‘Help a ranger – Save a rhino’ charity’s urgent Xmas appeal

ACPP02 Anti-poaching unit on patrol

Anti-poaching unit on patrol in Hluhluwe iMfolozi

‘Camping equipment, cooking equipment, boots, wet weather gear – wet weather stuff in particular. Poachers don’t stop for the bad weather, they quite like the bad weather’
…anti-poaching ranger, Hluhluwe iMfolozi reserve, South Africa.

When we ask rangers we meet in Africa, fighting against poaching on the frontline, living rough, deep in the bush for weeks at a time, what they need most from people who want to help them, their replies – and they’re almost always the same – might come as a surprise. We expect them to say better weapons and training, or more technology – which many of them urgently do need. But instead they tell us it’s simple, basic stuff they’re desperate for. Relatively inexpensive stuff that’s perhaps so ordinary and obvious it tends to get overlooked. Uniforms – check. Arms – check. Waterproofs – uh no. It’s as if everyone’s forgotten Africa has a rainy season, yet according to the rangers we’ve spoken to, this is when the poachers like to get more active.

AMHRW157(D) White rhino

Help save a rhino this Christmas by donating to kit out rhino rangers

Which is why, in the countdown to Christmas, we’re drawing attention to an urgent appeal from leading rhino charity, Save the Rhino International (SRI). We don’t usually make a point of flagging up the many worthy calls for funding in the fight against poaching – that’s not the main aim of this awareness-raising campaign. But the festive season is about to start and SRI’s urgent ‘Help a Ranger – Save a Rhino’ appeal struck a chord. In setting out to raise £20,000 by Christmas to help kit out rhino rangers in South Africa it’s helping provide the very things the guys we’ve spoken to have at the top of their equipment wish-list. With the right gear they tell us they can stay longer in the field and be more effective. When you’re regularly walking 15 to 20 km everyday in rough terrain your boots won’t last forever.

ACPP16 Anti-poaching unit field camp

Small items like camping equipment will make a difference

Even a small sum can make a difference, going directly to help those at the sharp end of the war against poaching. For example, £20 buys a first aid kit for the rangers or a pair of boots, £25 a LED hand-torch. With South Africa experiencing its worst year of poaching yet, at least three rhinos killed there very day, the need for basic items like this will become greater as poaching patrols expand to meet the rising problem.

Save the Rhino says: ‘Donations will help purchase items such as canvas boots, rain jackets, bullet-proof vests, first aid kits, tyres, radio equipment, camouflage uniforms and much more. We need help to raise £20,000 by Christmas to fund this essential equipment and give the ranger teams the best possible start to combat poaching in 2015’.

There’s no reprieve for anti-poaching patrol rangers in the holiday season. In fact that’s when their job gets tougher and even more dangerous. Poaching tends to spike during Christmas and New Year. It’s also when the heavy rains fall and decent waterproofs are required…

To donate online www.savetherhino.org/helparanger

AMHRB23(D) Black rhino

At least three rhinos are now killed every day in South Africa


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