Margrit and Russ Harris from Nikela meet with people who help save African Wildlife in South Africa and Swaziland.
No whirlwind trip, but a ten week adventure in South Africa and Swaziland. The objective; to experience and learn what wildlife conservationists, advocates, activists and others are doing in their realm to protect and assure the survival of African wildlife species.
The people we meet are diverse in their ideology, expertise and impact, however they share a common passion and dedication for their work to save Africa’s wildlife, in particular black rhino and white rhino, lions, birds of prey (Bearded Vulture), and vervet monkeys.
This is a brief introduction to them (with links to detailed stories, aome are pending)
They are listed pretty much in the order we met them along our journey.
Oh The People We’ve Met!
Sheila Upton Bath (Dance to Be Wild)
A powerhouse for good, a gracious hostess and organizer extraordinaire making a difference for rhino as she brings people together using an unusual activity… dance!
Margie Klover (One More Generation)
Passionate and longtime advocate for the environment and wildlife, now committed to educating the younger generation in South Africa, a counterpart to young Olivia and Carter Ries in the USA.
Shannon Hoffman (African Bird of Prey Sanctuary)
It was our experience with Shannon, a remarkable falconer, five years ago that motivated our developing Nikela and joining the crusade to protect Africa’s wildlife.
Recently we helped build an enclosure for the Bearded Lady who was rescued from a witch doctor.
Carol Booth & Steve Smit (Monkey Hotline)
Energy and dedication keep this vervet monkey rescue center humming 24:7 while facing unique challenges in an unusual urban setting in Durban, South Africa this couple is tenacious beyond belief.
Roz Marius (FreeMeKZN)
The large and the tiny, furry and feathered, find refuge at this center as they heal and prepare for being released under the watchful care of this seasoned director.
David Bozas (Earth Org.)
Following in Lawrence Anthony’s footsteps large tracts of lands are being set aside as community conservation areas to benefit human and wildlife alike by this visionary next generation.
Margot Stewart (Wild & Free SA)
Tenacious and outspoken she got like-minded people together for a meet and greet in the Durban Area were we put live faces to old Facebook friends. Granny turned rhino advocate for sure.
Andrew Cairncross (Nikela Volunteer photographer)
Many of our rhino photographs are compliments of Andrew who spends his free time advocating for wildlife with a camera and pen.
Evite Taylor (Earth Org)
As International Director of a growing force for the environment she has her plateful.
Brian Sandberg (Activist)
Bold and informed on multiple issues regarding the rhino and Africa he hosted a cozy dinner in Durban.
Terry Bengis (Rhino farmer)
An unexpected meeting with the man who together with his partner own close to a thousand rhino and spend millions of rand to protect them and assure the species long-term survival albeit not in the wilds.
Patrick Sibeko (iMfolozi)
Knowledgeable and committed to his work as the Conservation Manager of the park where the white rhino was brought back from near extinction by Dr. Ian Player in the 1970’s. Today it operates under a different edict.
Janet Cuthbertson (Suni-Ridge Sanctuary)
Long standing advocate for the habitat, wildlife and people of the Isimangaliso Wetlands and owner of a tranquil getaway (Leopard Walk Lodge) and sanctuary.
George Mbatha (Hlane Royal National Park)
Seasoned wildlife conservationist and leader whose experience and talents, along with strict Swaziland laws, keep commercial poaching of rhino and other species in exemplary check.
Vic Richards (Royal Kruger Lodge)
Converted by Olivia and Carter (OMG) now a gracious host and advocate to protect and preserve African endangered species.
Patrick Jordan (Rhino Revolution)
Young, dedicated and influential he makes things happen and generously shares information and resources to make a difference for wildlife and people.
Vincent Barkas (Protrack)
Long time anti-poaching warrior, leader and trainer… truly a general in a battle to save rhino and other species from poachers’ bullets and snares.
Tom Tochterman (Rhino Mercy)
A fellow Amercian who fell in love with Africa and works tirelessly to end poaching and provide in-the-field wildlife conservation and environmental research opportunities.
Sarah Berg (Green Kidz)
Truly a modern day Mother Theresa working with the old and the young trapped in poverty while lifting them up all on a shoe string budget. Caring for the former and introducing the latter to wildlife.
Dr. Peter Rogers (Wildlife Vet)
Innovative and determined to save rhino and other species that are sick or injured, being instrumental in patching rhino attacked by poachers back together.
Gareth Putter (Rocking Rhinos)
Using the love for music to spread awareness and raise funds to save rhinos.
Kim Roques (All Out Africa)
Wildlife conservationist bringing volunteers to assist in a variety of environmental and wildlife projects particularly in Swaziland.
Leonard Mkhabela (Malolotja Nature Reserve)
Forty years in-the-field as a wildlife ranger in the same reserve makes him a walking encyclopedia.
Makehya Madela (Malolotja Nature Reserve)
Young, dedicated and determined to find the balance between politics, wildlife, the environment and the needs of the local communities that surround his park in Swaziland.
Silke Von Eynern (Bambelela)
Compassionate, intuitive and with the ability to rally people together for a cause her primate rescue and rehab center hums like a well-oiled machine.
Karen Trendler (Rhino Calf Response/Rescue)
Tenacious, devoted expert in rescuing rhino calves orphaned by poachers she is instrumental in saving many traumatize and injured calves and giving them a chance to live.
Drew Abrahamson (Wildlife Conservation Films)
Ever a voice for lions and the big cats. Personal Assistant to Beverly and Dereck Joubert and organizer of the Global March Against Canned Lion Hunting in Johannesburg.
Kirstey Brebner (Endangered Wildlife Trust)
Quietly committed to saving wildlife primarily via supporting the sniffer dog unit program.
Warwick Wragg (Sniffer Dog Unit)
Expert in training both dogs and handlers to sniff out rhino horn in luggage at airports and other places to apprehend poachers.
Julian Rademeyer (Author of Killing for Profit)
Taking a year off to investigate the rhino horn crisis he uncovers a web of wildlife crime involving officials at all levels in South Africa and Asia.
Gareth Carter (Untamed Odyssey)
Wildlife guide and professional photographer eager to share his love of wildlife via safaris and giving back to organizations who protect the African wildlife he loves.
Paul Oxton (Wild at Heart)
Successful businessman in the US and South Africa he brings his experience to join his love for wildlife to make a difference via the internet.
Chris Daniel (Bongi’s Quest)
Unstoppable author of a children’s book (about a young rhino calf) that is gaining momentum in South Africa and soon in Asia as well.
Lorinda Hern (Rhino Rescue Project)
Young and driven to save rhino via infusing the horn with poison to deter poachers is becoming increasingly sought after.
Peter Milton and Robi Beninca (Strategic Protection of Endangered Species)
Strategic, efficient and effective and driven by a love of wildlife this partnership protects rhino, elephant and other wildlife via traditional and hi-tech solutions like drones (UAVs).
If you’re familiar with any of the above you may wonder why such a diverse group. Some are pro rhino horn trade while we are not.
Over the next few months we’ll be sharing stories of our experiences with these fascinating people. Like us, you’ll most likely be intrigued and a bit surprised.