No, I don't believe posting a picutre of a Rhino bleeding on your facebook page is making a difference. It might be creating awareness, but it's highly unlikely that you are friends with a Rhino poacher and that he/she is going to look at your facebook page and because of this very sad picture are going to change their ways.
So, I actually don't even know why I am writing this blog. Because what difference is it going to make out there? But I think I need to share the horror and extreme sadness I experienced when I saw my first poached Rhino in real life.
We were still on honeymoon in Madikwe River Lodge close to the border of Botswana. We arrived late the previous afternoon, so this was our first game drive. The air was crisp, the sun was just rising and I was feeling extremely happy. I just married the man I love, we went to Bali and had an amazing experience and now we were in beautiful South Africa in the bushveld driving around seeing beautiful wild animals and feeling as close to God as you only can do in nature.
Suddenly the ranger came to a stop. He noticed a rhino lying in between the bushes. At first we thought he was sleeping. He looked so peaceful. This beautiful, majestic animal that according to our driver weighed about a ton. Then the ranger exlaimed "That is a poached rhino!" He was immediately on the radio, calling the police and the Park's Association people to inform them what happened. He drove forward slowly and now we could see the rhino's face. The bloody hole where it's horn used to be. I felt nauseous and did not want to look, but at the same time I kept on taking photos. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I couldn't believe this was a poached rhino in front of me. Suddenly the reality of it all hit me. Iv'e seen the news, I've heard about the statistics, but it did not sink in. It didn't make me feel like this...
I felt extremely sad, but more than that...I felt violated. I couldn't believe that people are killing our rhinos. That they shoot an animal weighing more that a ton (it's weight can even go up to 3 tons) for a horn that weighs about 6kg. It doesn't make sense.
It was a quiet drive back to the lodge. Later on the ranger told us that the poachers were there about 20 minutes earlier than when we arrived and that if we arrived on the scene of the crime, they would have shot at us. That's how bad these poachers are. They would kill - not only animals, but also humans, just for one small horn. This is the reality in our country South Africa.
So, that brings me back to my question: "What can we do about this?" And to be honest, I don't know the answer to that question. But I know I want to contribute in some way to try and make a difference. So, I went to the Stop Rhino Poaching Website and decided to make a monthly contribution from now on. And I will look for any projects on their website that I can join in order to make a difference. Check out their website, give a monthly donation, buy a bracelet and sign up for their appeal to make sure that rhino poachers are denied bail. It's small, but it's a start...