Tag Archives: Africa
When a gram of rhino horn fetches more than its weight in gold or cocaine, how do you protect the animals from poaching? This is the question staff at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy—a 62,000-acre wildlife sanctuary in northern Kenya—is currently grappling with. The facility is widely regarded as one of the safest havens for rhinos and elephants in Africa, yet just two weeks ago Lewa lost its 5th rhino in its 30 years of operation, a pregnant female named Matterhorn.
“I still feel like we’ve got one of the best—if not the best—security set ups in Kenya,” said Mike Watson, a former British Army officer and Lewa’s current CEO. “But we’re still losing rhinos,” he added.
Reeking of infection, the elephant stumbled into the Tanzanian camp where Thomas Appleby works as a safari manager. Its back legs festered with gangrene radiating from the open, pungent wounds that the animal had evidently endured for at least two long weeks. Ivory poachers had shot the elephant in both legs, but it had probably bolted before they could subdue the massive beast enough to hack off its tusks. The infection had slowly spread throughout the animal’s limbs, and Appleby had to put it down.
“The poor thing, it completely tore my heart out,” Appleby said. “We are losing thousands—and I mean thousands—of iconic animals because of some kind of rapacious hunger from far off countries.”