There are two worlds at play in our wilderness. The world of the wild rhino. The glimpse of an animal so celebrated: roaming safely through the bush. You spot him lying by the river in the afternoon heat and you feel instantly the importance of the moment. A rhino, wild and free, protected as much as possible by the safety of a reserve dedicated to ensuring his safety. A reserve like ours and the Greater Kruger Park region where anti-poachers, guardians of the last great wild things, work each day to ensure their survival.
In the other world are the rhinos who have fallen victim to the fight, witnessed their mothers being poached to death or survived their own trauma. The rhinos that we have rescued, that have been taken into the care of HESC, and eventually, successfully released into the same wilderness that the wild rhinos roam through.
It is the most beautiful marriage of two worlds, of lives, ones protected and safe and ones given a new lease on life. It makes up one mutual world of great hope.
There have been many rhinos that have passed through our care and rehabilitation at HESC, rewilded and let free to roam again as nature intended.
You can follow their journeys here in our blogs:
There was Gertjie and Matimba, whose extraordinary journeys both started with heartache and sadness, but five-years later continue with hope, pride, love and best of all, freedom. Their stories caught the world’s attention and then stole their hearts too.
In the beginning, Gertjie was introduced to Lammie, a hand-reared Pedi lamb who became a faithful companion for him over the years. Many people fell in love with their unusual, yet beautiful friendship.
There was Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell who were successfully released back into the wild at the end of last year. By releasing these two rehabilitated orphaned rhinos, the chance of their procreation and their ability to sustain themselves has been immensely enhanced.
The joy, pure, authentic, selfless joy of the carers who played a part in the rehabilitation and reintroduction of these rhinos into our wilderness transcends any sadness first felt for their loss or trauma. It is a joy born of rescuing something great and significant for the animal kingdom, and for all of humankind.
We have been fortunate enough to see the rhino-poaching statistics in South Africa decline steadily since they peaked in 2014.
In 2018, a total of 769 rhinos were poached in comparison to the 1 215 in 2014. This is no doubt due to the sustained and significant efforts of many committed organisations and anti-poaching units that have increased substantially over these years. But, we must continue to win this war.
We need to continue with as much persistence and hope and strength to ensure the future of rhinos like the ones we have already rescued.
We need to thank the humble likes of Lammie and Mielie, the lambs staying side by side with our rhinos at HESC in the spirit of friendship and care, enabling us at Jabulani to release happy, healthy rhinos back into the wild.
We need to thank our sponsors and donors who feel the pull of conservation in the face of poaching, who believe as we do, that we simply cannot do nothing. That we must continue to enable the passage of each and every rhino that we can from danger to safety, death to life, with every ounce of faith we hold, with the full assistance of the tools, expertise, and funds given to us.
It is our mutual fight, faith, and doggedness that we honour this World Rhino Day. And every day. It is our focus on positivity and possibility that has gotten us and our rhinos this far and it is this that continues to drive us.