Posts Tagged With: tourists

Kenya or Bust

masai mara game driveMy trip to Kenya is fast approaching. . .

Travel vaccines – check

Itinerary – check

Spending money – working on it

But what I don’t have ready is my mindset. I know it will be what I imagine, and probably more. Yet, what’s on my mind, as it is everyday, is poaching. In a previous close encounter, a tour guide ran into just such an occurrence (see previous post Tour Guide Gives Eye-Opening Safari).

What would I do stumbling across poachers at work? I know it’s not common. Most of them are not so brazen. They prefer the cover of night, to slink through the darkness like the snakes they are. But it’s a haunting scenario none-the-less.

I do not fear for my safety, I fear the lack of power or control over stopping it. Even as the tour guide told his kifarustory, I  felt a surge of rage cloud my brain,  imagining myself  jumping out of the vehicle charging at the poachers. Logical?  Probably not.

But I can fully empathize with the feelings of helplessness and frustration the  tour guides, game rangers, and everyone working to protect the rhinos and elephants must feel on a daily basis.

Finding a poached carcass is bad enough. Knowing it happened, the animal suffered, the bad guy won..utter heartbreak. But catching them in the act?!

The trip agenda? Game drives, the Masai Mara, Ol’Pejeta, Samburu Reserve,  meeting new friends and LOTS of photos to share with you all when I get back.

Being on guided tours, things are well planned and prepared,  unlikely to turn into a full-scale wilderness adventure.  Yet on every trip there is  a smattering of the unforeseen. Who knows, if a poacher and I happen to cross paths…look out!

Because while, most of my friends’ daydreams consist of winning the lottery, mine is taking out poachers. ….. Rhino Girl…standing in the savanna, cape blowing back in the breeze, ready to swoop in and rescue the rhino from poachers lurking in the shadows!

ACPP44  Sign to deter poachers

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour Guide Gives Eye-Opening Safari

February 2013,  Tanzania/Kenya area  The day started like so many others for the tour operator (name withheld to protect his identity). He was driving his clients on a jeep safari through a lovely isolated area in the highlands near a river. They spotted  a herd of elephants with young ones across the river.  Suddenly there was a commotion; the elephants all started to trumpet and run. The matriarch stopped and started doing mock charges toward a bush in the riverbed.  Then they noticed about 15 tribesmen running and throwing spears at the elephants.

not actual elephant from that incident

not elephant from that incident

For a moment, the operator and the clients were all in shock. But then the operator started to yell and shout at them until they ran away. He made it back to their start point where he contacted the game warden.

safari

I spoke with the Tour Operator (T.O.) about his surprising experience.

How long have you been running your tour operation?

T.O. -For six years

You are in an isolated area, without many other game drivers around. Why did you choose this location?

T.O. – I wanted a challenge and to try to promote the “real” African experience.

Have you ever run into a poaching attempt before?

T.O. – No.

I know you are not allowed to carry guns in the park, so what can you do to stay safe?

T.O. – Yes, only licensed rangers can carry weapons.  It seems with the new Game Warden, they are taking it more seriously and are adding more anti-poaching units.

Who do you call if there is an issue?

T.O. – The Park officials.

Poachers are getting so brazen. They don’t seem to care if it is night or day or if there are people around. Are you worried this will happen again?

T.O. – Yes we are. All we can do is have more APUs (anti poaching units) set around the game drive routes.

I believe you mentioned rhino are gone in that area. Are there many elephant left?

T.O. – Yes that’s right. Elephants are still here, but declining.

Do you think the  government is doing enough to combat poaching?

T.O. – I feel now there is more publicity.

What was the reaction of your clients on the drive?

T.O. – They were speechless.

Do you now tell your clients this could occur? And if it does happen again, what will you do?

T.O. – I do talk to them about it so they are aware. I would again try my best to make noise.

What would you like to say to the poachers?

T.O. – Many things!!! Stop killing innocent creatures is one (to be polite).

Do you have any advice on what people can do to help?

T.O. – STOP buying ivory and other materials. Be aware and report any incidents you encounter. Support wildlife!

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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