Our last full day before new volunteers arrived also marked the beginning of the Hoedspruit Sustainable Living Festival. Companies from all around the Hoedspruit area came together to address issues and cover topics such as individuals’ lifestyles, consumer choices for global warming, sufficient and healthy water, secure food supplies, and good health. As their website says, “The festival will create a central platform to enable and spread the awareness of the different methods and options available, as well as to develop interest in, the various methods of, Sustainable Living. From making use of renewable energy within the home, recycling, water-wise and toxin free gardening, to biodynamic and organic agriculture, carbon footprint reduction and the prevention and mitigation of climate change symptoms there is bound to be something to capture your interest.” Included in this festival was an all day forum hosted by LOCORES (Lowveld Coordinated Research) discussing rhino (Ceratotherium simum) poaching, what can be done about it and how we can work together to fight this war against poachers.
GVI took a special interest in the Rhino Forum Workshop and the whole Karongwe Staff team, including Pete Bradford (Homo sapiens), attended the meeting. The day was jam-packed with 10-minute presentations ranging from the current status of rhino in our country, communication and community involvement, Anti-poaching security and even DNA profiling and recording of rhino. Each presenter brought new insight and light to the large issue at hand and offered a myriad of ideas to protect our reserves. What steps everyone will take next is still up in the air, but the discussion brought a lot of farm and landowners together and helped begin the unification of Hoedspruit and the surrounding area in order to protect our rhinos.
Things we took away? Protecting our beloved species is beyond individual action. If we are to save rhinos from dehorning and extinction we must start working together with both the local communities in the area as well as neighbouring farms. The complexity of rhino conservation requires everyone to make a concerted effort if we are to make a difference. A unified front, from all over the world, is now our only true chance of ending this war.
Oh right, and we also learnt Hoedspruit locals can make some mean boerie rolls.
Mountain Phase Manager