Posts Tagged With: Endangered species

Rangers: the Frontline on the Rhino War

Wealthy Asian businessmen , airport seizures of horn and ivory, silent apathy from politicians, ongoing heated trade debates…a ferocious circle surrounding and depleting our rhinos and elephants. Yet, at the center of it all, on the blood soaked savanna stand the rangers.

Kws monument 2

The monument outside of KWS headquarters honors the fallen rangers.

Under the blazing sun or in pouring rain, no weekends or holidays, for little pay and high stakes-they are the only real obstacle standing between the poachers and the rhinos.

Often outgunned and outnumbered, each day is war. In Kenya hundreds of rangers have been shot in the last 3 years, and 13 killed.

A recent report from the Kenyan government sited “low morale” as being a huge problem in the bush for the Kenyan Wildlife Service rangers.

Is it any wonder?

Leaving their families for long periods of time, not knowing if they will see them again, often met with distrust and dislike from their own communities, they face death every day.

kws with poached rhino

KWS rangers stand over the carcass of a poached rhino.

What’s life like for a ranger? Here is a Q & A with a 14-year Namibian ranger. (see Unsung Heroes)

Q: What is a typical day on patrol like for you?

“Well its early up….after breakfast of only food in tins we start patrolling to see if we can’t find tracks of animals or poachers…..after we find tracks we follow…..till we get what we want. Sometimes we have to walk hours and lots of km a day to see the Rhinos or any other wildlife. We get to camp at dark and still have to make food, after that we get a few hours of sleep. Then comes night patrol. We have poachers coming at night to shoot the animals so we  have to be alert at all times. We get so tired but we help each other to stay awake.

This goes on for 10 to 15 days in  one area then we move again to the next.”

Q: What determines where you patrol? And how many of you are there at a time?

“We help lodges and farmers that breed wild animals and try to protect them. We have no routine, we go as we think its time or on request of the owners. We also work on the highways; that we do with police or the army. We help with road blocks and patrol with them helping with tracking and so on. We are about 30 guys depending on how much money we can get (as I pay them for their families, and for their supplies). Sometimes its only 6 guys.”

Q: Where does the funding come from?

“We get donations from people and the places where we work also help us with food for the periods.”

Q: It seems you must have a lot to take with you-the essentials for camping equip and food, weapons,etc?

“The weapons are our own, the tents we buy from china shops here. They are cheap but not strong so we have to change them out about every second month or so. We take nothing from nature ….no hunting or fishing for food….we take all with us when we go.”

Q: Do you have a lot of run-ins with poachers?

“Yes. We have a lot of run- ins with poachers….its easy to meet them when you live with them in the bush.”

Q: What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve been in?

“Well in 2005 one of our unit members was killed in a shoot out, but we caught them after 2 days of tracking. We were on highway patrol when we came upon the poachers. They started shooting at us as they tried to drive off….luckily none of us got shot THAT night too.”

Q: What’s the most rewarding situation you’ve had?

“One area in Namibia had a poaching problem for about 3 years…they heard of us and asked for help. We went in with about 12 members. We caught the poachers; they were police and nature conservation members along with the tribe king’s son. That was my best bust ever…..just their faces said it all.”

Q: What do you wish you had to make your job easier, more effective?

“Funds to get better equipment….this will make any job better and easy to do. We would  like to go on horse back doing bush patrols and when we move from one area to another we would like to  have some type of transport to help with the load. It’s nice working by foot but it can drain your body very quickly.”

Q: How does this fit in with married life and family? Is it difficult or do you get used to it?

“Yes it’s not easy on our lives if you have a wife and kids, but my wife understands and she is also into nature. You will never get used to it -being away from home. It’s very hard work..meaning the sun is really hot here, and  animals don’t stay in one place,  you have to follow them to make sure they are safe so its long distance walking.  And at  the same time you have to be alert for danger like wild animals, snakes and poachers. It’s not easy but I think it’s the best job in the world.”

Please help us support the rangers! We NEED them! For every 5 shirts purchased, we will send 1 to a Kenyan ranger. 

Support Rhinos and Rangers

armed guard rhinos

Armed ranger stands over rhinos at Ol Pejeta Consrevancy.





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Support Rhinos and Rangers

For a LIMITED TIME! Fight for Rhinos with the purchase of this Tee!!! Available July 25 ~ Aug-14

Please show your support for rhinos AND rangers, while you show the world your dedication to their plight.


Support Rhinos and Rangers

FFR T both views

FFR tank






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World Cup Rhinos

Even the rhinos are getting caught up in the excitement of the World Cup!

Gertje playing soccer 2

Gertje at the Hoedspruit Centre.


Gertje playing soccer


baraka decides again

Baraka, the rhino ambassador at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, has been choosing the winning team (well sometimes).


baraka decides

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As The Body Count Builds, So Does the Bullshit

CITES is currently meeting again. Discussions on the fate of our rhinos are taking place as you’re reading this.

As poachers kill, and rangers fight, CITES is talking. While the slaughter continues, CITES is handing out certificates.

CITES certificates for explemplary enforcement

Nepal, China, Kenya and the Lusaka Agreement Task Force recognized for exemplary enforcement efforts.

Looking at the CITES agenda, some of the recommendations on the rhino are as follows:

*Mozambique should develop a national rhino horn action plan, with timeframes and milestones, and submit this to the Secreteriat by 8th August 2014.

*Mozambique is requested to submit a comprehensive report on progress in the implementation of its national rhino action plan, and on any other action taken… to be submitted to the Secretariat by 31st January 2015.

*Viet Nam is requested to provide a further comprehensive report on actions taken…including, in particular, by providing an update on the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Directive On strengthening the direction and implementation of measures for controlling and protecting endangered, rare and precious wild animals, and a detailed update on update on arrests, seizures, prosecutions and penalties for offences related to illegal rhinoceros horn possession and trade in Viet Nam…to be submitted to the Secretariat by 31st January 2015.

And what happens if they don’t receive these reports? Or if the reports are showing these countries are failing? Non-compliance will be met with….what?


558 rhinos have been killed this year (OSCAP)

It is time to enact sanctions against the offending parties. Our wildlife deserves better than “talk”. It is time for action, swift and decisive action. There isn’t time for anything else.

Please sign: Lobby CITES to list the SA Southern White Rhino in Appendix one

CITES-Don’t legalize the sale of rhino horns worldwide










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Make it Count

The latest  photo causing a stir on the internet is an elite cheerleader with a “Let’s go, Let’s win!” smile plastered to her face. Except instead of pom-pons in her hand she’d holding a gun and standing over the body of a rhino.

She is one of many well-to-do Americans and Europeans whose hobby consists of bloodshed of African wildlife: trophy hunting. The $200 million dollar industry operates in 14 African countries, with South Africa being the largest.

Although disturbing to look at, it is not illegal. The current global laws in the US and Europe allow trophies to be imported into the country, following some guidelines.

Yet over 150,000 people have signed a petition to have her photos removed. Before her it was Melissa Bachman and Corey Knowlton. Assuming the photos ARE removed, what does that change?

Although public concern is welcome, why are we singling these people out? Why give them the attention? They are participating in a Legal activity. Outrage and energy are being misdirected.

Sign petitions and write letters to change laws, not people. If a fraction of those signatures on a photo removal could be directed to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, it COULD make an impact.

Director Daniel M Ashe: Ban Endangered African Animal Trophy Imports From Namibia

Ban Breeding, Trading, and Trophy Hunting of Wildlife in South Africa

Ban Lion Trophy Imports into the US

Globally United Against Trophies into EU and US (on facebook)

Let’s focus and work together to stop the machine, not just it’s parts.








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Your Dollars Working for Rhinos

Helping Rhinos & Fight for Rhinos Donation Spending for June

rpa-gyropterIn June we are delighted to provide enough funding to cover 6 months gyrocopter pilot salary to Reserve Protection Agency, totalling £3,300.  The newly launched gyrocopter will cover a number reserve’s in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and experience has shown that having  an ariel presence is a real deterrent to poachers. We hope that this increased ariel presence in the area will help reduce the incidents of poaching as well as provide other key conservation benefits.

fatu-150-pixWe are also delighted to confirm that the funds raised through our adopt a rhino scheme for the first half of 2014 total £2,500.  This is amount is now on its way to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya and will be used to fund additional training for Ol Pejeta’s Head of Armed teams, including a 3 week visit to Kruger National Park to spend time with their Special Operations team.  This is a great example of different organisations working together for the good of the rhinos, and strategy we are very keen to support.  Help us to keep supporting Ol Pejeta by adopting a rhino today – simply click here.

black-mamba-trainingIn June we also were able to provide £900 to one of the Balule reserves in Limpopo, South Africa.  This funding will provide 12 months food the the Black Mambas anti-poaching team.  The Balule area, adjacent to the Kruger National Park is and forms part of the Greater Kruger Park.  It is an area target by poachers due to the overall rhino population, sheer vastness of the area and its proximity to the Mozambique border.  We hope this donation will help keep the key anti-poaching unit in place for the next 12 months at a minimum.

game_reserves_united_logoWe were very pleased to be able to continue to support Game Reserves United this quarter with a donation of £1,600.  Watch this space for details on how the funds will be used by GRU


helen-webAnd finally, thanks to a grant from Paradise Wildlife Park, we were able to provide£1,000 to researcher Caroline Rees in Botswana.  Caroline is researching how 6 rhinos adapt to being translocated from South Africa to Botswana.  This is vital research as there are plans to translocate a further 100 rhinos over the coming months and knowing how they will adapt is key to the success of the translocation.  Find out more about Caroline’s research here

Please help us continue our work! We can’t do it without you. Donate today.

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Not Just Rhinos


~Poaching perspective from Lawrence Munro, a ranger with the regional wildlife agency in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province~

bib head dark rhino

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Rhino Orphans







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It’s Time to Get Furious

Rhino Friday fury

(via Ayesha Cantor)

1722 rhino poached out of Kruger National Park since 2010

Enviro journalist, Elise Templehof, recently visited the Mozambiquan town of Messingir where she met a young man, Fàbio Ngovene -20 (name changed to protect him ) who would like to see an end to rhino poaching.

He carries a dirty notebook with him, pages and pages containing the names, into the hundreds, of local people who have been arrested over the last few years for rhino related crimes.

‘’ Each one of them caught with rhino horns in their possession, brought before a court of law and simply let go again’’ he says.

Fabio reckons that all the 25 000 residents of this village rely solely on the false economy created by rhino poaching.

The town of Massingir, resulted in the building of the Massingir dam and was expected to develop & grow as Eco Tourism to the area grew, however, there is absolutely no sign of tourism in this area. It would appear that the ever-growing residents of Messingir, are doing very well without any obvious industry if one goes by the double story houses and luxury 4 x4’s that can be found all over this town.

(Gettin angry yet?)
Even Mozambiques president, ­Armando Guebuza, was impressed having said, during a recent visit to the town ‘’This is how a town should look that is benefiting from a growing economy’’ .

Fabio also says that when he personally told the President the REAL reason behind this so-called economic growth, he simply nodded his head and had nothing further to say.

(How about now?)
Fabio and his ‘merry band of mates’ are fighting an underground war against the people who have become stinking rich off the back of our rhino, since 2011.
He mentions three kingpins by name, in particular a Mr Navara. These individuals in particular, lived in modest mud houses in poverty, just a few years ago. Now they live in obvious and opulent luxury.

South Africa’s Green Scorpions reckon that there are as many as 20 syndicate bosses operating in Massingir and another 10 in Maputo.
According to  Martins Antonio, a private investigator working in this area, rhino horns from poached KNP rhino are transported via helicopter from Messigir to Maputo

A shopping centre owner ( Name withheld by RAPPORT due to legal implications ) then takes possession of the horns and with the help of diplomats from the Vietnamese Embassyin Maputo, shipped to the East. The shopping centre owner is apparently house friends with Mosambiques president.
Jeremy Anderson of the  Wildlife and Environment Society in South Africa (Wessa) says the SAP and Organised Crime have been aware of ‘Mr Navara’s’ activities and his whereabouts for the last two years, yet nothing has been done to apprehend him.


The full RAPPORT article –


And is if the above is not insult enough, read on ….

‘’ Some Mozambican policemen are also involved, by hiring guns out to poachers, Couto said.

He noted that the same police gun was seized from poachers in South Africa and returned to the Mozambican police three times.

Police involvement in poaching was so rampant that the entire police unit in Massingir, on the border with the Kruger Park, was transferred at the start of this year.Poaching had also “contaminated” staff in the Limpopo National Park. Couto said that several wardens and senior park officials were recently sacked for their involvement in these illicit activities.

Full report –



It becomes increasingly difficult to have faith in our authorities, but what choice do we have as ordinary citizens we are not in any way part of any decision-making, we are not privy to what is ACTUALLY going on and hear only snippets of info as contained in the above articles.

What we do have are our voices. I urge you to put ‘pen to paper’ and appeal to the authorities to do much, MUCH more than they say they already are.


Albi Modise – Chief Director: Communications/Spokesperson at National Department of Environmental Affairs


Mozambique High Commisioner – His Excellency, Fernando A Fazenda
Fax: +27 12 326 6388


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One Special Rhino



As if timing his arrival to perfectly coincide with 2012-13 as International Year of the Rhino, Sumatran rhino calf “Andatu” was born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in the wee hours of 23 June. This is the first Sumatran rhino birth at a breeding centre in Indonesia, and has been heralded as a critical step towards the species’ conservation.

This year this special guy turns 2 years old!

So what do you get a star rhino for his birthday (he even has his own facebook page)?

Consider purchasing his book, One Special Rhino, written and illustrated by fifth graders at the P.S. 107 John W. Kimball Learning Center, an elementary school in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

It tells the story of his life at the Way Kambas rhino sanctuary, his species’ fight for survival and what children can do to help save rhinos.The year-long project was a collaboration between the P.S. 107 Beast Relief committee and the International Rhino Foundation.

Andatu as a baby

Andatu as a baby

All proceeds from sale of the book will go directly to the International Rhino Foundation for the care, feeding and protection of Andatu and rhinos like him.

For more on Andatu, see previous post: Happy Birthday Andatu



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