If you’ve been following our blogs and recent news, you’ve probably heard about the horrific elephant poisonings that occurred in Zimbabwe early last month. When I first wrote about this tragic situation, I reported on the immediate elephant deaths—41 of Hwange National Park’s majestic giants—which was already a horrifically high number.
Two contrasting scenes stand out in my mind when I remember my past as a young boy herding my father’s cattle in the former wildlands of Domboshava, Zimbabwe. Mountains covered with forest full of diverse, juicy wild fruits—this was the common scenery in my early days as a herd boy, unforgettable, and one I cherished and so dearly loved. I remember the scenery changing, my beloved forests and flowing rivers were slowly replaced by bare mountains, lethargic rivers and leafless remnants of bushy trees still standing.
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.