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CEO note
A male Jameson’s firefinch quenches its thirst at a photographic hide in Karongwe Private Game Reserve near Hoedspruit, South Africa © Monique Adams

CEO NOTE: 29 January 2021

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Before I unload another rant on you, a quick SHOUT-OUT to the Thulamela Royal Family for emailing such a wonderful note to thank my team for last week’s story about that ancient Kruger walled kingdom known as Thulamela. Respect.

OK, stand by for a rant of note.

I am battling to find the words to explain my frustration and confusion about our wild rhinos’ situation. We are plagued by humans from the east who think that horn provides all sorts of medical benefits, others who gift horn to boost their status and some who stash horn in the vault as a speculative investment. Supplying horn to these misinformed people are sophisticated networks of illegal operators who also trade in drugs, humans and weapons. So our rhinos have become properly COMMODITISED – often trafficked by the evil ones alongside legal goods. And here in South Africa, where we host the vast majority of the remaining wild populations of these gentle giants, they are being butchered by locals desperate for money. Those in charge of these massive operations have inculcated themselves into our society at every level. They live amongst us, and some even walk the corridors of power.

The rhino population in Kruger National Park is crashing – our first story below refers – and my sources tell me that the true numbers are worse than the official stats we managed to dig up (the stats are well-hidden). Kruger ground crews are stretched, worked to the bone – under massive emotional and physical pressure. And yet our Minister of these things says that the situation is sustainable. In fact, she wants to reduce the CITES protection status of our rhinos. What is going on?

Rant over. I feel better now. Not really. Breath deeply Simon. Remember to celebrate.

On a more positive note, thank goodness that in the current state of global chaos, some caretakers of our wild areas are still DELIVERING the goods – see our second story below.

And finally, check out the awesome gallery below. Our Photographer of the Year celebration is already smoking hot – and it’s only the third week! Entrants are competing for a US$10,000 cash prize and a Botswana safari of note!

Story 1
LATEST rhino population stats: Rhino numbers in the Kruger National Park have plummeted in recent years, according to official sources

Story 2
A successful large-scale collaring of elephants and antelopes aids in the restoration and protection of Pendjari and W National Parks, Benin

Story 3
Week three of our 2021 Photographer of the Year

CEO note



Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic


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I am a proud African and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, elusive birds and real people with interesting stories. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered accountant but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn

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