R20 000-00 donated towards anti-poaching in KZN
15 years ago I started working in the safari tourism industry and I remember our days being filled with wonder, excitement and learning. Armed with our binoculars and books, we would head out into the field to improve our knowledge on every aspect we could think of from birds to insects, stars to animal tracks, grass ecology to geology. When with guests we would impart all our knowledge, as best we could, and interpret what was going on around us in a language they could better understand. For that was our primary job as field guides, and we were the translators of the language of the wilderness we were in.
Today, some of those guides I started working with, still venture out into the bush at every available chance but now they are not filled with excitement and wonder. They filled with dread, adrenaline, nerves and I’m sure, at times, a fair dose of fear. They are not armed with bird books and binoculars but with Glocks on their hips, semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders and reinforced bullet proof vests covering their chests. Most days they wonder, “is it our turn?” or “have we lost another?” because when it comes to rhino poaching it is likely to be “when” and not “if”.
Thankfully I have missed the transition from field guide to fully armed ranger and of course that goes for many others that I have worked with but there are those who have chosen to do what is necessary to protect our beloved rhinos. They are the ones who have become soldiers and put their lives at risk to do what is necessary. To face the relentless persecution of our wildlife by highly efficient, heavily armed and brutal poachers. The reality of this hit home recently when I realised that good friends of mine have been shot at, more than once, by poachers and now have to wear bullet proof vests while on patrol. The dedication of these brave men and woman cannot be underestimated. Let us be clear here, we are in a war, and not only rhinos are getting killed!
There is no doubt that rangers are the heroes and the people who are at most risk in the war against rhino poaching and why our latest donations have gone directly and indirectly towards supporting them. Directly by contributing R10 000-00 to the purchase of bullet proof vests for the Amakhosi anti-poaching unit, and indirectly by donating R10 000-00 to the ZAP-wing initiative that supplies vital areal support to reserves on the ground in KZN (www.zapwing.org).
Once again we were able to make this donation because of the continued and loyal support of those who support us on a monthly basis. These sustainable monthly funds enable us to make regular donations to worthy causes that truly make a difference and where it is needed most. Sleep well knowing that you have helped us protect the brave warriors on the ground, who don’t often get to sleep as well as us.
Thank you once again from all the rhinos and rangers in KZN and as always, let’s get involved and make a difference!
Cheers for now.