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My country’s politicians regularly trumpet the success of their anti-poaching efforts – because fewer rhinos are being poached every year. You and I know that these announcements attempt to conceal the stark truth – that the Kruger National Park rhino population is in FREEFALL. Kruger hosts the world’s largest wild rhino population. Each year we have to dig deep to discover how many rhinos are left in Kruger. This year was no different. The results are shocking. Our first story below refers.
Our second story touches on a vital issue if future generations are to see FREE-ROAMING wild animals in Africa. And our third story is another in our series on that wonderful Noah’s Ark of ENDEMIC species – Madagascar.
Finally, with a few weeks to go before we open the doors to entries for our Photographer of the Year, dust off those cameras and search through your archived images. The CASH and SAFARI prizes are again worth the effort.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Scientific Editor
While I was in the Kruger National Park a few weeks ago, I was granted a brief glimpse into the inner workings of the giant machine that is South Africa’s largest national park. Sufficeth to say, the people I encountered who keep this machine oiled and running were knowledgeable, candid and tremendously passionate. Their love – yes love – for the Kruger and its wildlife was palpable.
So now it’s that time of year when we delve into Kruger’s rhino population stats. And it is not looking good.
Putting together these updates is always a somewhat heart-wrenching experience for the AG team, even if the numbers come as no real surprise. So I can only imagine what it must be like for those responsible for counting, monitoring, and protecting Kruger’s rhinos to have to watch this catastrophe unfolding in real-time.
For decades, the Kruger has been a stronghold for rhinos, supporting one of the largest populations in the world. Yet it was the very nature of Kruger’s previous rhino conservation success that made it the prime target for surging rhino poaching. Should we be asking what more could be done to protect our rhinos? Of course. But we should also remember to celebrate the efforts of those working all hours and risking life and limb to keep them safe. As SANParks officials recently wrote: “The lesson is not about who keeps rhinos safest. It is about what is the safest way to keep rhinos.”
Latest: Rhino poaching has decimated Kruger NP populations by 75% in 10 years
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