Black and White Rhino poaching happening at alarming rate in South Africa, number of organizations growing to “help” fight wildlife trafficking, organized crime and illegal trade, or are they?
At the South African parliamentary hearings earlier this year (January 26, 2012) Andrew Muir with The Wilderness Foundation stated that out of the 150 organizations raising money from rhinos only 20 can account for how they use it. (Some say this has now risen to a 250:50 ratio.)
So who are the 50 that are really supporting the rhino efforts? What are the others doing with your money?
I don’t know about the latter except that I’m assuming some are putting your money into their pockets. However, as a public charity inviting you to help those who protect wildlife, including the rhino, the former is of great interest to us here at Nikela.
A little over a year ago (right around the time Nikela was celebrating her first anniversary) we got introduced to the rhino crisis and wanted to assist. Nikela’s mission is to help small private wildlife experts who already make a difference and can expand their reach with a little extra help.
Our criteria to assist includes that the organization directly works to protect now and, if not in place, has a strategy to educate for sustainable preservation of the wildlife species they focus on. Without going into detail about all our projects I’ll focus specifically on the rhino.
Around April last year Ryan Davy with Crazy Horse Pictures contacted us. He and US based wildlife adventurer Donald Schultz were shooting a behind the scenes rhino poaching documentary and asked if we could be of some assistance via information sharing and any possible financial assistance. We agreed and in exchange Ryan sent us notes from the field to allow our followers and donors a very unique experience. Everything went well until a very controversial post regarding the first insider betrayals was published. Donald got scared, and we were asked to remove all our information about the documentary. With great reluctance, but so as not to jeopardize the documentary we did. Now, a year later this revealing documentary has still not been aired on a major network and sadly has not been released to the public in another format.
Needless to say after this we got much more particular as we explored who Nikela Rhino Rescue would support via the donations people like you make. One organization after another was rejected. Some because their reach was too small, basically only served themselves, others because the overhead seemed too high, and still others because they couldn’t supply us with the information we needed.
By years end we found a very established and recognized South African based rhino organization who trains anti-poaching rangers and provides them with the equipment needed to do their job. Many reputable individuals and organizations assist them as well. We had hit pay dirt.
Then this year the rhino horn trade issue heated up and we discovered that although doing awesome work a new dimension had emerged that we had to consider. How did Nikela stand on the rhino horn trade issue?
After researching the facts and conversing with the experts we took our stand with those against the trading of rhino horns (The eReport “Rhino Horn” addresses the controversy)
All the while we were introduced to a variety of people purporting a variety of preferred methods to save the rhino: from dehoring to horn treatment, from increasing the “army” of ant-poaching rangers to specialized training for law enforcement, not to forget taking on the South African and Asian governments for not enforcing a zero tolerance for wildlife trafficking and addressing the organized crime problem.
Taking all this into consideration we realized we needed to stay every dynamic, evaluating and reviewing constantly (an advantage when you’re small and can react more quickly.) Currently Nikela supports via information sharing and advocating on behalf of the rhino and donates to qualified organizations that involve modern technology of all kinds (most are donated or offered at a steep discount) to fight poachers on the ground and provide the specialized training law enforcement personnel need to be effective in this high tech war on the rhino. We’d love to disclose details, but we’ve learned there are some things that must be kept undercover so as that the whereabouts of the rhino and their protectors are not discovered by the intelligence work of the poachers.
We are also constantly searching for those who identify ways to educate the locals as well as those in Asia to change the hearts and minds, and would welcome your input.
We take our charge to have your donation help the rhino very seriously. As no one draws a salary at Nikela and expenses are reduced to absolute bare bones, we are adamant at using your money to make a difference and we believe we have found those who do.
(Tantalizer: More details forth coming about Peter and his work to save the rhino and other endangered and threatened species.)