Can you accept that rhino poaching will not go away? Wild and Free Foundation Founder, Matt Bracken, gets real about what's happening to the world's last rhinos -- and what we can actually do to save them.
Right now, we have the perfect storm of extremely poor people living right on the perimeter of an extremely profitable item.
A rhino poaching is not poaching, it's organized crime. You cannot imagine how many people are involved with rhino poaching. You can't even begin to imagine how serious is it. You cannot say poachers are from the community and that they are separate from everyone within the community, they part of the community and one must accept that.
The concept of poaching will not go away, you must address them, so it's better that you step out of your comfort zone meet them, see what's going on there and work together with them. Anti-poaching is a community driven thing, going forward without guns and communities all over the world are apart of conservation.
What if I told you that the game of soccer could save the rhinoceros? It’s difficult to believe it, I would not believe it.
Alright, so on the day of 13 July 2016 we were driving to Corumana. Where we have the Corumana soccer field, that is where the history of the Rhino Cup Champions League was born. What we did on the day of 13 July 2016, is we had a meeting with 30 community members of all ranks to have a discussion… Chiefs, elders, soccer players, rhino poachers, community members and community leaders were involved the discussion. The ultimate goal is so that the communities say “No” to the people that come and ask the community members to go kill a rhino, cut off his horns and get paid in return. So we went straight to the heart of the rhino poaching community.
This project is not only done in Mozambique, Wild and Free Foundation (WFF) have done it already in other countries and they are doing it for us disadvantaged people, to help us create a better community, not for them to get money. It is for our own benefit and to uplift the communities of Mozambique.
People are beginning to see that conservation is not a threat to them, that we are willing to go out to them and start talking to them enabling us all to work together and solve the problem together. All it took was a soccer ball to bring the two parties together, that was a very big step and just to uplift that person with a soccer jersey. To empower that poacher and say to him straight; "you are not nothing, you are somebody".
Because soccer in the African community is a very big deal, the game of soccer is life, it's joy, happiness, it's competition, it's something for them to get excited about, so bringing a soccer team to a community, is a major uplifting point.
Conservation is not about submarines, tanks, guns and bullets. It's about Communication.
Our philosophy is saving the Rhino from the outside inwards. It all starts with the game of soccer.
Our focus is for the community to be uplifted to a point where their life is now enhanced by wildlife. So they tell the few people in that village, in that community who are poachers; no more, no more rhino poaching! Because now our lives are better because those rhinos are alive. Not better because they're dead.