Tell me, what do Warren Buffett, Asian syndicates, and Rhino horn have in common? Anti-Poaching helicopters! And the war on Rhino poaching in the Kruger NP South Africa.
Recently we got a glimpse into this important aspect of the war. A good friend Sheila of ‘Dance To Be Wild’ fame introduced us to Byron and his young family located on the front lines in Kruger. They are living the dream.
Howard Buffett, Warren’s son, donated $24 million in 2014 to help stem the tide of Rhino poaching. Part of which bought and outfitted anti-poaching helicopters to transport rangers and wounded baby rhino orphans, As well as many other duties as you can imagine.
Initially it was difficult to keep the sophisticated choppers in the air. That’s when Byron got his chance to do the things he likes best: live in the bush, be close to his little family, and keep helicopters flying. Since moving into Kruger two and a half years ago, he has been the chief engineer and master mechanic for the anti-poaching helicopter operations in Kruger Park.
Byron is known as a magician when it comes to helicopters. It’s been long hours with grueling yet satisfying work. The shop is intensely organized and well fitted. He reacts with a combination of bush sense and sophisticated training to keep the anti-poaching helicopters flight ready.
Why Rhino Horn
When we first started Nikela in 2010, rhino poaching in Africa was just raising its ugly head. Asian syndicates were creating a value for rhino horn based on 3000 years of ancient medicine but more significantly as a symbol of wealth. Because of the scarcity of this wild commodity, the value quickly became higher than gold by weight.
It’s pathetic that so few can determine the fate of this iconic species. Tragically, there’s no easy solution when greed, ego, corruption, and power are involved. All for the concocted need for a horn. Incidentally its made of the same stuff as your finger nails.
Check out how Nikela helps Natalie with her orphaned Rhinos
Watch the video – See the helicopters