Can we find another way to
Extremely poor communities in Mozambique are located right next to the last remaining rhinos. These people are persuaded to poach rhinos for money. Providing other activities and opportunities will decrease their dependence on poaching.
We want communities to stand together and create sustainable solutions for income and livelihood, allowing nature and humans to strive together.
What can be done to pull these communities together?
Matt Bracken started returning to Africa because of the people. He always loved to see the animals, but it was really the people that kept him coming back.
Some of the poachers are young men with their whole lives ahead of them. When they decide to go into the bush, it's a very big risk. The young men risk their lives trying to poach wildlife animals to put food on their family’s table. The unfortunate part of the whole poaching syndicate is that some of the young men lose their lives in the bush, and so does our wildlife.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Produced, Directed and Filmed by Myles Pizzey
Finding a dead rhino is very upsetting. Maybe it's a week old, the poachers are long gone, but sadly the rhino’s face is hacked off and it's very upsetting. Who could possibly do such a thing? It must be awful, awful, cold-hearted people or people whose voices, aspirations, and ambition have been sounded out by modern-day colonialism. We are not going to win this war by catching all the poachers and especially not by killing the poachers. We're holding the line here, but we're not going to win. In fact, killing poachers may be making it worse.
If you are poor, there are people who can buy you. That is why it is so important for Wild and Free Foundation to engage with the communities, invest in their future, and uplift the community as a whole to protect the wildlife all around us.
We've shifted from hating the poachers to helping the poachers. It's all just so much more enjoyable for everyone. You must still protect and hold the line within the reserve.
Uplift the communities living outside the wildlife reserves so they don't have a reason to come in and poach in the first place.
Engage, engage these communities in a conservation discussion, engage them in the benefits of conservation and the benefits of that rhino or that elephant being alive, not dead.
If we had the right backing behind us, and you took the Rhino Cup Champions League (RCCL) to other areas, and it was done properly, it's going to win far more hearts and minds towards wildlife than sending people home in wooden boxes.
The kids must keep busy doing something. The Rhino Cup Champions League is an activity you're supposed to do, and this will keep the youth in the community busy.
We've got to find other ways to protect wildlife without conflict or destruction. Protecting wildlife should be a celebration, a foundation where everything around it is uplifted, including the communities right next to the reserves and globally.
The first thing, actually, the community said to us was, "Well, we could use some help with the soccer."
If we don't change our approach towards looking after our wildlife and we only look at protection through the barrel of a gun, our grandchildren aren't going to see rhinos or elephants or pangolins or anything.
Now we are trying to keep the youth within the community busy, busy, busy, and one day, we all hope that progress will come.
Uplifting people will actually save the rhino more than arresting those people. We sent a man to the moon. Surely, we can find another way to protect the rhino?
With the launch of the Rhino Cup champions league, it's kind of become a big deal. People are excited. This whole football focus has taken on a life of its own.
Football is called the greatest game, so why can't the greatest game save the greatest animal?
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