the Indian Ocean in Malindi and then taken to Haller
Park in Bamburi.
Ramadhan he asked me to come over to his Ranch, as he wanted me to
help him catalogue the huge volume of photographs and video clips he
had on his wildlife work.
just lost a lot of photographs on his laptop, which was stolen, from
spent three Saturdays identifying a few of the tons of photographs he
had which could be used to catalogue his work especially with the
not continue with the work as we both were busy in our own way.
days before leaving for Ethiopia he came to see me and we agreed that
this Ramadhan we will work on his photographs.
informed me that he now had found many of the video tapes we could
look at and had planned to record his experiences on to a voice
recorder while in Ethiopia as he would have a lot of free time.
we cannot not know if he did manage to do any recording.
of his photographs helping elephants in Tsavo and Kimana are
reproduced on this page.
his family and friends will all be affected by the tragic
death of Dr. Zahoor Kashmiri, the villagers around his Ranch
will miss "Daktari" a lot as the villagers were
his extended family and everyone benefited from his
Ramadhan he would prepare food packages and have these
delivered to all poor Muslims in the area and beyond.
news of Zoro's tragic death was first posted on the Internet
by his friend of many years Paula Kahumbu who now works as
the Conservation Director for the Wild Life Direct
Conservation in Nairobi and within minutes tributes to the
man, loved by everyone started appearing on the website and
by last week over a hundred tributes were posted by his many
friends and relatives and by people who did not even know
- - Dr.
Zahoor Kashmiri treating a baby elephant.
taken the liberty to reproduce a few of them:
deepest condolences to Zahoor Kashmiri's family and friends. I did not
even know him, or know of him.
to this wild life direct website to find out more about the Army
leaving the Congo, and this is where I first read about this man.
wonderful person he was; and how sad it is that the world had to loose
here in California, working an office job and can only dream of living
the life he did.
an honour to spend a lifetime working with animals - and not just any
animals, but true wildlife.
in America, where so many people place their idols upon materialism
and celebrity; it saddens me that the real hero’s (or idols) are not
share his story with my friends, and family so they will also know of
Zahoor Kashmiri's life.
is a person that should never be forgotten.
loss for not only his family, but for all the animals too.
piece of me has changed today, after reading this and learning of his
remember his face, and his story for as long as I live.
Zeeshan A, London
deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of 'Zorro'.
him in 2005 when on holiday with family and friends. Unquestionably a
great human being.
in awe of his humble character and profound love for the animals he
cared for in addition to his great charitable endeavors.
World, and Africa in particular is much poorer place without him.
sincerest condolences to his family and many friends.
a larger than life type of person.
In Peace dear 'Zorro'.
Mombasa veterinarian Dr. Zahoor
Kashmiri with a mother cheetah and her cub.
TWO OF A TWO PART TRIBUTE BY AKRAM SHEIKH
- - From Craig Hatkoff:
I am so distraught over the untimely
death of Dr. Kashmiri who I feel like I had come to know so well
through our journey with Owen and Mzee.
though I only met him once in Mombasa he felt like a new old
friend who will remain with me forever.
extend our condolences to everyone.
Wamon: I feel only part
of the huge loss you are experiencing now. And
its a very heavy feeling.
can't imagine how you and all those who knew him better,
must be feeling now, but I wish you all the strength to
Kashmiri had such a
wonderful air about him.
He had the ability of
creating an atmosphere of trust and safety where ever he
was, and what ever the situation.
- - Dr.
Zahoor Kashmiri with a young giraffe in Tsavo Park.
not only in his gentle gruff voice, but also in his manner and deeds,
his fairness and respect to everyone and everything, which made him
such an extraordinary person.
Kenya's people and wildlife have lost a most valuable person ... it's
still very hard to believe.
comforts me to think that now he is together with those whom he tried
to save, who passed away before him.
spirit will live on...it will glow in the wildlife, parks, safaris and
conservation forever ...thanks to him.
Noreen (Niece in London): It is
with an aching pain in my heart and tears in my eyes that I'm reading
everyone's messages and kind thoughts.
all knew Dr. Kashmiri as a dear friend and colleague - to me he was my
his family, are in shock and disbelief at this wonderful man's
have been left devastated but we take little consolation in the fact
he died doing what he loved and lived for.
this unique human being will be buried shortly, his spirit will
forever wonder amongst the Kenyan wildlife and trees.
I dont know if I told you often enough how much you meant to me and
how much I loved you.
you forever, Nonny.
Will Travers - Born Free Foundation, London:
Kashmiri was a true friend to wild animals and a real gentleman.
who had the good fortune to know Kashmiri either professionally or
personally cannot fail to have been touched by his compassion, his
humanity and his humor.
loss will be felt far and wide. Personally and on behalf of the Born
Free Foundation I send my most sincere and heartfelt condolences to
his family at this tragic time.
Khurshid Qureshi: Zahoor was a
truly remarkable man.
time I met him was like time spent with a brother.
kind-heartedness and generosity touched us all.
has taken away a much loved and admired man.
rest in Jannah. Ameen.
left a void in all our lives that we will not be able to fill, suffice
that Allah gives his family and friends subur [patience] to overcome
has lost a truly great conservationist.
Amanda: We only met Dr Kashmiri
once, but will never forget him.
of his tragic death is a huge shock. Our
thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
Lakew Berhanu - Ethiopia: We
all at the Ethiopian wildlife Conservation Authority [EWCA]
were very shocked with the tragic death of Dr Zahoor
Kashmiri, who is our great supporter of our conservation
effort here in Ethiopia, particularly in Babille Elephant
EWCA, we have lost [similar to our brothers and sisters in
Kenya did !] a great conservationist and supporter who is
particularly specialized on elephants.
Zahoor Kashmiri with a lion cub in after life-saving surgery.
deep pain that is felt at the death of Dr Zahoor soul arises from the
feeling that is inexpressible.
at EWCA embrace his pain and sorrow together with his beloved families
and friends across the globe.
god rest his soul in peace.
will be remembered for ever for his good works here in Ethiopia.
Suha, Shaheen and Bastian: 'Innalahi
wa innalelahi rajihuun.'
have no words to describe the loss of a true hero.
man who hurt no one, disappointed no one and always had time to listen
and lend a helping hand to whoever came his way, human or animal.
will always be remembered in our memories and kept close to our
Allah grant him Jannah and rest his soul in peace. Ameen.
Peter: To me ... to so many
people who worked with him, knew him, and loved him, Kashmiri seemed
barrel-chest, his dry-gravel voice and his walrus moustache commanded
always seemed in control, but never with aggression and always with
always seemed to know exactly what was going on and exactly what to
do, whether it was handling an angry wounded buffalo, or tracking a
giraffe with a spear in its backside.
lose Kashmiri like this seems unjust, unfair and cruel.
the comments here show that his passion, his commitment to wildlife
and his legacy will live on in the way he influenced everyone who knew
small consolation for those of us who'll miss him dearly, but through
that alone, Kashmiri will get at least some of the immortality he
in Peace, 'Zorro'.
website with so many tributes for 'Zoro', there are suggestions that a
Trust be set-up in his name for Conservation work and I hope this does
is already a pledge from one of his admirers which is copied below
with others with such suggestions
Jim from Mass, U.S.A.: I agree
with several of the previous comments ... I think a veterinary
scholarships should be set up in Dr. Kashmiri's name and offered to
poor and under privileged students who have great passion for animals,
but who might not otherwise be able to attend university ... May I
also extend my condolences to his friends and family ... surely, he is
measured by all the lives he has touched in such wonderful ways.
Mombasa veterinarian Dr. Zahoor
Kashmiri treating a wounded buffalo.
Diana: What a great idea Jim from
pledge to that and start the ball rolling with U.S. $ 500 a year for
five years to help any such student in his name if someone is in a
position to orchestrate such a scholarship.
think he would have liked that.
world is a poorer place without him and I can't think of a more
fitting memorial to reflect all his good works.
be at peace now and God bless.
Dr. Bilal Butt: I knew Zahoor in
the Mara when we helped an injured Cheetah.
12 hours of us discovering the injured Cheetah, he flew to the Mara
from Mombasa and did all he could to save the cheetah.
dedication was unmatched, his passion unbridled and most of all, he
was an amazing human being dedicated to the conservation of Africa's
we are still mourning his passing, may I suggest that a memorial fund
be set up in his name to help finance other dedicated wildlife vets.
Katherine Herzog: What a
tremendous loss for the wildlife conservation community and an even
greater loss to the animals.
concur with Dr. Butt's suggestion above that a memorial fund should be
set up to encourage and nurture future dedicated wildlife vets.
Paula Kahumbu: I am at the
airport in Mombasa going through the amazing comments you have all
eyes are filling up with tears again. His funeral was one of the most
serene I've ever been to.
thought I knew Kashmiri well, but I met so many people who were close
to him, his social circles were vast, and unrelated, Rotarians,
wildlife, tourism, cerebral palsy, his family, business, Muslim
community, Indian community ... people had flown in from U.K., Nairobi
and other places.
presence could be felt though all of those who loved him as they
gathered to pay their last respects.
discovered how hard, no impossible, it is to console those closest to
will set up a memorial fund to keep his work and his spirit alive.
contact you all to let you know when this is up.
you all, I feel like he is smiling down on us left behind, realizing
just how much he touched and inspired all of us.
Memories Of The Late
Dr. Zahoor Kashmiri
carried out the first rhino eye surgery in Kenya
-- It has been three years since Dr. Zahoor
Kashmiri was tragically taken away from us on
September 1st 2008
was a Mombasa
based veterinarian and one of Kenya
’s unsung environmental heroes, born in
graduated from the
in Veterinary Medicine in 1975.
seemed so inviolable being full of life either deeply asleep
or highly awake, running around always busy.
Kashmiri gave up 20 years of private veterinary practice,
during which his patients were almost exclusively domestic
dogs and cats, to concentrate on treating wild animals with
human-induced injuries and diseases.
Zahoor Kashmiri was both an active Rotarian and was the
chairman of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation in
was called many times to the bush, to remove a snare from a lioness,
to rescue a giraffe from a trap, a hippo, the eye of a rhino, a baby
zebra from an airstrip, to relieve a buffalo from his puss-filled leg,
an elephant from a spear or to dart animals for
collar fittings and translocation.
used to say “nothing beats the satisfaction of nurturing a sick
animal to health”.
had successfully treated more than 5,000 animals. He carried out the
first rhino eye surgery in
of his extensive service to the Kenyan wildlife he had been made an
honorary warden with Kenya Wildlife Service.
was routinely on assignments in National parks and game reserves.
active Rotarian and was the chairman of the Cerebral Palsy
Foundation in Mombasa where he spent a lot of time and energy
raising funds for children affected by such debilitating disease by
hosting International Food Festival.
festival is still being hosted annually at his ranch and this year it
is going to be held on 25th September.
was affectionately called ‘Daktari’ by the children living along
was at a crossroad leaving airline and security business behind and
fully dedicating his life to wildlife service.
was about to write a book wanting to share the broad experience he
gained over the years during his excursions in the bush.
are strong, sensitive, intelligent beings with an amazing social
order” is what he wrote before he left for
want to show everyone the bush with my eyes and soul” he used to
are those who risk their lives for a good cause. Zahoor Kashmiri
risked everything for the care and safety of wild animals. The respect
he carries follows him even after his death.
me he was strong, sensitive, intelligent and compassionate, both as a
brother and an individual; I could not describe him any better.
is dearly missed by his family, relatives and friends and is still
remembered by all those who came into contact with him.
me he had a heart full of concern, intelligence of a genius, strength
of a lion and looks of a hero.
in all, he was a rare gem.
our hearts still cry with the pain of loosing you, through doing what
you always enjoyed. The consolation is that you are in a better place In
Allah grant him Jannah. Ameen