You want to see rhinos on your holiday? Vacation to Kruger National Park, South Africa-home to 90% of the world’s remaining rhino.
With promise of witnessing Africa’s Big 5, that’s just what a group of Belgium tourists did. On final days of the trip, having seen everything BUT a rhino, they were excited to finally see one of these beautiful elusive rhino come galloping out of the bush, only to realize…
“it was moving very slowly towards the vehicle, and when I got the pictures, I looked over my photo equipment and noticed the rhino’s horns were missing.”
“At that moment everybody got very emotional and the rhino disappeared back into the bush. It was at that moment we realised we were seeing something that has never happened before. It’s very emotional for all of us. I couldn’t stop crying. You can’t stop crying when you see something that outrageous”, said Louis Dillen, one of the tourists on the safari.
Horrible, heartbreaking, devastating to bear witness to…BUT is there a bright side to this brutality?
One of the tourists was the personal aide to the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister,Johan Maricou . After the incident, Maricou expressed outrage, stating
“I urge the South African government to put this at the top of their agenda.”
“…South Africa carries a certain responsibility. But without international co-operation and agreements, especially with Asian countries where the demand is mostly, this is a very difficult issue.”
With poaching rearing its ugly head directly in the face of tourists, especially one so closely connected in the political community, this is a wake-up call. If Kruger, or South Africa itself, wants to continue making profit from tourism, things Must change.
Belgium is aware and watching, and after the photo went viral this past week, so is the rest of the world.
Fresh off the London Summit on Wildlife Trafficking, where 50 countries attended to get serious about putting an end to illegal trafficking, this may be another push toward change.
As horrific and haunting as this must have been, she is one of thousands who have been slaughtered over the last several years; 2-3 a day, every day.