A white rhino grazing on short grass, in an unknown location in Southern Africa. Rhinos primarily inhabit African long and short grass savannah areas where we can find ample food to sustain them.
South Africa's rhinos are being poached for their horns. Local villagers are lured into killing rhinos in Kruger National Park on the border of Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries.
But things are changing.
A football league has been created in the region to help uplift the communities—the Rhino Cup Champions League. In an area of immense poverty, with no jobs and little food, the world’s greatest game is bringing people together and giving hope for the future.
The ultimate goal is to stop poaching through football before it's too late.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Produced, Directed and Filmed by Myles Pizzey Special thanks to Wild & Free Foundation, Myles Pizzey, Matt Bracken, Rohan Nel and Vincent Barkas.
Matt Bracken : “Here we are in South Africa where 85% of the world's remaining rhinos are. We have the perfect storm of extremely poor people living just across the fence of an extremely profitable item, the wildlife reserves. You find a dead rhino, his face is hacked off. People are making a lot of money. You get angry. Tipping points has already happened where more rhinos have been killed than born.”
Ferdie Terblanche : “Rhino poaching is organized crime. “
Matt Bracken : “It's definitely pretty much a war against these rhino poachers.”
Bernardo Malavela : “Some of the people they are poor maybe they try to get something, some of them they die there in the bush.”
Vincent Barkas : “If we only look at protecting it through the barrel of a gun, our grandchildren aren't gonna see rhino or elephant or anything.”
Matt Bracken : “It's a crime of a very serious nature.”
An everyday picture in a community from Mozambique.
Vincent Barkas : “More and more people expected us to kill people to protect these animals, I couldn't see the logic in it.”
Matt Bracken : “We're not gonna win this war by catching all the poachers and especially killing the poachers.”
Vincent Barkas : “Every death of a poacher ,we are making more enemies.”
Matt Bracken : “We're holding the line here but we're not going to win this war.”
Vincent Barkas: “We send man to the moon, surely we can find another way to protect the rhino.”
Matt Bracken : “So we're going straight to the heart of the rhino poachers. They said “well we could use some help with a soccer league.”
A young white rhino poached with the rhino horn still next to the crime scene, unknown location in Southern Africa.
Vincent Barkas : “It’s gonna win four more hearts and minds towards wildlife than sending people home in wooden boxes to bury.”
Matt Bracken : “Uplifting people will actually save the Rhino more than arresting those people. Their life is now enhanced because those rhinos are alive not better because they're dead.”
A soccer field captured from high above the soccer game, during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Rhino Cup Champions League in Mahungo, Mozambique.
Vincent Barkas “Football is called the greatest game, so why can't the greatest game save the greatest animal?”
A young child holding a sponsored soccer ball, with a Rhino Revolution logo printed on the ball.
Wild and Free Foundation (WFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA. WFF is registered as a section 18A public benefit organization (PBO) in South Africa. USA EIN #47-2266595 SA PBO #930061358