T’ Horny Issue

White Rhino; ©Englesman in Afrika

The Plight

September was ‘Rhino month’, which culminated in the celebration of the third annual World Rhino Day on the 22nd, aimed at celebrating the five sub-species of rhino…forever. I realise of course that I’m late with this post, with my only defence being that I was away on vacation – hard-earned, I might add!

I’ve considered a post on the subject of rhinos in South Africa for some time; particularly pertinent to this blog, since I elected to move here permanently in 2009 and also as the rhino is one of the elusive animals which I most look forward to seeing on a game drive – second only to leopard. Rhino are one of the African ‘Big Five’ which national parks and game farm owners announce with much fanfare to ensure tourists receive a ‘true’ African safari experience (I won’t mention that there is also a ‘Super Seven’…doh!). SA is home to an estimated 70% of the surviving global rhino population and a prime target for poaching syndicates, due to the relatively large numbers.

In an effort to tackle some of the background on poaching, I scanned through the plethora of rhino society webpages (e.g. Unite Against Poaching.co.za, Stop Rhino Poaching.com and Rhino Conservation.org) which have surfaced to publicise and help curb (stop?) the poaching of rhinos for their horn, as well as a selection of recent online news articles. Some say ‘ignorance is bliss’, but when dealing such a profoundly sensitive subject (such as this), I thought that it would be wise to sidestep the bliss. Continue reading

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Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, A Hunting We Will Go

South African men (most of them anyway) love guns. Guns are used for numerous things in the country, from game and sports hunting, to illegal poaching; from self defence to car-jackings, cash van heists, general robbery and then by the police in the ‘dropping’ of crime perpetrators. Let’s stay on the right side of the law for the remainder of this post.

One of my friends recently purchased a handgun, adding to his growing arsenal, which he proudly showcases in its leatherette (or perhaps leather?) holster attached to the belt on his jeans. It goes everywhere with him and is clearly visible (is this a rule?). Now the weird thing is that his new accessory has an accompanying cowboy-come-Chuck Norris style swagger attached to it, and when not swaggering, a thumbs-through-belt-loop control of his hands. Got the picture? It’s like the BMW car effect of the gun world. Perhaps if I owned a handgun I would also be….possessed?
Continue reading