Kariega Game Reserve marked World Rhino Day on 22 September 2017 with a live Facebook video feed. Rangers Daniel and Jone went out to find rhino poaching survivor Thandi and her two calves Thembi and Colin.
Thandi’s story has traveled many times around the globe, making Thandi an international ambassador for the plight of rhino. Despite a small decline in poaching since it's peak in 2014, latest figures suggest that 2.93 rhino are being killed every day in South Africa.
Our hope is that through sharing Thandi’s story and connecting her with the world via video and live feeds, she will work her magic and change the hearts and minds of the global community so that we may put a stop to poaching for good.
Why and How of Rhino Poaching
Rhino horn is a status symbol in Asia where the wealthy, upper class offer it as a luxury item to friends and business associates. It is mostly snorted and believed to cure a range of illnesses from the common cold to cancer.
The poachers, who dart the rhino and then brutally hack off it’s horns with a machete, actually get paid the smallest amount for their work. The middle-man and dealers in Vietnam and China profit the most.
Government Slow to Deal With Rhino Poaching
In South Africa the government and wildlife services have been slow and somewhat ineffective in dealing with rhino poaching. They have recently allocated more resources and budget to try to address the problem, along with non-government and civil society organisations.
Additionally, private game reserves have also been forced to employ full time anti-poaching units resourced with guns and other specialised tracking equipment. Many reserves, like Kariega Game Reserve, also pay for rhinos to be dehorned annually (their horns grow just like our fingernails so this needs to be done regularly). This is very expensive for the reserves and some of the costs are passed on to guests.
Official rhino poaching figures in South Africa for 2017 so far are at 529, but unofficially estimates are higher.
Young Rhino Colin’s Eight Month Birthday
Today is the eight month birthday of Thandi’s second calf, Colin. He was named after Colin Rushmere, visionary and founder of Kariega Game Reserve who passed away just days before rhino Colin was born. Colin Rushmere was a man who loved and honoured all creatures great and small, and treated all people with love and respect.
This World Rhino Day we draw inspiration, energy and courage from Colin the rhino and Colin the man. Together we will succeed and ensure that the extinction of the rhino is NOT the legacy of our generation.