The poachers promise and deliver food, medical supplies, even transport to hospitals as needed. They present what looks like a quick route to money. Because these communities get no support from the government, poachers become “the good guys.” They start young teenagers out on poaching small game: buck, impalas, slowly graduating them into the bigger animals, until they are ready to take on the prize: the rhino.
The big question: how does one gain the trust and loyalty of the communities that surround the sanctuaries and The Kruger National Park? How does one make the rhino more valuable alive than dead? How does one turn the communities into partners in the fight to keep the rhino from extinction?
Working with the CFW rhino sanctuary BRR has already funded TWO COMMUNITY VEGETABLE FIELDS. These fields are tilled and seeds planted by the CFW sanctuary, irrigated by water from the nearby river, as provided by the sanctuary, and then maintained and harvested by the members of the community. The community may use the harvest for food, and the surplus to sell for profit. This creates an excellent partnership between the community, CFW rhino sanctuary and BRR who makes it possible. In 2020, we will be concentrating on community farm projects to enable the support and loyalty of the communities.
Every Sunday soccer games are played in open fields across the country. Typically the fields are rudimentary, there are often not real soccer balls, and there are certainly not team “gear” to identify teams in games. BRR has its first soccer team. Working
with the CFW rhino sanctuary, we have supported fully decking out the first team. They have won their first game. We anticipate that as the “Rhino Teams” grow, a “Rhino Cup” is in the cards! These teams will be playing for the rhino.
When members of a soccer team are supported in this way, they become the “eyes and ears” for the sanctuary. If there is any talk of poaching, the team members will
report this to the sanctuary. In this way, the rhinos becomes safer.
In 2020 BRR will put resources into developing soccer teams in the communities around the sanctuaries, and then going further afield, to the communities around The Kruger National Park.