To some African communities, the presence of wildlife is perceived as a threat to their livelihoods. Elephants are crop eating, water tank tipping nuisances. Lions are cattle attacking predators. Routine chores involve the added danger of stumbling upon a hippo or crocodile at the riverbank.
To others, where there is wildlife, they see opportunity. For many African nations, tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. In fact, Tanzania’s earnings topped 1.88 billion US Dollars in 2013, superseding gold as their number one foreign exchange earner.
By 2017, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is expected to have 20 million people passing through it each day. That’s a lot of people. When that many people are passing through, there’s a huge likelihood of more rhino horn or elephant ivory passing through the airport and out of the country. It’s quite worrying.
Hi my name is India and I am 18 years old, I live and study in the UK but my heart has always been in Africa. Being half South African and having the opportunity to go to Africa pretty much every year of my life has honestly made me who I am today.
There is a rhinometer in the local newspaper. It tracks the number of rhinos killed. It is the kind of thermometer you see when people are fundraising, where you want the red to reach the top, signifying your fundraising target. Yet with the rhinometer the red symbolizes the blood of rhinos, you pray it does not keep rising.
It’s long been my belief that rhino poaching is a painful abstraction for most of us with an interest in African wildlife. We see the gruesome photographs of de-horned animals on the Internet and read the news clips about the most recent transgressions against these magnificent creatures, but then the cell phone rings or the bills arrive in the mailbox and we mentally shift gears to the next concern. All this is perfectly natural.