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Tuesday, 2 August 2016   /   published in Environment, Poaching, South Africa

A Perspective on Poaching

Whenever I am asked what my passions are, like most women I list two: my family and my career. I am the mother of two young children, my passion project in the truest sense of the term; and I am a conservation biologist – part of a remarkable team who are doing everything we can to save endangered species… and ultimately save ourselves.

We are fortunate enough to live on a game reserve which my husband, through his own work for Wildlands, has helped to establish and repopulate with a number of species including the critically endangered black and white rhino and African wild dogs. As conservationists, we have knowingly and willingly made personal sacrifices to follow our passions, but never could we have predicted the personal toll that our work would take when we entered the industry.

I am one of a legion of wives and partners whose husband / partner is or has been at the front lines of the rhino poaching crisis, and ours is just one of many families whose daily routine, comfort and safety have been regularly disrupted by a phone call or a radio summons to react to a threat.

Our son, at the innocent age of just 5 years old, has grown jaded and suspicious, and comments with real surrender in his voice every time he witnesses the rise of a full moon. “Uh-oh, it’s a poacher’s moon”. His little-boy imagination carries him into a “Cops and Robbers” dimension daily, but his imaginary heroics are always based on how he will defeat the biggest “baddies” he knows: rhino poachers.

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