Magazine topic: 
Life around the world
Total votes: 90

Rhino revolution

2
by : 
KatB

'That's Zazu, over there.' 

This man knew his audience. Cloaked in khaki and epaulettes, with the kind of dusty tan earned by living a life out of doors, he was pointing at a proud, beaky bird perched atop a nearby thorn tree. And sure enough, there he was: Zazu. Also known as a hornbill, for those less familiar with Disney's The Lion King.

Although lacking the film's all-singing, all-dancing cartoon cast, the scenery surrounding us was like The Lion King brought to life: baboons racing across roads, staggeringly beautiful skies, lions roaring in the distance. We were in the middle of the South African bush, in the Blue Canyon conservancy to be precise; a place which quickly came to feel like home during my time as a volunteer with a unique anti-poaching project.

The nearby town of Hoedspruit is home of the Rhino Revolution initiative. It was launched in 2011 in response to the devastating impact of poaching upon South Africa's rhino population; it aims to protect and increase rhino numbers through vigilant anti-poaching, dehorning the rhino (and thus making them less valuable to potential poachers), as well as increasing awareness of the challenges facing the endangered rhino. What makes the project I was involved in unique is the use of ex-racehorses to form a mounted anti-poaching unit. Having succeeded on the track, these magnificent horses are put to great use in the bush. They can cover far more ground than guards on foot, whilst being nimble and brave enough to scale terrain too tough for vehicles. Their presence is a real deterrent to poachers; it's like the Revolution's secret weapon.

As a volunteer, my days in South Africa were spent riding over, under and through the thickest, thorniest bush, tracking rhino on foot and on horseback and rattling around the reserve in an authentic, albeit slightly battered open-topped Land Rover. It was absolutely thrilling, and such a rewarding experience. Coming from the wilds of Middle England, I was stunned by the savage beauty of South Africa; there's nothing in the world that comes close to those starlit nights, or the peaceful majesty of game roaming the bush.

What I wasn't prepared for was the sheer majesty of these vulnerable rhino. They have been hunted almost to the point of extinction. It has to stop. Sharing the planet with such incredible creatures is a privilege, one which we have abused for too long - but it's not too late.

Find out more about the Rhino Revolution project here: http://rhinorevolution.org 

Discussion

Are you worried about animals that are facing extinction? Do you think young people can do anything to help? 

Comments

Lavender's picture
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Lavender 26 August, 2015 - 04:44

I don't want any animals to face extinction. Not only young people but also everybody should stop using products made from animals like leather bags, shoes, fur coats. Stop hunting and eating wild animals. Stop building resorts on the seashore or golf gardens, use that land to build a park or a zoo or the coconut forest for the sea instead. And to young people, of course we can not prevent a group to build resorts, but we can refuse the services which we think they interfere with wild animals' habitats.

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32 users have voted.
bojana13's picture
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bojana13 28 August, 2015 - 22:54

Yes ,you re right.People shouldn t use products made from animals.We should protect animals,like we protect people.I am a person who likes animals and I hope that their is a lot of people who like animals too,like me.

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24 users have voted.