And I’m back. Sorry to have been so scarce the last 2 months and although absent from my writing duties, we at 12Hours have certainly not been missing in action. Quite the opposite in fact and we have had a busy start to the year preparing strategies and fundraising initiatives for the year ahead. Watch this space for news soon. Not to mention a bit of promotion work at our favourite market and shopping centre namely, Blaauwklippen Family Market and The Cape Quarter shopping centre. Let’s, however, kick off with the not so good.
The year has certainly started off with a bang. And then another bang. Sadly many more bangs have followed which has led to the demise of 146 Rhinos by the end of February this year. This at an average of 2,47 per day which is slightly less the last year’s average of 2,75. A difference which is not making much difference at all to the poor Rhinos at the end of the poachers’ sights. These figures paint a desperate picture but nothing more than that. Just the facts. There is so much more to this problem than just numbers of deaths and arrests and this is where we must turn our attentions and move towards if we are to make any headway in the fight for our Rhinos.
Sadly we as South Africans have become desensitized to another atrocity in our daily lives, that of poaching and wildlife crime. We brush it off as we do with all the other nasties we face every day in this beautiful yet violent and complex country of ours. Murder, rape, theft, child abuse, violence. The list goes on and now contains rhino poaching or at least all sorts of wildlife crime. Once we become desensitized we become numb to the horrors around us, push them aside and carry on with our daily lives. We become unaffected and therefore ineffective in trying to solve the problem. This is what has happened to the rhino protection industry, for want of a better term, and donor fatigue has firmly set in. Throw in a couple of scams from the last couple of years and now we have a trust problem as well. All of this does not bode well for our pachyderm friends and they need us all, donors, NGO’s, government, corporates and the public to change our mindset towards support and raising funds.
The frustrating part of all this, as usual, is that all the good work and success stories are being overshadowed. There are many good organisations out there doing some amazing work on a daily basis. There are brave and dedicated individuals who work and campaign tirelessly for our rhinos. Hundreds of rangers risk their lives every day while many sit at home and complain. And then there those who jump naked out of airplanes. Basically there is a ton of positivity around, crying out to be noticed and supported. At 12Hours we strongly believe that all of us need to start focusing more on this great work that is being done else we might find ourselves falling deeper into the pit of negativity and despair which is only going to have one disastrous outcome. It is a strange thing indeed that we humans tend to let the bad of a few overshadow the good of the many. Why do we let this make us complacent in our actions and do nothing? Taking no action will be the worst action possible for our horned friends.
In keeping with the positivity trend, Rhino NGO’s also need to come to the party and start doing there bit to alter people’s attitudes. And I’m not just talking about getting all their papers in order, advertising that as a wonderful achievement and promoting themselves as the most legit organisation to support. This surely is a given and it doesn’t take much effort at all to do due diligence on an organisation and find out who they really are. I’m talking about working more together, streamlining efforts and promoting each other’s work. I’m talking about moving away from another picture of a mutilated rhino with its horn hacked off. And please can we all get passed pointing fingers at the “flybynights” and get on with the job. The collective achievements of the “industry” are massive and far outweigh the negatives. Please don’t forget that without the work that has been, and is being done, our rhinos would be in a much worse situation than they are now. In fact they would be in dire straits already. I beg you to keep this in mind next time you see another dead rhino and push it away into your desensitized bin.
I’ll be in touch soon.