Now and then we are all reminded that we live in Africa. My good friend Kobus Van Rooyen (@phoenixmuso on Twitter) stage managed the Game Festival in Thabazimbi (in the Limpopo province of South Africa) over the weekend and met Asha The Rhino.
His excitement sky rocketed when he realized that they might be putting a rhino weighing 200 kg on a stage. Here’s Kobus’ write-up about this (Marilize Minnaar van Hilltop Live took the photos on this article).
I’ve seen many things go down on stages but an endangered species has never been one of them. After some debate it was decided that it would be better for little Asha, a baby white rhino from the Pliansberg to interact with the audience, rather than to be on stage.
Asha the rhino was saved by game rangers when she was attacked by two lions after having been separated from her mother. The lions severely injured little Asha & she had to get several operations to her hind leg. After being injured Asha was rejected by her mother & being a rhino with a horn worth half a million US Dollars it was decided to raise Asha & use her to teach people across South Africa about the conservation of these amazing animals.
Just to put it into perspective : Rhino horn is worth 1 Million USD per kg. And Asha’s horn weighs 0.5 kg. And to think that a little mass made of nothing more than keratin, with absolutely zero medicinal purposes has become such a valuable commodity is quite disturbing to me. Every beautiful beast that is slaughtered in my country just so that some eastern business man can try to get a hard on enrages me beyond belief.
Everybody’s heart melted as Asha waddled onto the field. She travels the country in a container and is escorted by two care takers as well as up to 5 specially trained game rangers. So if you’re thinking about trying to steal her horn you better be ready to face 5 big men with really big muscles & really big guns with a lot of ammo. These rangers don’t get paid to protect Asha. They do it because they care.
Dr Louis Greef, a vetenary specialist on rhinos & their behaviour gave a heartwarming lecture about the understanding of these special creatures but also painted a grueling picture about the reality of what these animals face out in the wild today. He played a sound clip to the audience which was a recording of the sound a baby rhino makes when it can’t find it’s mother. My heart broke. If you had heard it, your’s would have too. Constant personnel & surveillance is needed. Guns are needed. Ammuntion, vehicles & fuel – the list goes on.
If you would like to help make a difference you can visit the following sites :
You can help from as little as R30 per month & you can be sure that that money is really helping protect an animal that is such a big part of what makes Africa the special place that it is.
There you have it, the story of Asha the Rhino. If you feel that you want to make a difference, check out the websites that Kobus suggested. Spread the word about this. Share this article with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Sharing is Caring after all.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Facts categories and Stories section on Running Wolf’s Rant.