Today we patrolled from early AM to beat the heat and to look for signs that poachers had been in the area, taking advantage of what is left of the last full moon. Everything was calm and the animals continue to live here unaware of the daily threat on their lives.
Despite the threat it has been another beautiful day in Africa. The sun is now setting over the lake in typical African fashion. We count ourselves lucky for the daily reminder of its brilliance. Elephant are rolling amongst the birds in the shallows, cooling off after a long hot day. I’m also cooling off with an ice cold can of Zambezi lager. Our plan for 2012 has been clearly mapped out. Our main priorities are the academies and anti-poaching operations in Zimbabwe and South Africa and the project in Chizarira. We receive requests for assistance daily from around the world, but available resources limit our capacity to deploy everywhere.
South Africa’s rhino population was decimated in 2011. 443 rhinos slaughtered for their horn, up from 333 the previous year. JC Strauss is heading up the Eco-Ranger academy for IAPF in South Africa, supported by a team of instructors. Our aim is to train as many rangers as possible in South Africa to be able to protect their rhino. We see the rhino as the hardest animal to protect. If we can protect the rhino we can protect everything in the ecosystem from poachers.
I often find myself wondering how we are ever going to defeat the enormity of the problem we face. As the Far East continues to expand, so does their insatiable appetite for anything we try to protect. As always, with these brief feelings of looming hopelessness, an email will come in offering support in some capacity, be it either a few words of encouragement, a story of success or an offer to volunteer time and services. The selflessness of many people never ceases to amaze me. We must continue to forge together in order to make it through these tough times.
I will leave you with this short quote, written by a well known environmentalist in 1968.
“For in the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught” Baba Dioum
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