Despite heavy international investments in funding, training, and equipment from both government, corporate, and private support, South Africa is currently losing its war on rhino poaching. It is a complex issue and one must take into consideration that we are dealing with political and criminal problems at all legal levels including provincial, national, and international. Additionally, South Africa’s extensive international border with Mozambique along the eastern Kruger National Park boundary presents an ongoing challenge to the comprehensive security of rhinos (and now elephants) within the park, and those private reserves surrounding the park.
In addition to Kruger, other Parks, private reserves, farms, and the rangers that protect them, are on average neither properly trained nor equipped to combat this war on wildlife. Conversely, poaching syndicates come fully equipped and prepared to lose their life in the fight.
The Silent Heroes Foundation supports the creation of a large-scale, biologically viable, comprehensive high-security protection zone for species at risk of extinction due to poaching. This ‘sanctuary’ will ensure that species can continue reproducing successfully, engaging in normal free-ranging behaviors, forage normally, and with enough habitat to allow for an environment free of stresses on the population that might otherwise result from human intervention or influence. Although the concept originated as a result of the ongoing crisis with rhino poaching, it will allow for the protection of other species at risk, such as pangolin, wild dog, and cheetah.
While we recognize that a multi-disciplinary approach is needed in order to ensure a viable future for rhino and other species at-risk, including demand reduction, we understand that this takes time to properly implement, and unfortunately time isn’t on our side.
The center, planned for a non-disclosed location, will exist as a unique model that may be adapted and simulated in additional locations as necessary in Africa, the US, or Europe.
For more information please visit Rhino Pride Foundation.