Eric Balson

Name ID 42

See also

Duncan, Brian Arusha Photographs
Extract Author: Brian Duncan
Page Number: 00b
Extract Date: 1958-1962

Families/individuals that were well known to us

Bruce Kinloch (Elizabeth) – Author of the novels ‘Sauce for the Mongoose’ and ‘The Shamba Raiders’. He was Chief Park Ranger for Tanzania, Uganda & Malawi. A keen shooter, both with a gun and a camera. Moved to Scotland for a short period (mid 1970’s), helping dad with his business for a time, and then moved to England. Elizabeth underwent major surgery some years ago which I do not believe was overly successful. I think now both deceased.

John Durant (Jean) – He was District Commissioner of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). They moved back to Scotland, where John became the Estate Factor for Dalhousie Estates, Brechin, Angus, Scotland. Jean was a solicitor with Will & Philip, also Brechin. Upon retirement they moved to Bishops Waltham, Winchester. Both now deceased.

Royce Buckle – White hunter, believe based in the Arusha area. Specialised in the hunting/shooting of elephant and Cape Buffalo. My father and Royce were often out on safari, where he was probably the one individual who taught my father most of what he knew about the hunting of big game.

Eva ? [Viva] – She was Belgian, French or German, married to a game warden and lived on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater. Dad used to recite the story of how she chased a leopard away from the house with her broom when it was attempting to carry away her dog.

Eric Balson – Game Warden in Arusha area. May have been married to Eva ? Above.

Gerald & Argent Chopra – Gerald was a doctor and his father Argent (English wife) was a lawyer – possibly of Italian or Belgian origin, and both very keen shooters. They both had respective practices in Mwanza. [see note below]

Jock Hebenton (Bunty) – (children were Heather & Ian) and originated from Edzell, Angus (where I now live). Jock was a motor-biking friend of dads, and persuaded him to go to East Africa. He was a school teacher at Ukiriguru, then Mwanza.

Bill Buchannan (Janey) – Agricultural department, Ukiriguru.

Bob McKenzie (Margaret) – (children were Morag & Marcia). They returned to Brechin, Angus about the same time as us, where they owned a fish & chip shop (best one in town). Bob and dad became partners for a short time in a gun shop (McKenzie & Duncan) in Brechin, until they went their separate ways. Both Bob and Margaret now deceased, but believe Morag now a primary school teacher in Germany.

Please note the correction from Jaret Chopra:

"Actually it is ARJAN and GERALD CHOPRA. My father, Arjan, was a doctor and Gerald, his brother/my uncle, was a lawyer. Both of Indian origin. Their father was I.C. CHOPRA, a lawyer and founding partner/director/shareholder with J.T. Williamson of Williamson Diamonds."

Extract ID: 5330

See also

Turner, Kay Serengeti Home
Page Number: 196
Extract Date: 1972

Prince Bernhard

came on safari conducted by Eric Balson, Game Warden in Arusha

Extract ID: 850

See also

2003 Publishes: Balson, Eric On Safari with Bwana Game


Extract ID: 5374

external link

See also

Internet Web Pages
Extract Author: Dan Singleton, Round Up staff
Extract Date: 2007 Feb 27

Sundre Wildlife Museum curator has vast experience - Life among African wildlife

Sundre Roundup - Mountain View Publishing

It's a long, long way from the wildlife refuges of east Africa to west central Alberta, but wildlife conservationist, veteran game warden and author Eric Balson has made the journey, recently taking on the job as the first-ever curator of the renowned Chester Mjolsness Museum of Wildlife in Sundre.

The 150-animal museum includes elephant, giraffe, hippo, rhino, crocodile, grizzly bear, wolves, cougar. The world-class museum, housing one of the largest private collections anywhere in Canada, opened in November.

Sundre-area hunter Chester Mjolsness, a long-time friend of Balson, donated the mounts and the museum to the Sundre and District Historical Society.

After much prodding by his friend, Balson finally agreed to take on the curator job earlier this year.

"I'm actually really honoured to be asked by Chester to be the curator," said Balson. "He's been after me for three or four years. Chester said, 'please be my curator.' I said, 'Chester, I've built two museums in Africa and I don't really want to be a curator. I want to spend the rest of my life fishing my life away.' Then he said, 'you're the only one I want.' So when I saw how it was developing, I said I'd work here for sure. It's such a beautiful facility."

Being in charge of such a collection is a responsibility Balson says he gladly embraces, saying conservation and wildlife awareness are vital to the survival of wildlife in both Africa and North America.

"These animals in here have to be culled," he said. "Most of them have reached their prime and have passed their breeding age. They are here for posterity and we should be very proud of Chester for giving this wonderful facility to the town of Sundre."

As curator, Balson will be giving tours to visitors throughout the year, telling guests all about the animals on display. In fact, he has already started giving tours, including for a very enthusiastic group of Olds cubs and scouts, who stayed overnight in the museum.

Balson says he looks forward to visiting with the guests, telling them all he can about the animals and the way they live. And make no mistake, from practical experience, Balson knows a great deal about the life and times of wild animals.

In his recently released book, "On Safari with Bwana Game", Balson tells all about his many wildlife adventures over 60 years. In one section, he recalls one of his first up-close-and-personal meetings with a lion. "Sometime in the night, David and I awoke when the truck bucked and shook under a heavy weight. We opened our eyes to see a pair of hairy thighs rising like tree trunks just alongside our heads - the bulging, muscled legs of a full-grown lion.

"I could neither move nor take my eyes off the scene as the huge lion pulled the carcass free with much grunting and rocking of the springs. It jumped down to pick the load up in its big mouth, and then looked me straight in the eye from a distance of no more than a few feet."

Born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1930, Balson's earliest days were spent in the bush country, including working as a catcher of poisonous snakes.

After working as an engineering surveyor in Tanganyika starting in 1949, Balson was given the opportunity to become a game warden in 1955, an opportunity he jumped at and has never regretted.

At one point in his subsequent years as game warden in a host of African countries he was responsible for an area of over 100,000 square miles.

From 1960 to 1972 he was the first provincial and then senior game warden for the Tanganyika government.

As part of his duties as game warden, he conducted safaris for many famous people, including Yugoslavian president Marshall Tito, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, wildlife artists David Shepherd and Guy Coheleach.

At that time he was intimately involved in the creation of the Ruaha and Katavi National Parks in Tanzania.

He then received a special mandate from the Tanzanian government to stamp out poaching, leading to several assassination attempts by poachers over the years.

Moving to Zambia in 1972, he helped create a national park in the Zambezi Valley. His efforts as managing director of wildlife conservation in Zambia were sidetracked by the Rhodesian war.

In 1974 he became general manager of the Boatswain Game Industries in Fracistown. Over the following two years, he was a forestry officer and regional game warden for the government of Nepal in the Terai, setting up a national park system in the process.

Starting in 1977, he was wildlife manager of the United Nations' Crocodile Project in Papua, New Guinea for four years, setting up a crocodile farming industry to help preserve the salt water crocodile from extinction.

Before emigrating to Canada in 1993, he managed a massive game ranch in Namibia, the Ohorongo Game Ranch.

Fluent in the Swahili language, he has been given the name Bwana Hakuna Matata, meaning Master Without Troubles.

For his part, Chester Mjolsness says having Balson as the curator of the Sundre museum is an important addition in terms of enhancing the educational experience for all visitors, particularly for the youngsters.

"He's an excellent man for the job," said Mjolsness. "He makes friends easily and he knows all of the animals very, very well, all the African animals at least. He's a hunter and he's had lots of experience. I'm so pleased to have him."

Sundre and District Historical Society president Annette Rose says the new Sundre facility will be an important educational tool for generations to come.

"It will serve as a teaching tool for schools province-wide. It will be viewed by tourists from other countries and will be a lifelong benefit to the Sundre and District Historical Society," said Rose.

Extract ID: 5375

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Linda (Newby) van Rooyen
Page Number: 2007 05 13
Extract Date: 13-May-2007

Eric Balson

Hi, Just to confirm - Eric Balson was married to Viva. They now live in Canada, close to their eldest (of 3 boys) son - Alan.

He published a book on his time in E.A., available from Safari Press. Called 'On safari with bwana game' - Hope this is helpful.

Extract ID: 5373

See also

nTZ Feedback
Extract Author: Cathie Liebenberg
Page Number: 2009 03 17
Extract Date: 17-Mar-2009

Eric Balson

Eric and Viva are friends of my in Canada. I was in Canada and started a Rhodesian club and contacted Eric & Viva to join and we had many great braais. Eric showed me his museum that he had started up in his garage, which was about 10 years ago. What a wonderful man to sit and listen to and at the time he was busy with a coffee table book about Prince Bernard.

Extract ID: 5982
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