Wildlife in Africa, endangered rhino, leopards and others at risk to animal poaching.
For years I couldn’t face it. I grew up in South Africa in the country where a love for animals was as natural as breathing. My dogs, cats, horses, the stately Secretary Bird I’d see while out riding and the elusive wildlife I experienced on our friend’s game farm near the Kruger Park were as central to me as SMART phones and Face Book friends are to the young today.
Adulthood, career and love took me to other parts of the globe leaving my childhood life behind. But a few years ago, during volunteer service in the Philippines my heart was ripped apart by the exploitation, pain and suffering of anything that moved… I witnessed iguanas, birds, and dogs grabbed and killed or strung up on the side of the road for sale. I did what I could, convincing kids that swinging a frog around their heads with his leg tied to a string was not okay to encouraging a young teen to release a huge rhino beetle instead of seeing how long he could stretch his legs till they snapped.
Then in Tulsa Oklahoma I visited the zoo with my grandkids and stumbled upon the conservation exhibit where I was hit with the horrors of Africa’s bush meat market. How could all this be happening? How could I have been so blind? My dear beautiful animals caught mercilessly in snares!
Partly to avoid the sting, and certainly because I felt helpless to do anything I stepped back into my comfort zone and moved on with life. It wasn’t until my trip to South Africa in 2009 where I met Shannon and Ben and others like them who are dedicated to protect wildlife that I finally broke free.
Maybe you’re like me? However, I imagine you get involved faster. Either way this is the introduction to a discussion about a despicable practice that’s swept under the carpet far too often by the civilized world, we turn a blind eye. I’ll be addressing multiple issues surrounding animal poaching: What it is, who’s involved and why, and most importantly what is being done (and how you can get involved) curb this practice that threatens to the very survival of wildlife in Africa.