Her story, along with fellow poaching survivor Hope’s, have become part of the much broader issue of rhino poaching – an issue that cannot be fought in isolation.
Together with Dr William Fowlds, the Wilderness Foundation Medivet Project Coordinator, and the Wilderness Foundation we aim to protect rhinos, save the injured, and educate people about the importance of the cause.
In 2014, over 1,215 rhinos were brutally slaughtered for their horns in South Africa, making it the worst poaching year on record. Thankfully, the 2015 rhino poaching statistics saw a slight decline taking the number down to 1,175. Although this is a positive first step, there is a lot more that needs to be done to help save these magnificent animals.
Did you know that a rhino’s horn is actually made from keratin? This is the same protein found in our hair and fingernails.
Rhinos are being killed for the market trade of rhino horn, mainly in South-East Asia, whose inhabitants traditionally consumed their horns for so-called medicinal reasons, such as treating fever and gout. Now their illegal value has turned rhino horn into an instrument for social and economic status. Rhinos are horrifically murdered while criminals profit and grow this brutal trade at an alarming rate.
Luckily, there are people out there who are dedicated to protecting the future of the rhino. But these rangers cannot do it alone – that’s why we’re supporting the Wilderness Foundation in their quest to protect rhinos.
The Wilderness Foundation recently supported and sponsored a group of twenty-two Vietnamese school children to visit South Africa. The aim was to educate the young to (hopefully) change the future. During their visit, the school children spent two weeks in the African bush admiring the beauty of nature and learning about wildlife crime, particularly rhino poaching. Dr Fowlds assisted with their education and made the trip a real eye opener for them. They’ve since joined the fight to save the rhino and have returned to their country as rhino ambassadors.
Dr William Fowlds works alongside the Wilderness Foundation to generate public awareness for the plight of the rhino. In the past, he has appeared on BBC News and CNN to inform the world about the brutalities of rhino poaching and spread survivors’ stories through the power of the media. Hope’s story has reached thousands, allowing her to become the voice for her fellow brothers and sisters.
Medivet have been funding Hope’s treatment since she was found in May in the most horrific condition. Since then, she has required multiple surgeries to reconstruct her face after it was brutally hacked to remove her horn. She has a strong fighting spirit and will defend her right to survive.
Recently, she was treated and cared for in our Medivet Rhino Rehabilitation Enclosure at the Shamwari Game Reserve. She has now moved to a new location but our enclousure will become a sanctuary to other poaching survivors, so they can receive the treatment and care they need without risk from poachers.
We are fortunate to receive regular updates from Dr Fowlds and the inspirational team on the ground. These updates provide information not only about poaching survivor Hope, but also include educational information to help save the rhino and his experiences as a wildlife vet. You can follow these updates on our Medivet Facebook page.
Would you like to join our fight?