Posts Tagged With: education

Reading, Writing and Anti-Poaching

According to studies, children’s academic performance in science, math, English and social sciences increase when they have experience with nature and the outdoors—not to mention their sense of ownership and responsibility to their surroundings.(Wildlife Federation)

kenyan school childrenSo it only makes sense to include conservation as part of their education. Afterall, who better to entrust our future generations of rhinos and elephants to than the children?

There are organizations throughout Africa who give the opportunity of conservation education to children. But Kenya has taken it a step further,  getting with the times by introducing anti-poaching and conservation curriculum to secondary schools in the Masai Mara and Serengeti areas.

We decided to introduce lessons on wildlife conservation to these schools to sensitise communities that neighbour the Mara and Serengeti parks on the need to end poaching. The students will visit villages to educate locals on the dangers posed by the menace,”
 said Nick Murero, the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem Coordinator.

In the areas of Kenya and Tanzania, tourism is a multi-billion dollar business, essential to the livlihood and economies of both countries. It only makes sense to teach the value of wildlife to the children; in theory, it will spread to the local villages, planting the seed of hope for future generations.

             What You Can Do For Your Children

We can all teach our children the importance of protecting our planet. It is our global responsibility.

*Encourage appreciation of nature and wildlife through taking hikes and camping
*Read books to and with your children
*Subscribe to conservation/wildlife magazines and websites
*Teach respect through involvement (i.e recycling, adopting or fostering shelter animals, writing letters to congressmen)

Many conservation/anti-poaching groups offer materials to children to help educate and raise awareness to the plight of our dwindling wildlife.  See the following for resources:

International Anti-poaching Foundation
Save the Rhino
Children for Africa
National Geographic Kids
WWF green books


boy with maalim baby rhino

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do South Africans even know they have rhinos?

Is South African ignorance and apathy killing rhinos? paula with ele 2

From Kenyan wildlife advocate Paula Kahumbu

Dear friends,

I travel to South Africa regularly to speak at major conservation conferences. I always hope to be surprised by finding this country’s Wangari Mathaai. So far the only person of colour at one meeting was a photographer. A few days ago, my taxi driver told me he had no idea if South Africa had rhinos! I have been told that Africans dont know, dont care, and are simply not interested or worthy of engaging. My view is that THIS IS TOTAL BOLLOCKS and represents dangerous thinking. People of colour in South Africa are propably the only people with the power to move their leadership.

Zuma is unlikely to listen to a rabid Kenyan!
WHATS AT STAKE? South Africa is about to propose a re-opening of rhino horn trade that could wipe out the species.
The decision to open trade or not, should involve the people of this country, just as Kenyans lobby to save elephants. But I have not met a single person of colour in SA who is aware that the world is poised on the edge of rhino extinction due to SA policies.

On 19th May I speak at The WILDLIFE IN CRISIS conference at Cape Town University. It will be a tense debate between pro and anti trade advocates.
I need your help to reach out to South Africans to attend, learn, and engage in this debate.
I need your help to reach South Africans, especially previously disenfranchised groups, to come to the 3 day event which is free to the public.
Please out me in touch with teachers, politicians, CEO’s, journalists, bloggers, university profs, students, experts, diplomats etc, as quickly as possibke.

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Our Future Wildlife Warriors

one special rhino brooklyn ps 107

Brooklyn ps 107 kids help write “One Special Rhino” to benefit rhino conservation.

There’s no doubt the future of our wildlife will be a continuous battle, carrying on into future generations. Educating kids about the peril and the importance of our wildlife is vital not only for their survival but for the health of the planet.

RHino children books


*The book “One Special Rhino, The Story of Andatu” is written by kids at a New York elementary school and proceeds benefit the International Rhino Foundation.

*“Chitzi’s Tale” is written by Jack Jones and 100% of proceeds benefit TUSK.

*A more recent book “An Elephant Called Butterfly” is written by Marian Hailey-Moss benefits elephant conservation and will soon be available on Amazon.


One of the best ways to discuss and educate is through the orphans. With the plethora of babies and orphanages, there is no shortage of videos and photos to share.

Whether rhino, elephant, gorilla or tiger…be involved, get your kids involved. You might just be raising the next Daphne Sheldrick or Jane Goodall.








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Got 99 Problems but the Rhino Ain’t One rhinos

As rhino activists hell-bent on their survival, it’s difficult to understand that out of all countries on the Earth, why South Africa isn’t more involved in their salvation? The majority of all rhinos survive there, so it would seem logical for them to be more proactive.

But, looking more closely at the country and government itself, they are plagued with pressing issues.


As with many African countries AIDS is a perpetual concern. The SA HIV/AIDS rate is at 17.8% (one of the highest in the world) 2 million South Africans have been killed by it.

aids sa graph 2014



The country has a two-tiered education system. There seem to be few good schools; and those are fiercely competitive and expensive, assuring only the wealthier children a good education.

In 2013 although 78% of public school students passed their final, 31% had grades good enough to qualify for universities. The rest are faced with an uncertain future as unemployment runs high.


The current rate of joblessness stands at 24%. Youth unemployment (under 25) stands at a staggering 65%!

A decade ago, a person with a high school degree had a 50 percent chance of getting a job. Today, that figure is 30 percent. According to South Africa’s Labour Force Survey, for the last quarter of 2013, two-thirds of all unemployed South Africans were under the age of 35.

SA unemployment

SA’s unemployed look for jobs.


From the crisis of unemployment and education, poverty is born. The division between rich and poor is one of the widest in the world. Although SA is not as stricken as many African countries, 4 million people are living at or below the poverty line.


The cities of Maseru and Cape Town have the distinction of being on the 10 cities with the highest murder rates list.

The overall murder rate in the nation is 31.9 per 100,000 people, 30 times that of Great Britain. For police it’s 51 out of 100,000. For farmers, who are overwhelmingly white, the rate soars to 99 out 100,000.

And that is part of another issue-the racial divide. The attacks on South African farmers make it twice as dangerous to be a farmer than a police officer. While the government has argued that there is no evidence of organised attacks, white farmers believe these attacks are evidence of a campaign to drive them off their land.

Zuma/Political Corruption

The extent of all of these economic and human issues, as with any country, is controlled by its leadership. There is no Mandela in South Africa. There is only Jacob Zuma.

zuma and wife in dc

Zuma with one of his wives in front of the White House for the US Africa Leaders Summit.

Zuma is a president who seemingly spends more time and money on his own interests and family than on the people of the country. Suspicions are he has spent tax payer money on his private home improvements and additions, totalling approximately $23 million dollars.

He has fanned the flames of racial division, and has had charges of corruption, fraud, rape and unethical conduct brought against him. They all seem to eventually get dropped. Yet the level of distrust remains.  Is it any wonder with a man whose middle name, Gedleyihlekisa, means “the one who laughs while he endangers you”?

Zuma recently told a US audience that Israel and Palestine should take advice from South Africa about resolving their violent conflict. Although at rally parties he sings and dances to his signature song, “Awuleth’ Umshini Wami,” or “Bring Me My Machine Gun.”

And in the middle of it all-THIS is where our rhino resides.

sabi sabi rhino

Although there is always hope for change, let’s face it- our rhino is NOT the priority to the SA government. It is not something South Africa can tackle on it’s own. It will take a global effort to fight and win this war.

Petition: President Zuma & Minister Molewa-Stop all hunting of Kruger Nat Parks Big Game










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A Teacher’s Take on Ending Poaching

As a teacher in special education, if there’s one thing I know well, it’s PBIS: Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports.

The idea of PBIS is replacing punishment-based strategies (reprimands, loss of privileges) with more positive student support (rewards, incentives). In other words: “After you finish your work, you can have recess” instead of “Finish your work or you will stay inside.”

Technically the end is the same, but the approach is more inspiring. Rewards are more motivating than punishment is a deterrent.

Dangling the Carrot

dangling carrot

Poaching can be looked at much the same way. Save the animals, earn a job (via tour guide, hotel/camp employee, driver, etc). See the benefits of the wildlife in your backyard and take advantage of preserving it.

The perfect example of positivity and motivation is in Zimbabwe’s Lowveld Rhino Trust. They provide financial support to schools in the community. The catch is if area poaching is on the increase, the funds get pulled to apply toward extra anti-poaching measures instead. As long as poaching is down, the schools reap the benefit. This program is supported by community pressure-no one wants to be the poacher on the receiving end of village scorn when the children are deprived of education. (See previous post: Zimbabwe Leads the Way).

Another success story is the Amnesty Scheme in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Congo. Poachers are asked to turn themselves in. Why would they do such a thing? For the chance to apply for a job as a park ranger. This has proven to be a winning situation all around; poaching is lessened,  rangers employed, and intel given and acted on resulting in arrests. (See previous post: Second Chances: Success in the Congo).

Sustainable Solution

Bullets and jail time are definite and necessary deterrents. There must be consequences for the decimation of elephants and rhinos. “Shoot to kill” policies and harsh legal penalties demonstrate a country’s strength, conviction and determination to end poaching.

BUT reward and incentive is more sustaining. Showing people what animals can mean to their culture, their livelihood, their families-THIS is what will carry over and have lasting effects. Making money off wildLIFE as opposed to a once off fee for their death is the way toward the preservation of Africa’s elephants and rhinos.

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports-it works for kids AND adults.


Rhino Girl








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South Africa Tourism: A Catch 22

international rhinoOf the world’s most popular travel destinations, South Africa ranked #21. Tourism supports 1 out of every 12 jobs in South Africa,  in total contributing 9% to the total GDP (gross domestic product).

Among the top ten travel hot spots within the country, half are eco-tourism destinations, including the #1 ranked Kruger National Park.

Understandably, the government aims to increase its tourism industry,  in turn fueling the economy.

According to the S.A. tourism director, Ambassador Kingsley Makhubela, “Going forward, we would like to contribute half a trillion rand into South Africa’s economy and create 225,000 jobs (in tourism) by 2020.”

With that being said, “Why doesn’t the government take a stronger stand on poaching and conservation?”

Canned Hunts

The cover page on the South Africa tourism site shows “The Big Five” under the photo of a lion.  Ironic considering that although lions are listed as threatened,  SA is home to  the shameful atrocity of canned hunts. (see: Shooting Fish in a Barrel)

There are now officially more lions in captivity than in the wild. From 2006 to 2011, canned hunts of lions increased by a whopping 122%, with no signs of slowing. In the last 6 years, the number of farm lions has grown by 250%.

Is anything being done to stop this? It would appear not.  In 2010 the South African Supreme Court struck down a law which would have restricted the practice.

bachmanIf the recent outcry of protests against Melissa Bachman (the US hunter shown in a photo with a dead lion after her hunt) is any indication, the majority clearly do not favor or support this practice.


With South Africa being home to 83% of the world’s remaining rhinos, the country is holding all the cards when it comes to saving the rhino from extinction. There has been an escalation in poaching over recent years to the toll of 2-3 rhino being killed per day.

rhino poaching stats 2013

In 2013, although there have been 310 arrests,  how many are actually convicted? The justice system seems inadequate in handing down speedy or consistent sentences. Those who are sentenced, are often released with a minimal fine, only to go out and poach again.

Granted, poaching is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be combated through combined routes of education, economy, and the justice system. But time is not on the rhinos side.

With the lack of action, and decrease of wildlife, some in the tourism industry are fearful of negative repercussions.

Chris Roche of Wilderness Safaris said “Tourist boycotts are harmful and have adverse effects contrary to their intentions,” says Roche. “We would not advocate any real consideration of this as a mechanism in exerting influence on governments. Rather, we believe that the opposite is a far more meaningful action; that tourists actually travelling to locations where poaching, especially of ivory and rhino, is prevalent is the best possible contribution.”

While that is true, it is a catch 22.  No one will pay for wildlife safaris to see grass and trees. Tourism is the jewel of South Africa’s economy. If the tourism industry is to survive, then so must the rhinos, elephants, and lions.

A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at:
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at:
A conservation agency will spend Sh7 million to install new technology to fight poaching in the Maasai Mara.
Read more at:
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