In 2000 I travelled to South Africa with friends, an adventure holiday that started in Cape Town, working my way up to Johannesburg. On the trip I traveled to a wildlife reserve and went on a canoe trek in St. Lucia.
It was on both of these tours that I had the privilege and was fortunate enough to see some of the worlds most glorious animals; hippos, lions, zebras, elephants and rhinos.
But it was the two of the largest that had me in awe, rhino’s and elephants. For those of you who have seen these magnificent animals up close, you would know that they are truly giants of the animal kingdom. Posing no threat to other animals and certainly not to humans.
So why are we as humans doing our best to bring them to extinction?
The answer is the deplorable trade in rhino horn and ivory. The senseless killing of these beautiful animals is continuing today, in many places it is increasing, simply because of the value of the horns and ivory tusks. To the traders, these items are worth their weight in gold. Driven by greed of money, they kill indiscriminately young or mature rhinos and elephants, with little care that these great animals are heading towards extinction.
My exposure to the human trafficking of people through the organisation I founded SISHA International also exposed me to the poaching of rhinos and elephants. I promised myself several years ago that I would try best in being a loud voice against rhino and elephant poaching. I promised myself that I would do my best to make sure that my daughters would be able to grow up and see these animals in the wild and not have to visit a museum or look at images on the internet, just to see what they once were.
But the continued poaching and killing of rhinos and elephants is fast bringing that dream to an end and if something isn’t done on a global scale very soon, then we may see their extinction in the not too distant future.
This year, I am keeping to my promise and taking action. I intend to raise as much noise as I can about the poaching and senseless killing of rhinos and elephants. There are already some true heroes out there fighting against poaching and trying to stop the killing. Guys like Damien Mander from International Anti-Poaching Foundation (www.iapf.org) have dedicated their lives to this very important cause.
Last week my company SMCS Group created SMCS Earth, our private fund that will look to support causes that we are very passionate about. The first cause we are supporting is stopping the poaching and killing of rhinos and elephants in Africa and supporting the great work that Damien and his crew are doing.
The best way to stop this trade is to take away the commercial value of horn and ivory. We need to stop the demands by buyers. Without buyers there is no need to kill rhinos and elephants.
This is what poaching looks like. (image from Damien Mander’s Facebook page)
As shocking as it is, if we all make some noise about this, including business who need to add this to their corporate responsibility programs, then we can stop it and make a difference.
Will you be a voice?