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Video: Themba’s Death Inspires International Support for Africa’s Rhino


Four years ago today a male rhino Themba, died at Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. His death came 24 days after the brutal poaching of three rhino. Dr William Fowlds, played the central role in caring for Themba and Thandi who survived the poaching, but sadly Themba succumbed to a leg injury sustained during the attack. This video records an emotional plea from Dr. Fowlds on the day that Themba died for the world to wake up and see what was happening to these animals… and to make it stop. 

Wildlife Vet Dr Fowlds Fights to Save Rhino

We asked Dr Fowlds for his thoughts on the current status of the fight to save rhino. He comments, "Four years ago when Themba died there was very little international understanding about the poaching crisis. Themba’s death and the forthcoming stories of survivors like Thandi took the brutal reality of poaching into the consciousness of people all around the world. People saw the brutality and senselessness stemming from greed that fuels the act of poaching and the trafficking of the product."

Statistics Show Slight Rhino Poaching Decrease

According to Dr. Fowlds, there are encouraging signs that indicate that rhino poaching may be a slowing down. This is as a result of various efforts ranging from improved rhino protection to reducing demand and trafficking. The biggest strides have been made in the international community who seemed to grasp the urgency and long-term implications of the problem. He says, "Themba’s death helped to take the poaching crisis into the hearts and minds of the international community and we have seen an incredible response and that is what gives me hope that we can contain the crisis." 

Support Needed to Ensure Rhino Safety

Dr. Fowlds warns that it is still important for people to stay educated about the crisis, to be informed of what’s happening and to keep spreading awareness of the issue. Support for the organisations involved is always needed and he sites the following charities and the work they are doing as worthy of your support.

  • Kariega Foundation Save the Rhino Fund - supporting rhino conservation and protection at Kariega Game Reserve.
  • The Wilderness Foundation - who aim to keep animals in their habitats. They helped to fund the care for not only Themba and Thandi but for other rhino poaching victims including Hope. They work in collaboration with MediVet UK. 

Today, as we remember Themba and his brave fight. We must ensure that he did not die in vain. Please continue to support initiatives to save rhino - we must keep up the good work.