Every day Kobus Marais put his life on the line to protect rhino. Every day so many others do the same. Would you? Would you put your life on the line?
Kobus while on a training exercise with his patrol dog was attacked and killed by a lion. Sadly, neither Kobus nor his team mates had noticed the predator until it was too late.
How could this happen? Well, wildlife rangers like Kobus who protect rhino and other wildlife from poachers know their work is dangerous. Similar to police officers and fire fighters… or better yet soldiers. Wildlife rangers put their lives on the line every time they are in the bush in Big Five country.
Lions, buffalo, and elephants can be unpredictable. Humans can never forget that they are wild animals and we humans are the trespassers. Wildlife rangers know this. They realize when in the bush they are not in control, but at the mercy of the wild.
Would you put your life on the line to protect rhino?
Kobus Marias was such a human. He gave his life protecting the wildlife he loved. His wife Lottie was equally willing to live with the reality… that one day he might not come home.
Peter Milton who worked with Kobus had this to say about this man who gave his life to protect rhino.
An extremely dedicated man. Always ready to respond to a call for assistance. A humble man , passionate about conservation and protection of all animals. A loyal, loving and caring husband to a wife who shared his passion for conservation. One of the leading dog handlers in the country with a seemingly telepathic capability to work with his beloved dogs. A big conservation warrior who has left a big hole.
When I told Peter I thought Wildlife Rangers were super tough. His reply was unexpected, yet typical of this amazing breed of people protecting our wildlife. Peter said, “Tough? No, I don’t think so.” And the spouses? Well, they know “we live with danger every day” but somehow they just trust in our “abilities and experience.” Sadly, on some days things go desperately wrong.
Our sincere condolences to the Marais family, the anti-poaching teams who lost a brave colleague and to Kobus’ friends, both human and canine. May you find solace in your path forward. May you continue in this important work.
Now, it’s our turn.
May you and I be willing to step up and do our part to protect Africa’s wildlife and keep Kobus’ memory alive. How? After all, most of us can’t ever become anti-poaching rangers the likes of him… but we can do our part to protect rhino. We can spread awareness as to the species’ plight. We can pledge to never buy anything made with rhino horn, or other wildlife body parts. We can help stop the demand.
If we do our part, no matter how small, then Kobus will not have died in vain. Should you care to get serious about helping you’re welcome to make a donation to Peter and his team of anti-poaching rangers. Every penny of your gift will go to help right there on the ground to protect rhino.
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Nikela is a fundraising nonprofit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.