Saving our rhino
South Africa is home to the largest population of rhinos in the world and therefore the responsibility of the existence of these amazing animals is resting heavily on our shoulders . if you have experienced the wonder of encountering these animals, or always longing to do so, you would understand how important it is for us to protect these vulnerable species for generations to come.
rhinos are in danger
although the white rhino is part of the dangerous big 5, these fat grey unicorns are peaceful creatures, with very poor eyesight and mostly oblivious to the dangers lurking around them. how sad is it, that these ancient looking animals has reason to fear the very creatures that is supposed to be protecting them.... man.
What is the rhino horn used for? The Myth.
Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but increasingly common is its use as a status symbol to display success and wealth. Popular to Chinese beliefs, rhino horns are used to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. It also states that the horn could cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession” as well. There has also been a recent surge in demand for rhino horn in Viet Nam, where it is being touted as a hangover cure and treatment for terminal illnesses, aphrodisiac and many other uses.
The motivation for consumers buying rhino horn is the emotional benefit rather than medicinal, as it reaffirms their social status among their peers. Image and status are important to these consumers, they tend to be highly educated and successful people who have a powerful social network and no affinity to wildlife. Rhino horns are sometimes bought for the sole purpose of being gifted to others; to family members, business colleagues or people in positions of authority.
Poachers are now being supplied by international criminal gangs with sophisticated equipment to track and kill rhinos. Frequently a small calibre weapon is used to bring the rhino down, before its horn is hacked off, leaving the rhino to wake up and bleed to death very painfully and slowly. Poachers are often armed with guns themselves, making them very dangerous for the anti-poaching teams who put their lives on the line to protect rhinos. The scarcity of rhinos today and the corresponding intermittent availability of rhino horn only drives the price of horn higher and higher, intensifying pressure on declining rhino populations.
What is being done to keep Rhinos safe?
since 2008, south Africa has lost over 7000 rhinos
due to rhino poaching. a number that sadly keeps
rising, despite the effort of protection. on
zeekoepan, we are constantly working on the
conservation of the rhinos on our property.
precautions such as dehorning, sleepless nights
driving around checking on each and every
rhino, extra game guard employment, numbering
and getting to know each rhino personally, is
just some of the actions taken trying to protect
our grey treasures. Sadly, few people realise the
challenges facing those in the frontlines of protection. At this stage the poachers have the upper hand – they know when, they know how, and although we are fortunate enough not to have lost any rhinos on zeekoepan, poachers will come back another day, as soon as we slack with our efforts, or simply hit a softer target on a different property.
Although great strides have been made on ground level, such as ranger readiness, the incorporation of various technologies and the role of security/protection strategies have all contributed to an admirable increase in poacher arrest rates – but little progress has been made in stopping the masterminds behind the poaching. these syndicates do not do the dirty work themselves, but rather send in recruits. There is no shortage of new recruits and poachers are quickly replaced, if caught. co-ordination by poaching syndicates and co-operative alliances between various poaching groups, enabled by deeply entrenched corruption at every level, is quick to return to the slaughtering of the animals.
Bearing this in mind, intelligence driven operations (knowing who, what, where, when and how) are the cornerstone elements to cracking the syndicates, which is why we’re putting as much available funding into supporting investigations while at the same time still focusing on supporting basic requirements. Winning the hearts and minds of communities living around rhino reserves is of utmost importance in intelligence gathering and we are working closely with the community in this regard.
Every rhino lover can make a difference in the protection of these wonderful animals. how insignificant your contribution may seem, it may save one rhino's life, and therefore worth pursuing.
How can I help?
Easiest way is to donate towards rhino protection - Salaries of game rangers, rewards for information, capturing and dehorning
Do not support the industry by buying any rhino horn products
Support harsher punishment for rhino poachers and syndicates.
Understand, Support and join us for the dehorning process
Educate others and raise awareness in your community
Start your own "SAVE THE RHINO" fund raiser
Adopt one of our Fat Grey Unicorns and have bragging rights to your very own magical creature!