Back stateside, after 2 weeks in the bush… we learned so much, met fantastic people with great minds and passion for wildlife, and were able to re-focus as we looked into both current and new strategies in our part in the poaching war.
Starting off in the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) , Fight for Rhinos sponsored the dehorning of one of two poaching survivors, and personally sponsored the other. They are well cared for and coming along nicely in their rehabilitation.
We left HESC feeling satisfied and productive after meeting with such professional and experienced people. As we arrived at the airport, a chopper flew low overhead. A moment later we heard of a possible poaching.
A feeling of dread set in, mind racing, as we wondered about the rhinos we had just seen, both in the Centre and in the bush. Was it one of them?
Unfortunately, being anywhere in Africa it seems wi-fi is spotty at best. It was a couple of days before we heard that not just one, but FOUR rhino were poached in Hoedspruit.
Funny that it should matter being there, as opposed to hearing about it from behind the laptop. But emotion doesn’t often make sense. And sitting in the airport, I felt like we should have been able to help them somehow.
It took some time to shake that feeling, it weighed heavy on me. But having so much further to go, so many more people to meet, I tried to focus on the rest of our agenda.
Thankfully there were many parts of our visit that brought us hope. Veterinary staff, APU teams, guides and rangers alike helped shed light on their needs, their vision, their eagerness to push forward and protect the rhinos.
A member of the HESC team touched my heart as she gifted me a bottle of Rhino Tears wine (the purchase of which supports rhino conservation). I immediately decided if it made it’s way home unscathed by the airlines, we will not be indulging until the poaching crisis reaches a turning point. It sits in my kitchen as a reminder of what’s still left to do.
So as we celebrate another World Rhino Day, we’re really celebrating another year with the existence of rhinos in the wild. Another precious year, another chance to get it right.
We appreciate your support, and look forward to sharing our new strategies and plans soon. In the meantime, keep sharing, tweeting, and raising awareness! Together we will keep making a difference.