We all hailed the New Year with
enthusiasm and determination to make this year a memorable one.
What a devastating start to the
year with the discovery of the rhino carcasses in the Kruger National Park as
well as some of the private reserves. It seems the poachers did enormous damage
during the festive season. If one has to
look for any good that comes out of such a horrific tragedy in our conservation,
it is that this news has galvanised the public into making a stance and wanting
to make a difference. How sad that we have to be horrified into action.
People want to stop the carnage
and everyone is looking at ways to help and to put pressure on Government and decision
makers to DO SOMETHING. We need to make our voices heard and there are so many Facebook
groups, Twitter groups and just the man in the street who want action. In all
these forums the passion is felt but there is also a great deal of hysteria. One’s
credibility is lost when arguments become subjective and no longer objective.
Agreed we are all passionate about this matter and enraged at what appears to
be a lack of urgency, but calm action goes a long way.
The lack of information and
feedback from SANParks is disappointing. It is understandable that they do not
want to reveal their actions in order to avoid alerting the poaching
syndicates, but the public are howling in despair and need to be reassured that
some action is being taken. The news that some poachers have been apprehended
while others were killed does give one some hope that they are on the trail. We
look forward to more good news from SANParks, the custodians of the majority of
the rhino in our country.
There does need to be
co-operation and not competition between the various conservation/counter poaching
initiatives. The outraged public are willing to donate funds but it needs to
get to the targets quickly, be used effectively and not be stalled in administrative
processes. There needs to be feedback
and reassurance that the money being donated is really making a difference.
What is needed is strong decisive
action, with a strategy that we can all believe in and support. The objective
being to stop the poaching on the ground , but also a strategy to get to the kingpins
who are funding the poaching and exploiting the socio-economic situation in our