It’s a war out there! One rhino is killed every 11 hours in South Africa! Over 660 rhino lost in 2012!
The good news is there are people like Peter who rally others to stop the poaching.
Who knows how many more rhino would die each day if it wasn’t for folk like them.
As I’ve gotten to know Peter, definitely one of my heroes, I’ve learned what an emotional roller coaster ride protecting rhino on the ground is and how much these dedicated people need our help.
Traumatized by Poachers
There are nights, Peter tells me, he is haunted by the mournful cry of an orphaned rhino calf.
You ever heard the desperate cry of a rhino calf?
Neither have I, supposedly it is heart piercing. Peter tells me one particular poaching scene will stay with him forever. Here was this bewildered young rhino calf bellowing mournfully while nudging its dead mother, imploring her to get up. The mother of course had bled to death after the front of her face was laid open when her horn was severed by a machete.
Apparently a rescued rhino calf will call for its mother for months, especially at sunrise and sunset. How awfully sad! Peter says that like people these young ones can be traumatized for life.
What does an adult rhino with PTSD look like?
Well, rhinos are naturally exuberant and gregarious, once traumatized by poachers they become aggressive and scared… a real personality change.
The trauma on individual rhino and rhino calves is tremendous. However, the catastrophic impact on entire rhino crashes (herds) as rhino cows and bulls are brutally killed destroying “family organizations” is equally destructive.
Losing a Species
At the rate of current poaching close to 600 rhino will be lost this year, and that’s not counting the rhino calves that don’t survive the trauma of losing their mother. Those who know, speculate that within 10 years both the rhino species (black and white) of South Africa could be wiped out, extinct, gone!
So What if We Lose the Rhino!
The rhino is an icon species. If we fail to break the myth that its horn has medicinal properties and save it from the grasp of illegal trade other species like the lion (being poached for its bones for tea), leopards, pythons and primates don’t stand a change either. So besides having a huge impact on the ecosystem the extinction of the rhino would rapidly be followed by the loss of other endangered and threatened wildlife in Africa.
Thank heavens for people like Peter!
“No one single thing can stop the poaching”, says Peter, “It needs a multifaceted strateic approach.” This strategy includes directly protecting the rhino on the ground using sophisticated systems and equipment.
Peter’s background is in information technology and business. Raised in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa wildlife became as natural and part of life to him as people. During his years in the military he determined when he got out he would save enough money that he could one day devote his life fulltime to conserving the wildlife he saw being exploited at every turn.
Protecting Rhino on the Ground
Today Peter and his associates have built a model to effectively protect rhino. So why isn’t this being applied throughout South Africa? For several reasons, the government is not yet “interested”, it takes money to launch such a large scale effort, and it takes trained people. Presently Peter and his team work with private reserves, volunteers, and local businesses as resources and time allow.
Their system of gathering intelligence, surveillance, patrolling, in the field “combat” with poachers, and crime scene investigation has proven very effective, on a small scale. To train more people, secure more equipment, prosecute more poachers and save more rhino your gift of R50 a month can make a big difference for more rhino.