Home of the majority of the planet’s rhino and other African wildlife.
A note from the bush on our African Wildlife Tour 2014.
There we stood with new friends high above the Crocodile River viewing wildlife and a pristine wilderness at the height of a beautiful season. On the other side lay the Kruger Park famous around the world for its expanse and collection of wildlife roaming free and yes wild.
It is the closest thing to the true Africa that we all have in our hearts but far from the reality of much of Africa today.
Then I notice my sweet wife, Margrit, staring quite stressed into the landscape. Her demeanor very different from the past four weeks as we excitedly traveled to talk with conservationists and experience their successes and challenges.
Her normal happy vibrant self was distant and sad. Her view of the Kruger was its vulnerability just made more real from a documentary trailer we had previewed before coming to the overlook.
Over the last four years she has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the plight of wildlife in South Africa mostly online connecting with likeminded people from throughout the world, sharing stories, getting people involved, supporting efforts, and awaking hearts to the beauty and plight of her precious creatures, her precious Africa.
With the feelings from the gruesome documentary still very fresh in her mind of rhinos being poached almost with impunity, she stares across the river where the vast majority of this tragedy is taking place. The place where they are supposed to be safe. The brutal reality bites deep.
The numbers are well known from 122 poached in 2009 to over 1000 last year (2013) and 1500 projected this year. Being here, in South Africa, the numbers have turned from crises to beautiful individual creatures being slaughtered for body parts, orphaned calfs, and a complex problem with no simple solution.
One of our friends on the front line trying to curb the violence shared, “How can we expect to save our wildlife if we can’t even save an iconic species like the rhino.”
The complexity of greed, politics, cultural differences, hunger, apathy, and lack of understanding all contribute to Margrit’s sadness.
Yet the hope generated by so many dedicating their time, moneys, and lives to the cause is heart warming and she carries on.
I have known for a while now that her priorities are our kids and grand kids, wildlife, and me… in that order. Yet to be part of her love of life and deep involvement, I consider myself a lucky man to be on the list.
What would life be without people who care so much?