Sleepless Nights

Posted on January 13, 2012

The War Rages on and it is spiralling out of control.

I think there are very few people out there that are not aware that Africa is facing a severe crisis pertaining to the rapidly dwindling population of Rhino roaming free in its Reserves. I am not being melodramatic when I tell you that we are facing the real possibility this Species faces extinction in the not too distant future unless there is a radical turn around in philosophy, education and method in the way we deal with this present situation.

Statistics tell us there are fewer than 15,000 Rhino roaming the African Continent and on the present downward spiral, it will not be long before this number is decimated.

In South Africa in 2010, 333 of the magnificent animals were slaughtered, last year 447 died. As we enter the dawning of this New Year, 25 Rhino have been slaughtered already.

I have deliberated long and hard about posting this article, it is obviously not the usual “feel good” article you have come to expect on our Weblog, but the Bog is, and always has been a place we have always been brutally honest, no matter how good or bad the news is. What we need you all to do is spread the word to as many people as you can, in an attempt to get the message across, and put as much pressure as we can on the worlds Governments to step in and use their power to help us fight the fight.

We are constantly on alert and are ever active out here in the field, we are doing what we can, but without the rest of the world’s help, this species is facing a dark future. I am honoured to work here on the ground with so many dedicated people, who are relentless in the amount of hours they put in fighting this war, often with no regard for their own personal well-being, and yes we are making a difference. We need reinforcements and this is where you all come it, please put pressure on anyone you know who may be able to make a noise. I am tired of not being able to tell the true story for the fear of Syndicates gaining information on animal numbers through social media sites, let’s use the power of the Internet to fight the war in a positive way.

We are all responsible, directly or indirectly, for the plight of the rhino, as well as thousands of other endangered species. We are all accountable for their future, and we are all capable of doing something about it. So, let’s unify on the one thing that we all truly want and let’s put our differences aside to become an unstoppable force.

I will not end this article with a “gory” picture, of which there are many in circulation, I will end it with a picture of these magnificent animals as I always want to remember them and hope to see them, roaming this magnificent Continent long after we have gone.

The picture above/below was taken by my 12 year old daughter, (location undisclosed), who has been blessed to grow up seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural environment, I pray nightly that her children will be able to do the same.

14 thoughts on “Sleepless Nights

  1. Great article with great intentions.
    There has to be a complete change in some peoples thinking in what Rhino horn is good for. It is solidified hair and has no other restorative/medical/medicinal/sexual enhancement qualities whatsoever. Until that happens all the countries where these animals are being slaughtered need to deploy more law enforcement to combat the poachers.

  2. Rhino horns are considered to have certain healing properties but this is totally false and so you are right, we all need to pool our resources and do what we can to educate those who don’t seem to know and severely punish those who are involved in the senseless killing of these beautiful animals. I will do what I can using the contacts I have, not sure what else to do?

  3. I can assure the countries that demand the horn (We all know which they are) do not give a flip and will not until the last rhino is dead and the entire species is extinct.

    Unfortunately it is the same story for tigers and others. Human greed and stupidity will allow only one outcome to this crisis. We MUST make these animals more valuable alive than dead, it IS the only solution.

  4. Imo it is all pay offs to the Gov that lets this happen, The offense of killing these beautiful creatures should be DEATH and maybe they will think about it ..if they ever get caught, Someone is helping these poachers..,And I sincerely believe it is the Goverment

  5. This problem needs International HELP
    And I am sure there are people out there that love animals, ASK for International help ,advertise these terrible killings of innocent animals..we must do all we can,And the Goverment must
    KILL the poachers..not slap them only on the hand.get in touch with Ellen De Generes yes that is what I said

  6. Duncan: Your comments are well taken. What has the government of South Africa done about the situation?
    From my travels to the Leopard Hills and Sabi Sands areas the rangers are all over when there’s an animal in distress. What is the situation like in that area. See you in July.

  7. Reading the comments above, that it is the government’s fault (which government?) or that we need to make the animals more valuable alive than dead (how do we do that when the horn is almost as valuable as gold?)I realize that nobody has a clue how to fix this.
    Like the drug problem here in the states, the root cause is that people WANT the stuff! Imposing more draconian penalties only raises the price, making more money for the criminals who are willing to take the risk.
    I think we need to rethink this, and take a completely different approach.
    For example, is it possible to "harvest" small quantities of horn without harming the animals?
    No, I don’t like the idea, but when faced with a Hobson’s choice…

  8. We must stand our ground. ENOUGH! It is time to fight back with rhetoric and anything else that may work. Violence? maybe. what have they done to these creatures? It can only be called torture. Treat these poachers and those that hire them as terrorists, which is exactly what they are!

  9. Bert
    would you like 1/2 of your nose cut off ?good grief, These animals should not be touched in any way I think you better pick up a book and read it and see how they slaughter them < EOC

  10. The rhino has long been my favorite! Heinrich recently reported the lack of rhino news was due to the very tragic and critical issues you bring up. Can the uneducated and ignorant(lack of awareness/knowledge)truly learn there is only superstitious value in the harvesting of these beautiful creatures? If so, there would be no money to be gained from their senseless slaughter. Is it not possible thru worldwide educational programs to "devalue" the rhino?

  11. Can only agree with all of the above. These magnificant creatures must be saved from extintion. Must say that I really agree with MJ and Jim – Poachers and their customers should be treated like the scum they are. (Same with elephant poaching and tiger killing – absolutely not acceptable in the "civilized" world, not to mention that we have no idea how the delicate balance of nature is affected by the extension of a species.)

    Duncan, thanks for putting your comments "out there". As our outrage is publicized, perhaps it will bring and end to the killing. I wish that our TV and news people would pick up on the plight of these innocents and hammer the new waves with information and outrage.


  12. I appreciate the participation and comments of everyone, following the principal that everyone has a voice and a right to air it. In fact the only ones that don?t have a voice are the animals themselves, and this is where we all come in, as I stated in the article, we need to put the situation out there and spread the word far and wide, in an attempt to create a fundamental change in the perception, education and method of dealing with this sorry state of affairs.

    Yes the war on the ground has resulted in a significant number of poachers being shot, and these have been celebrated by some as small victories in the on-going saga, but we must be careful in understanding the reality behind the situation. We can only do some much physically to protect the Rhino population as they roam these vast Reserves, and believe me we are doing everything we can with the resources we have, certainly and without doubt this has made a massive contribution, this we will continue to do for as long as it takes. However I believe the WAR on Rhino poaching will not be won here on the ground, it will be won through public opinion and action, immense pressure must be put onto the Policy Makers around the World who have to use their positions of power in a positive way.

    The death of a poacher is not going to win the WAR, there will always be more to take their place, and unfortunately this will always be the case until we get the socio-economic situation under control. The monitory incentive for a poacher is a pittance in the bigger scheme of things, but to him it is a huge incentive. Remember he is the one taking the risk of being caught or killed, he is even supplied by the syndicates with all the tools he needs to carry our his ?horrendous crime?, and although we will never condone his actions based on indiscriminate slaughter of these magnificent creatures who have no ability to protect themselves, our main target must be the syndicates themselves, the middle men and the king pins, we need to ?cut the head? off the snake, and the rest of the body will die.

    Education is another vital function we need to peruse, locally and internationally, and although time is very much against us, we must pursue this route. It is interesting to note that most of the poachers that have been apprehended come from areas further afield from the Local Community Areas surrounding the Reserves. Our relationship with our Local Communities is very good, and we have all worked together for years in various Community Projects, and we continue to do so. We have always followed the philosophy that the need to Conserve these areas must be taught in the classrooms of the Communities surrounding the Reserves. The value of a Rhino through Tourism is not only a sustainable resource; it is a long asset for the Community as a whole. Entire Communities earn a living working with us on the Reserves, and they are as actively involved as we are fighting the fight. Many of these Community Members are active in anti-poaching operations and daily putting their lives on the line, they are due a huge debt of gratitude.

    So if there is one objective I had in posting this article, it was to get people to talk, spread the word and let the movement gain momentum. Possibly the solution is out there and not yet been communicated through the correct channels yet, I for one will not shut up and roll over until we have won the WAR.

  13. Duncan, I actually appreciate your posting the truth rather than the "pretty picture". You and your team work so hard to show us how gorgeous these creatures are, we may forget that some out there don’t appreciate them as much as we do, or in the same way. Keep reminding us we ALL need to work together to save these & other animals before they’re gone for good. People are often selfish & short sighted and only step up to action when its too late. Let’s start early & increase the rhino’s #s rather than watch them slip away. Thank you

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