Posts Tagged With: Making a difference

APU gets extra help from YOU


The “Helping Rangers Protect Rhinos” campaign was a success! We’ve reached our goal for an anti-poaching unit in southern Kruger to attend a human-tracking course.

After experiencing loss of rhino in their area, a ranger had come to us for help to attend crucial training in human tracking. According to him  doing this specified human tracking will enable us to see clearly where and how the poachers came and to follow them if they’re inside the park.

The training will take place in early June with the Colin Patrick Training Company, a highly reputable, experienced training organization.

Here is a peek of Colin’s work with a lucky group of individuals:

We thoroughly appreciate contributions from:
Nick DePilla
Matthew Rossetti
Gaetano Bonaviri
Tony Calvelage
two anonymous donors
Carl Wolter
Edward Zullo
Manuel Pardo
Art by Marion
Anita Wilson
Ted Racheau
Angel Rodriguez
Eileen McCloskey

You have helped make a corner of the world safer for a group of men and countless rhinos and elephants!

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Making Rhinos Count in a World of Indifference

Rampant corruption, low employment and high poverty are the unfortunate circumstances surrounding South Africa, the primary home of Earth’s last rhinos. Add to that a high Asian demand for their horns, and it equates to the perfect storm for their demise.

South Africa has lost approximately 1600 black and white rhinos in 2015 (unconfirmed by the government at this point). With poaching spreading like a plague, the death toll has risen dramatically each year, with this year topping all previous ones.

DEA poach statsIn a world where an animal’s horn is worth more than cocaine or gold, the solution to their survival is not an easy one. The answer is a multi-faceted effort of anti-poaching strategies to combat the “here and now”, legal change to make the consequence more dire than the greed, and education and awareness to secure the future.

For our group here in the United States, we support those “on the ground” making a difference in these areas. As an entity, it takes raising not just dollars, but consciousness to do that. We are the facilitators of change, quietly meandering through social media making the desperate plea for the plight of the rhino, and the effects on the communities surrounding them. Trying to educate a population of people lost in reality television and “selfies” is a daunting obstacle all unto itself. Yet, once we do break through – low and behold people DO care!

But how much will awareness help?

Through our blog we told the story of the “Last Male Standing”, focusing on the desperate and solemn life of Sudan, one of the three very last Northern White Rhinos on the Earth. It was circulated by the Dodo, then CNN and the Washington Post; resulting in much-needed donations to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya; the home of the Northern Whites, as well as the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa.

As a result, we were also able to successfully raise funding for them for a rhino audit of ALL rhinos on the conservancy, as well as providing half a dozen GPS devices.

Northern whites in sunset tony karumba AFP

Northern White Rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Photo: Tony Karumba

Since then, there have been funds raised to pour into research to perpetuate the last of their genes. Looking ahead, some Southern White Rhinos were sent from South Africa to California where scientists hope to successfully implant Northern White Rhinos embryos into their Southern counterparts.

Another case where “awareness” played an integral role is that of Cecil the lion. The wave of concern and outrage over the lion’s shady demise prompted the world to take notice, in fact it was the top most searched topic on the internet in all of 2015.

The public outcry created pressure on politicians and corporations that was impossible to ignore. The results?

  • France has banned lion trophy imports and Britain will do so in 2017   
  • 40 airlines have taken a stand to stop the transport of animal trophies.
  • In November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Global Anti-Poaching Act to enhance and support protection to combat wildlife trafficking.
  • Five months after his death, the U.S. has finally listed lions on the Endangered Species list, protecting them and making it more difficult to bring lion trophies back to the country.
cecil 2010

                                Cecil in 2010

The ripple effect is still being felt. There have been petitions to shipping giants FedEx and UPS to stop the transport of wildlife trophies. The hometown of the hunter who killed Cecil, even run ads on the sides of their buses in memory of the lion.

Conservation groups saw a welcomed increase in donations to their projects for endangered big cats. Even groups like ours saw a surge of interest and activity, which reflects not just concern in the trophy hunting controversy or big cats, but in wildlife preservation in general.

How far will it go, how long will Cecil’s memory last? Are people still following the story and life of Sudan? And when is reality too much “doom and gloom” for the world to handle?

We exist in a time when evidence points toward the “sixth mass extinction” on Earth. With 50% of all our wildlife wiped out in the last forty years, and currently 150-200 species of plants and animals going extinct EVERY day, we are facing the largest decimation of species since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. So it seems impossible to ever feel like we’re doing enough, let alone too much.



In September of 2015, our organization, Fight for Rhinos, made the rounds from Hoedspruit in the northeastern part of South Africa to Kruger National Park in the east, and down to the south on the Eastern Cape. Throughout our time spent with field guides, trackers, veterinary staff, reserve managers, anti-poaching units, and ecologists we left no stone unturned in our quest for answers from those with firsthand experience of the poaching crisis; always searching for that “holy grail” solution.

SA trip map

Our recent journey through South Africa.

We interviewed and spoke casually with taxi drivers, airport employees, and housekeeping staff to gain better understanding on the feelings and attitude of poaching within their country.

The conclusion? They’re burnt out. With a giant ad in the Johannesburg airport, anti-poaching signs on fences, and almost daily mentions of poaching incidents in the news; people are becoming desensitized to it all.

In the midst of a corrupt government, racial and social tensions, and with an unemployment rate at a staggering 26%; the country seems to be tapped out of sympathy for its dwindling pachyderms.


Mom and baby white rhinos grazing in Kruger National Park. photo: Fight for Rhinos

So being a conservationist, trying to save a species from the brink of extinction in 2016, suddenly one is faced with more than just biology and ecology as the stumbling blocks. Politics, poverty, economics and apathy are daunting obstacles in this race against time.

Can we save South Africa from their “conservation fatigue”? Does what the rest of us do in our own corners of the world have effect on them? Applying public pressure can and does effect change. It strengthens laws and perhaps most importantly, changes attitudes. Only time will tell if it’s all fast enough to have the necessary impact on our planet’s wildlife.

Either way, we’re left with no choice but to try. After all, who among us is willing to live with that regret if we don’t?

This article was posted in the recent online magazine Live Encounters

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Last Chance Lovers & Fighters!

Sunday, August 9 is the final day for our Limited Edition “Lover & Fighter” tees. ALL proceeds benefit our rhino conservation projects like Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage, Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, and the Black Mambas APU.

Tshirt meme 2


The perfect gift for the rhino lover in your life! Available in 2 styles, multiple colors.

Tshirts 4 color


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Cecil’s Final Roar

The killing of Cecil the Lion demonstrated the reality of “Big Five” trophy hunting, and struck a chord with the world’s conscious.

The fact is that trophy hunting is not only legal, but encouraged in countries as a means of making money. As the adage goes “Money Talks”.

With public criticism and disdain for the hunts,  money is undoubtedly the bottom line with the recent decisions of seven major airlines, who declared they will no longer transport animal parts on their flights.  No airline wants to be seen as complicit in the practice.

This is an example of how public opinion and pressure can fuel change. YOUR voice, YOUR choices do have an impact.

This is a major victory, and we commend the following airlines for taking a stand:

thank you airlines

Photo: Lobby for Lions

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fed Up with the Justice System for Rhinos?

There’s a lot going on with poachers the last couple of weeks. As usual the justice system could use some “encouragement” to do their jobs effectively. It is crucial we join together in signing the following petitions. And for those naysayers who think petitions aren’t enough-go ahead and sit on your hands and let it pass you by. For the rest of you-take every opportunity to make your voices heard and save our rhino!

Remember the words of Dr. William Fowlds, ‘Make a commitment to do one thing every day for rhinos, even if it is just a tweet or a post – if not a day then a week’.

Time is of the essence-On Sept 29, Monday-Hugo Ras and his co-conspirators are counting on getting bail. They are confident they will beat the system as they have done before. These people are responsible for multiple rhino deaths.


Three SANParks employees were arrested for their involvement in rhino poaching. The ONLY thing lower than a poacher-someone entrusted with rhino protection who betrays them!


When the elusive poaching kingpin Chemlong Lemtongthai was finally apprehended and sentenced with 40 years, it set the precedent by sending a strong message of intolerance to poachers. Yet then it was reduced to 30 years. And now, an additional reduction was given of just 13 years! This is a slap in the face to rhinos and conservationists everywhere!


Please sign, share and let’s put these evil people where they belong-IN JAIL-away from rhinos, away from people.

jail not bail






Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

URGENT: Please Help Bring Rhino Poachers to Justice

Kingpin poaching leader Hugo Ras, and his nine co-accused  have been charged with no less than 318 charges regarding their involvement in rhino poaching and related crimes. These people are REPEAT OFFENDERS; they are believed to be responsible for the brutal slaughter and mutilation of 24 rhino, including a pregnant cow and a small calf, in state and privately owned reserves around the country between June 2008 and June 2012.

Hugo Ras

Hugo Ras, serial rhino killer

They were arrested Friday by South African’s Priority Investigation Unit, the Hawks. A spokesperson for the group, Paul Ramaloko called the syndicate’s operations the “serial killing” of rhino.

Via Allison Thompson from OSCAP (Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching), here is a list of the accused:

ras and coconspirators

Ras and his co-conspirators in court.

1. Hugo Ras (Ringleader)
2. Trudie Ras (wife of Hugo)
3. Mandla Magaguka (poacher)
4. Willie Oosthuizen (Organized Crime)
5. Joseph Wilkinson (Attorney)
6. Jacobus Steyn aka Bonnie Steyn (Pilot)
7. Abraham Johannes Smit (Trudi Ras’s brother)
8. Christopher Scheepers aka Mathys (Free State guy)
9. Anton Ras (brother of Hugo)
10. Willem van Jaarsveld (still trying to work out who and what he is).

All the accused are currently in custody as the case was postponed, at the request of the state. BUT we urgently need YOUR help! The accused have the means to flee the country should they be granted bail. Please see the following petition to ask the court to deny Ras and his gang bail. IT WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE FOR A SHORT TIME. PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE IMMEDIATELY.

DENY BAIL to alleged POACHING KINGPIN HUGO RAS and his co-conspirators 

For more on Ras and his crimes, see Julian Rademaker’s excerpt from Killing for Profit:









Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Global March for Elephants and Rhinos

DeathThink it’s not your problem?

Poaching is killing our planet.

Each year over 35,000 elephants and 1000 rhinos are slaughtered. Poaching has become a pandemic; animals are killed in Africa, India, Asia…and demand for their parts spans across the globe. If we don’t act NOW, we will lose them all within a few short years.

We must restore the balance.

ranger funeral

Funeral of a ranger after eight were killed in Virunga National Park.

Poaching is killing people. 

Each year poachers AND rangers are killed in the line of fire. People are also killed and hurt from terrorist attacks funded by poaching. From the Westgate Mall attack to the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls, to the loss of lives during the 9/11 attacks in New York.

We must stop the blood flow.

As devastating as this is, there is hope. The good news is that YOU can do something about it. Yes, YOU! On Oct 4th, there is a Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. It is a golden opportunity for our voices to be heard, to stand in unity and say ENOUGH!!

We want an international ban on ivory and horn. We demand stricter enforcement and laws, and for governments to adopt sanctions against violating countries. See HERE for a complete list of objectives.

Memorandums of demand will be delivered to countries where it’s applicable, petitions will be signed, awareness will be created.

The more people in attendance, the greater the effect. Please mark it on your calendar, go to the site and find your city. Bring your family and friends and be heard. We CAN make a difference!

Global march








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

Following Your Heart Down a Bumpy Road

Life is nothing if not unpredictable. Two years ago, I was dreaming of Africa and mourning the loss of rhinos to poaching. It broke my heart endlessly to the point I would lay awake in bed thinking of the pain and injustice of it all.

This pain grew into rage, and this spark turned me onto the road of Fight for Rhinos. I decided in order to sleep at night, to look myself in the mirror, I could not ignore the passion within me to “do something”.


Black rhino @ Ol’Pejeta Conservancy

What began as a blog to get things off my chest and raise some awareness, has turned into the start of a non-profit. The one thing I wholly believe a successful non-profit should be, is transparent. It’s hard, if not impossible to know who’s legitimate,  with not only your money, but your trust. So in the spirit of transparency, here is where Fight for Rhinos stands…

In October I was fortunate enough to travel to Kenya. I saw firsthand the beauty, harshness and magic of its wildlife, and met fantastic people. Visiting with Ol’Pejeta and seeing my first rhino in the bush was an experience I will never forget. This brought it all home to me, empowering me and solidifying my determination.

Tisha Maasai

Maasai in Amboseli

We have joined forces with the UK-based, Helping Rhinos. The founder, Simon Jones, and I share many beliefs. Most importantly: we believe unity is the best way to go. The more all of us working together, the easier and quicker we can help our rhinos. We are always open to new groups, and ideas! We also stand firm on our belief of No-trade in rhino horn.

In addition to collaborating with HR, Fight for Rhinos is incorporated as an official business in the US. We have filed the dreaded IRS paperwork, along with the fees to be recognized as a non-profit and therefore be tax-deductible, giving business’ the opportunity to donate, and write it off. VERY KEY in obtaining most funding.

Now we play the waiting game. Within 3-6 months, we will have the “magic number” that allows the corporations to “write it off”.

On a personal note, we have just sold our home in the US. (another dreaded paperwork, and waiting game). We will be downsizing, saving to return to Kenya, and possibly South Africa as well. Hoping to get my “hands dirty” and get down to business on more intense levels, like our “big brother” organization Helping Rhinos has done.

Funny-I thought once I’d gone to Africa, my lifelong dream would be fulfilled. But it’s only just beginning.

Thank you for following. Your presence and comments keep me going, knowing there are others invested in this war who want our rhinos to win! If you have questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you! Email me at

And as always, if you are able to help in any way, please donate.

Help Us to Help Them


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What Difference Will YOU Make?

In honor of Jane Goodall, who just celebrated her 80th birthday. ““What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -J.G



Categories: Good News, Making a Difference | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To a Poacher

mom and babe ele 4I need to make a difference
I want to change your mind.
I’m begging you to see them
through my eyes.
Mother and child,
Lovers, cousins, friends
They raise their babies
they mourn their dead.
Close your eyes and listen brother
do you hear their pain?mom and baby rhino 1
Tearing families apart
you kill, you wound, you maim!
A mother lies trembling in her blood
listening to her baby cry
knowing she can’t protect him now
the pain excruciating, as she slowly dies.
How will you explain to your daughter
killing for cold bloody cash?
And what will you do
when your next one may be the very last?

By: Tisha Wardlow

Categories: Poetry & Art, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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