It’s almost as if the poachers, that includes all involved along the wildlife trafficking and illegal trade routes, are snubbing those protecting the rhino!
At least 15 rhino killed in a matter of four days since World Rhino Day. It’s as if organized crime is laughing in our faces with a mocking, “We’ll show you!” It’s infuriating, frightening, and close to devastating!
One rhino here and one rhino there appeared to be the norm of loss, but now, several at a time. Poachers come in with sophisticated “clinical” tools and military equipment, all the while South Africans are reeling, apparently not knowing what hit them, or how to adequately keep this terrorist enemy at bay.
In my effort to understand this rhino crisis, and put it in some sort of rational perspective, I found framing it in a familial point of view helped. Hopefully this comparison also works for you at some level.
Putting the Rhino Crisis in “Family” Perspective
Let’s imagine a family with a bunch of kids that are being bullied at school. Mom and Dad are somehow caught up in their own troubles, their own world and pursuits and the kids are left to their own devices… which aren’t working. They’re taunted, slapped, punched and endlessly ridiculed. Now of course it’s the parents’ responsibility to step in, to be the first to help, the ones taking charge to make sure their children are safe and protected. When Mom and Dad do not live up to their responsibility it is inexcusable from a societal perspective, after all it is their job to do so. However, if Dad has an in with the local child’s protective service and Mom has favors to call in with an attorney they can possibly avoid being reported and charged for child abuse or neglect. And the kids, well, they remain subjected to the bullies.
Now if that happens all the shouting, pouting and name calling may not change a thing for the kids, so to protect the kids uncles and aunts, and even cousins far away, may need to come to the rescue. It’s an aunt that may need to accompany the children to school. It’s an uncle that may need to talk to the school principle, and cousins that may need to offer friendship and support until the powers that be get Mom and Dad straightened out.
Now of course this analogy could be expanded to include the demand and the illegal trade chain, but that gets more complex than is necessary right now, or that I can wrap my brain around.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide who represents who or what, expect, may I suggest that the “uncles” and “aunts” represent those on the ground doing their utmost to protect the rhino, the anti-poaching units who step in, do their reconnaissance and roar into action to stop the “bullies” from making another kill. And you and I, maybe we’re the “cousins”, some close, some far away, who offer support in multiple ways.
Fighting the “Bullies”
So if we’re the “cousins” here are a few things we can do to help:
Support the “uncles” and “aunts” (i.e. anti-poaching units) by being encouraging and motivating, these folk put their lives on the line and work long arduous hours
Report suspicious behavior, activities, people and situations, always without hesitation
Dept. of Environmental Affairs (DEA): Call toll free 0800 205 005
HAWKS: Email AntiPoaching@sanparks.org
Anti Poaching Intelligence Group Southern Africa: Call +27822691364 / Email AntiPoachIntelligence@gmail.com
INTERPOL: Email EnvironmentalCrime@interpol.int
Let’s stop the backlash, let’s step in and step up by paying closer attention to what’s happening around us, because it’s up to us to save not only the rhino, but all wildlife from the hands of the greedy, the smugglers, the illegal traders and those who would probably sell their own mother if the price was right.