South Africa



Lewa, Kenya, November 2010


Sad trip


Stumpy, my friend the Black Rhinoceros, was killed last night.  Savagely massacred by poachers who gave her no chance. After having also injured her one and a half year old baby (who is now doing better), they cut off her horn which will likely be sent to China to be made into powder to be used in traditional Chinese medicine. 


Stumpy was 41 years old and gave birth to eight babies during her life.  She is the third rhinoceros to be killed in Lewa in the past year, the first in the entire history of the reserve.  Proof that 2010 was a terrible year for rhinoceros in Africa. The numbers are unbelievable. The projection is that by the end of the year more than 300 rhinos will be killed in South Africa, practically one a day!  Zimbabwe is also affected and Kenya has had around 20 cases. 


Why?  Because each gram of horn is more expensive than gold!  Chinese demand is increasing and people continue to believe that rhinoceros horn can cure maladies like cancer, which is totally false.  Lewa is going to further reinforce security in this “war of the rhinos,” and continue it's work with the local population. 


It is also crucial to educate the population of China.  In 5 or 10 years there will be even more people that have the financial means to purchase these products and the demand for rhinoceros horn and elephant tusks will increase.  This is a problem that must be attacked from all sides.  As long as the demand is high there will be poachers ready to make some “easy” money. 


Today another Black Rhinoceros was born at Lewa, like a symbol of resilience of a fragile species whose future is in the hands of Man.  In South Africa, many schools have already taken action to “say no to poaching.”  The dream is to have the same type of program in Hong Kong and China.  I can promise you that this dream will become a reality in the coming years, bird's word!   


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