How can we save the African Rhino?
Can you accept that rhino poaching will not go away?
Matt Bracken, the founder of the Wild and Free Foundation, gets realistic in this video about what's happening to the world's remaining rhinos and what we can do to preserve them.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Right now, we have the perfect storm of extremely poor people living right on the perimeter of an extremely profitable item.
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 it is.
You cannot say poachers are from the community and that they are separate from everyone within the community, they are part of the community and one must accept that.
The concept of poaching will not go away. You must address that, so it's better that you step out of your comfort zone, meet with them, see what's going on there and work together with them.
Conservation must be 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.
On the morning of July 13, 2016, we were driving to Corumana, Mozambique. Where we have the Corumana soccer field, that is where the history of the Rhino Cup Champions League was born.
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 in 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.
“Wild and Free Foundation (WFF) is not initiating this project for themselves to get money. They are doing it for us disadvantaged people, to help us create a better community. It is for our own benefit and to uplift the communities of Mozambique.” Orlando “Watch”
Cossa, Manager & Coach of Club de Corumana.
People are beginning to see that conservation is not a threat to them and 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: communities and conservation.
That was a very big step, just to uplift that person with a soccer jersey, to empower that poacher and to 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 is joy, happiness, competition. It's something for them to get excited about, so bringing a soccer league to a community, is a major uplifting point.
“Conservation is not about submarines, tanks, guns and bullets. It's about Communication.”
Ferdie Terblanche, Game Park Ranger.
Our philosophy is to save the African 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 lives are 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 their lives are better because those rhinos are alive. Not better because they're dead.