Whilst teaching wildlife photography out in South Africa, I became aware of the enormity of the poaching issue, affecting numerous species of flora and fauna. South Africa is still teeming with wildlife compared to many other regions on this planet. This will soon change if poaching continues at the same rate.
Last year, I spent six months out in the bush filming and photographing wildlife away from the clutches of civilization, spending a few months at Sibuya Game Reserve. I spent many hours out in the bush filming, getting to know the men on the Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) who work long hours in order to protect these beautiful prehistoric creatures. White rhino are now the main target of criminal organisations, who stop at nothing to get their hands on the horn, which is currently one of the most lucrative commodities in the world being used as status symbols in Vietnam, aphrodisiacs in China alongside providing funding for certain terrorist groups.
Whilst filming I was delighted to meet a young rhino affectionately known as Binky, who had been born a week earlier and over the months watched her grow into a fine young rhino, under the protective eye of her beautiful parents. I got to know some of their unique personality traits and habits.
Inevitably I became extremely close and attached to this beautiful family. Seeing Bingo protect his family was very touching. However, it turned out to not be enough, as less than a year later, poaching had claimed their lives. Poachers had infiltrated the reserve and using chainsaws cut away the base plate of three rhinos including Bingo and the two female mothers. Bingo survived the initial attack, fighting for the first few days then also went on to a more peaceful place, leaving little Binky an Orphan. Having both mother and father ripped away Binky and another newborn rhino, Courage, whose mothers life was also taken that day are left alone in this world.
My heart bleeds with the memories of the happy family which I spent so much time with a year ago. Through human brutality they have been torn apart. We have to continue fighting this war for the rhino’s sake. The rate of poaching can be slowed and stopped if more people stand together.
Please share this story and support Sibuya Game Reserve in their mission to protect their remaining rhinos so that the little ones have their chance to reproduce and keep this special species alive for future generations.
As a tribute and in memory of the rhinos lost I have decided to sell fine art prints. 15% of the proceeds will go to Sibuya Game Reserve to support the two Orphans, Binky and Courage and strengthen their APU. In the shop section of my website you will find a selection of prints available.