Dare to Hope

Stop the presses!


Rub your eyes, read it again. Yes, this is for real. American philanthropist, Howard Buffett donated this phenomenal amount to SANParks (South Africa National Parks) on Monday.

Buffet is no stranger to charitable contributions in Africa, having made previous donations toward alleviating poverty, with particular concentration on areas of conflict. He sees this as a link in the chain, stating

“When you see what conflict does to people, you cannot turn away. That conflict is fuelled by rhino horns, elephant ivory.”

Howard Buffett in Cameroon.

Long-term plan

Over the next 30 months, there is a campaign in place throughout Kruger National Park to stomp out poaching through improved intelligence. It will provide

the rangers with badly needed technology and equipment. Some of the equipment will include:

  • aerostat balloons
  • helicopters
  • land vehicles equipped with electronic sensors to track poachers
  • fencing sensors near the Mozambique border
An aerostat balloon similar to this one along the Mexican/US border, will be used as the “eye in the sky” to monitor Kruger National Park.

According to SANParks CEO David Mabunda this is a “bankable project” since South Africa contains the world’s only viable rhino population. Indeed they are home to over 80% of the world’s remaining rhino. For every international tourist in Africa, eight jobs are created. Without the Big Five like the rhino, there are no safaris, thus no jobs.

“All we need is a game-changer … this donation will give us technology. We need to know when the poachers pitch up on our border so that we are ready for them and have a kind of welcome for them, ” said Mabunda.

As part of the answer to the war on poaching, in 2012 retired military major General Johan Jooste was named to lead the charge. According to Edna Molewa, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in SA, Jooste’s plan was “starting to bear fruit”.

If this is true, could the generosity of Buffett be just the push the rhinos need? Dare we hope?

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