The Real Defenders of Wildlife14th August 2015
This website was born due to the sheer number of people who signed those petitions for Cecil The Lion – if every single person had donated $1/£1 to the smaller projects in Africa they could have changed the outlook of that area / project / community for years to come. Misdirected goodwill when it comes to conservation is exactly what we’d like to battle, and we’d like to do so by discussing the real defenders of wildlife – the guys who risk their lives every day to defend rhino, elephant, park boundaries, private land and pristine areas of Africa. This is not the old days of bows and arrows and spears (although poisoned spears and arrows are still used in certain parts of Africa) – the poaching industry is now mostly made up of AK47s and helicopters, especially in South Africa where some properties have even had to ban guests taking phones on game drives as they were sending GPS co-ordinates of rhino to poaching rings.
The defenders of our wildlife are those on the ground every day, sitting deadly silent on a moonlit night for any sound or suggestion that a poaching gang is at work, working with the sniffer dogs tracking gangs for days on end through thick bush, never knowing when you might suddenly bump into a gang of poachers – on their side they have a shoot to kill policy from their governments, but you can know for sure that those poachers would rather kill a man than be caught. Many of these defenders of the wildlife are not paid huge amounts of money to risk their lives, but work fearlessly every day just because of their in-grown passion for their land and it’s wildlife.
Sean Hensman from Adventures with Elephants recently featured in a wonderful program about poaching presented by Africa addict, actor Tom Hardy. He proved conclusively after tracking Tom’s scent through the bush that his team of trained elephants could also be useful in anti poaching, their heightened sense of smell allowing them to track poachers further than the sniffer dogs currently used. But the money involved with setting up these kind of operations in other parts of Africa is vast, and then to put your beloved elephants in the line of poachers fire again would be too risky. The Mount Kenya Trust use horses for their patrols, something that seems most natural if you look back at the history of the use of horses in war – these brave animals when trained could be really useful for anti poaching units covering large areas of land.
Through this website you can now see a select group of anti poaching units which are helping to defend the wildlife privately, and you can see exactly what your money buys – you can donate to them and know that your money has truly helped a ranger or anti poaching scout, or an informer or researcher.