Rangers go out on patrol for days at a time, in the wet, the heat, the cold to battle the unknown. But before they head out, they gather in the lecture/mess tent; to learn, to prepare, to eat, to share fellowship.
This is the scenario for our friends at NKWE, a wildlife security group training and employing rangers for nature reserves around Limpopo, and assisting SAPS in poaching investigations.
Recently their headquarters tent was torn in half by a storm, leaving them without a dry, shaded area for their gathering, a crucial part of their daily operation.
In addition to being the headquarters for their rangers, they also utilize the tent to assist the local community preparing food during community events; an important part of building relationships and trust with the locals.
NKWE prides itself on high standards of training, with a 12 month program in place in order for rangers to reach competency. The costs for such a lengthy and in-depth training is immense, with costs of R100,000 per recruit.
For this reason, they need our help.
The tent is $971 to replace. Your donations would be immensely helpful. Please go to PayPal on our page and donate what you can.
With the recent tragedy at Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, the staff are doing their best to heal and pick up the pieces. There has been an outpouring of donations and support. Now we must be sure that justice is served. Please sign the following petition.
Even the outright horror of this recent attack hasn’t effected the South African governments intent to allow trade.
Although CITES is against it, evidence does not support it, and their so-called “legal” trade will only serve to fuel and mask the already illegal trade, Edna Molewa and the government are planning on going forward. Please sign this petition from the International Humane Society and voice your concern. This MUST not go forward!
Together, we must persevere in our pursuit of justice. Together, we must be the voice for the voiceless.
Lions are majestic
Elephants have a certain grace,
But I prefer the shorter pachyderms
with the stoic face.
Cheetahs are poetry in motion
Zebras-a fixture on the veldt,
But it’s the fur-lined “lily” ears
that make my heart melt.
Rhinos are gentle giants
self-assured & wrinkled with attitude,
there are none quite so impressive
both in crash or solitude.
From the tufted tail
to the tip of that impressive horn,
I pledge my loyalty
to Africa’s unicorn.
Money talks. It’s the basis for corruption and the decimation of wildlife. BUT it’s also paramount to protecting our animals and their wilderness.
YOUR tourism dollars and YOUR choice on spending them can make a difference.
In 2015 PLOS Biology did a global study to try to calculate the value of ecotourism. They estimated that protected nature areas attract 8 billion visits per year. (That’s more than 1 visit per person on earth.)
Researchers then calculated how much 8 billion visits are worth and came up with $600 billion per year.
In Africa alone, it is estimated by 2030 some countries will see 134 million tourists. –United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Tourism stabilizes communities by providing jobs, protects the wildlife by making them the focus of these jobs, and of course provides an opportunity of a lifetime to the tourist.
One of our greatest passions at Fight for Rhinos is in helping canine anti-poaching units. Dogs are a huge game-changer in the poaching war!
On average 2 rhinos and 96 elephants are slaughtered each day.
In the last ten years over 1,000 rangers have been killed.
Should there be a shoot-to-kill policy? Would it help? The controversy is widely debated.
But what do the rangers think?
I spoke to several rangers to get their thoughts.
One ranger said,
“Most of the poachers are poor locals surrounding the wildlife reserves and they see the reserves as their source of income. What is needed is to empower people near the reserves economically, pass on scheme of goats, dairy cows, sending poor children to school… they will become role models to the community and people will begin to appreciates the importance of conserving animals.
We can shoot ten poachers a day, suppose they are all men- surely their families will suffer and later become poachers as means of survival. We shoot at poachers when our lives and that of our friends are in danger but shooting down any poacher it’s not solution.”
Another who works in a large reserve said,
“I don’t think it will help because we normally look for deep information & investigations on a suspect caught that may lead to their middlemen, bosses etc.”
But overall most of them were in favor of the policy.
“Keeping them alive sometimes does not help because the source of poaching is dealing with big people, often from government offices. So it’s a bit risky for the rangers who arrest them.”
“This thing of arrest, it throws us backwards to winning this war of poaching. The more that are arrested, the more they are replaced by new poachers.”
“In courts things turn ugly for most of our rangers who killed poachers due to poachers kingpins paying prosecutors money to let their associates off the hook. (If it were a policy, the government would support rangers without the extensive interrogation)
“Yes, yes, yes! They should be shot. Because the rhinos are killed, but also the rangers. I think it is the only way to win this war.”
What a year! While rhino poaching persists, so does the war to stop it. This year thanks to the generosity and concern from all of you, we have managed to provide much needed help to the following:
Kruger Park APU
$2370.00 usd to human tracker training— We received a plea for help from a ranger who was part of a smaller APU in southern Kruger. They had been hit by the poaching of rhino in their area and felt they needed to be better equipped to prevent being hit again.
We were able to provide human tracker training where they learned more about early detection in suspicious human activity, (i.e. poaching camps, tracks, snares) apprehension of suspicious individuals,and gathering intelligence and evidence.
Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
$5500.00 usd to APU canine training–The centre specializes in cheetahs and various wildlife rehabilitation, but with the large number of rhinos being poached, there is a huge need for help rehabilitating the rhino orphans.
Having taken in several rhinos, the need for increased security includes initiating a canine unit for their APU. We started with Chloe, one of the APU dogs for the entire Kapama area (of which HESC is a part). From there, we were able to help with HESC’s own canine unit, including Zee and Bullet.
The training includes the advanced levels for all dogs, including a trainer from the Centre who will accompany them.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
$3000.00 usd to anti-poaching supplies— Home to the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa, as well as the last three Northern White Rhinos on the planet, security is probably THE most urgent need for Ol Pejeta. Everything from boots and tents to training and upgrades are needed to benefit the APUs. (More details to follow).
Thank you for fighting with us in this poaching war. Your donations are not taken lightly. For each amount given leads to action taken to protect rhinos and to keep rangers safe. Please continue to work with us, together we ARE making a difference!
For the smallest and most unique species of rhino, it is a race against time to try to re-populate the Sumatran rhino species. Indonesia and Malaysia are the only areas they are still thought to exist.
In Indonesia there are fewer than 80 left and in Malaysia, the situation is even more urgent, with only three Sumatrans remaining.
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) supports two critical efforts in Indonesia; 1) they maintain 12 Rhino Protection Units to protect against poaching and
2)support the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), a 250 acre area where a handful of rhinos are given the utmost of care in an intensely managed research and breeding program.
The SRS has been home to rhinos who were born from successful breeding efforts at the Cincinnati Zoo, including the latest resident, Harapan. (see previous post: The Journey of Hope)
Yet in Malaysia, all Sumatrans are thought to be extinct in the wild. So efforts are solely focused on the only 3 rhinos left; the male, Tam, and females Puntung and Iman.
The Borneo Rhino Alliance manages the three, and shoulders one of the greatest responsibilites-creating more rhinos. As the situation is so dire, the hope lies in advanced reproductive technology.
Teaming up with experts from around the world, attempts are underway to create the world’s first test tube Sumatran rhino embryo and implant it into a viable surrogate.
This may be the only chance for the species, but it’s a costly endeavor. As of June 2016, the group has run out of funds, and won’t be able to continue much longer. To remain operational for the next two years, they need USD$900’000.
To help, please donate at Saving the Sumatran Rhino. Help keep hope alive.