The Rhino War

The Fight to Save a Species from Extinction


Rhino poaching has reached a pandemic and touches every part of the world where the five remaining species exist.  It is a war pitting conservationists and ordinary citizens against well-armed and financed syndicates on par with drug cartels.  At the center of the war are rhino horns that are believed by many Asians to have medicinal properties, which has been disproven scientifically.  Rhino horn consists of the same material as human fingernails and toenails.  Yet even with this knowledge, there is a higher demand for rhino horn than at time in modern history because its value is greater than a kilo of cocaine and gold combined — $70,000 per kilogram.

 

IAPF

International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) was founded by Damien Mander in 2009 to help meet the threat of rhino poaching head on. IAPF trains its rangers in military style tactics that are used to deter and catch poachers who try to kill rhinos for their horns. With camps in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, rangers patrol 24/7 in private game reserves to insure rhinos will be safe from poachers.

Tokkie Botes

Tokkie Botes flies his private helicopter almost daily to patrol for signs of poachers, deliver vets to injured rhinos, and sometimes picks up and flies orphaned rhinos to an orphanage that will accept them.  Tokkie pays for fuel and maintenance of the helicopter out of his own pocket because he and others like him are committed to protecting rhinos from extinction.

Care For Wild

Petronel Niewoudt's compassion for caring and protecting orphaned rhinos is contagious. Her love for what she does at Care for Wild (CFW) shows in every aspect of her work and life. She is a force of nature, and self-admittedly "doesn't think small." That's clear in her plans to continue enlarging the reserve. Given the current state of rhino poaching and the number of baby rhinos orphaned, the CFW team plans to expand the boundaries to provide more room and a permanent home for rhinos affected by poaching.

The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) offers a variety of courses and programs designed to train and teach students in many conservation-related fields. With skills in wildlife management, hunting, weapons handling, anti-poaching including tracker-dog handling, sustainability and field guiding, graduates find careers at private game reserves, safari lodges and national parks throughout Africa.

Rangers

Rangers are the first line of defense against poachers on the ground. These men patrol daily transitioning between night and day patrols constantly skirting encounters with lions, elephants, buffaloes, etc. The environments they protect are extremely treacherous and take a substantial amount of training to be able to properly defend themselves. For the demand of rhino horn to decrease first the consumer must address the issue as a real problem then lawyers, judges and politicians must make a stand to stop allowing corruption in the current system. The practicality of that may seem bleak, nevertheless these men will continue to protect rhinos no matter how great the cost.