So little can mean so much


Ol Pejeta rangers with anti poaching dogs.

A monthly gift can make all the difference for our canine APUs.


A one time gift of $25 purchases kong balls and rope (positive reinforcement toys)

A one time gift of $50 purchases dog shoes (for bush terrain training)

Simply go to the DONATE button and select the MONTHLY option.


HESC canine APU

We currently work with Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center and Ol Pejeta APUs. With black and white rhinos, both wild and rehabilitating, canines are a critical part of success at keeping poachers at bay.

We are happy to provide end of year statements for your tax deductions.

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CITES Recap: the good, the bad and the ugly

The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) 2008-2020 vision states
*they will be contributing to the conservation of wildlife as an integral part of the global ecosystem on which all life depends,
*as well as promoting transparency and wider involvement of civil society in the development of conservation policies and practices


Are they following their vision?

Well, here’s a recap. The animals who reaped ‘benefits’ from increased protection are:

*Pangolins (trade was completely banned, and the most highly trafficked animals in the world were given highest protection status)

*African Gray Parrots (trade was completely outlawed)

*Sharks and Rays (Thirteen species of rays and Thresher and Silky sharks were given highest protection status)

In addition, proposals to grant legal trade in ivory and/or horn in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland were denied.

But the disheartening news was the denial of CITES to grant the highest level of protection to:




An added issue for lions is the trade in captive bred lion parts remains legal. This perpetuates the Asian demand, and serves as an added incentive for South Africa to continue breeding farms. (Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa.)


© Data from UNEP-WCMC

In theory wild lion parts are not legally traded. Yet, there is no way to tell the difference between a wild lion bone and a captive lion bone. If money is to be made, bones will likely be obtained. Like a fenced in yard with surrounded by only  three sides, protection for Africa’s lion is incomplete, and proves worrisome to an even  faster decline.

In the end, the negligence to protect one species casts a shadow over the decision to protect others. It also casts doubt on the credibility and intentions of our CITES delegates.


President Zuma at CITES. South Africa has been accused of “selling out” both elephants in lions in their votes against added protection. Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth


There is no necessity in trading lion parts, wild or captive. To perpetuate a market and feed a false cultural perception is not only ethically questionable, but also sends a mixed message in the overall trade of wildlife products. Why is one species an acceptable “commodity” over another? And if a species becomes “captive bred”, is the door open for that species to be traded as well?


Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa photo: One Green Planet

For Appendices ratings, just how low do the numbers have to get for us to act? The Northern White Rhinos are a perfect example of the error in waiting too long. There are 3 left. They were never afforded protection in time. Why isn’t their predicament enough; does history teach us nothing?


Only three Northern White Rhinos remain, all living in Kenya at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. photo: Brent Stirton/Nat Geo

(It is important to note that upgrading lions to the Appendix I status would ONLY have affected wild lions, and would not have afforded protection to their captive cousins.)




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This must be one of the most brutal fortnights yet in the history of the rhino poaching war, in our province. At least 14 deaths were discovered in various protected areas in as many days. (I can’t go into detail at this time but it’s getting even more savage, as if that’s possible.)
Yesterday honestly rates as one of the lowest points in my life as a wildlife vet, pretty much an emotional breaking point – but it’s not the first time; it’s something that is happening far too often. I don’t think it is possible to explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced this nightmare, what even one death scene does to you. It’s traumatic and haunting, and cannot ever be erased from your mind. I’ve attended over 400!!

-From wildlife vet Dave Cooper


Planting crosses for fallen rhinos in South Africa. So far, there are an estimated 731 of them this year.

The slaughter is real, the poachers are relentless. In this incident, Dr. Cooper attended a death scene of not just one more rhino, but four!

We need to be just as relentless in our efforts to curb the poaching and protect our rhinos. If you’ve ever thought about helping, there is no better time than now. Please DONATE to support APUs in Kenya and South Africa.


photo: Max Waugh



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Small birds with their Big friends

Some lovely photos from our friend Jo:






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World Rhino Day 2016

When is World Rhino Day?

September 22nd

What’s the point of World Rhino Day?

Recognizing and appreciating rhinos, particularly through raising awareness to the imminent danger they face. The poaching crisis and illegal wildlife trade very possibly could mean the end of their species.

What can you do to help ensure a future for rhinos?

*Spread the word that rhinos are in danger! Poaching is a serious issue that is pushing rhinos toward extinction. Use #WorldRhinoDay to talk about the poaching crisis.
*Support rhino conservation through donations.

Share the following:






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Building a Canine APU

Earlier we requested your help in putting Chloe through her anti-poaching class. Her training is complete! She now helps protect the Kapama area near the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC) and Kruger National Park.

The HESC current recruits are Bullet and Zee. The duo is the core of the Centre’s program; with Zee successfully done with initial training and Bullet going through  puppy training.


Bullet and Zee



The next step will be for them to undergo advanced training. The cost of the course is R20 000 per dog and another R20 000 for the trainer to attend and have her with the dogs at all times. That’s approximately $4,162 usd total.

We are committed to assisting with the successful care and training of the dogs; both for the protection of rhinos and the protection of the rangers. If you are able, please donate via PayPal.


Philippa, Lions Den and Dingle Dell; 3 of the rhinos @ the Centre.





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Did you know?

Although white and black rhinos fight, black rhinos are notoriously aggressive, and actually have the highest rate of death among mammals in fights among the same species.  50% of males and 30% of females die from these intra-species fights.

black rhino fight 1


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Nairobi wildlife under threat

Sitting in a hot car, unmoving; breathing in diesel fumes, waiting for the police to wave your car through….and waiting, and waiting. What should be a simple 10 minute trip across the city turns into an hour plus nightmare.  Chicago traffic is a delight in comparison to Nairobi traffic.

nairobi traffic

Nairobi is among the worst in the world when it comes to traffic issues.

Currently traffic comes through the heart of the city; from locals to freight vehicles coming from the port of Mombasa traveling into Kenya, as well as into neighboring Uganda and South Sudan.

It’s easy to see Nairobi desperately needs updated infrastructure and change. In fact, in 2014, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero said that the city’s traffic costs the country an estimated $570,000 a day in lost productivity.

But what does this mean to wildlife? In particular the Nairobi National Park, situated just 4 miles (7 km) outside of the country’s capital,  an electric fence is the only boundary separating city from wildlife.

banner-nairobi-national-park by all time safaris

Nairobi National Park Photo:

The country’s first wildlife park was established in 1946 when traffic was non-existent, the city population only at approximately 170,000. Today’s population is almost 4 million.

The country’s largest, most rapidly expanding city needs room to grow, but must simultaneously preserve the delicate balance of its wildlife.

Nairobi National Park

The park is currently partially surrounded by roads and fences, but has an open area to the south allowing for wildlife corridors.

Proposed railway no text

The proposed plans for the railway inside the Park. The preferred government route is the light blue line, virtually splitting the park in half.

The fear is eventually the park will become broken up, and/or surrounded by infrastructure and human encroachment, essentially turning the park into more of a zoo.

Directing necessary developments around the park, and preserving wildlife corridors is vital to the future of Kenya’s rhinos, elephants, lions and others. Please take a moment to encourage Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta to preserve the integrity of the Nairobi National Park. VOTE now!

Vote to save Park




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Jimmy the “pet” rhino

In 2007, photographer David Hulme came across a baby black rhino near the body of his poached mother. He took the little orphan to family friends, Anne and Roger Whittall, in Zimbabwe.

They named him Jimmy. Incredibly, they successfully raised him, and he quickly became a part of the family, bonding with Anne and befriending the family dogs. Even years after he was released, he still came to visit them regularly.

Jimmy Rhino at dining table by caters news agency

Jimmy rhino at kitchen window by caters news agency

Jimmy Rhino still visits Carters News Agency

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Because every so often hearts need to be lifted

This video is three years old. Ntombi’s not so little anymore, but this bit of footage still serves as my reminder of what we fight so hard for, and as medicine to settle my often broken heart.



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