In Loving Memory of Reine & Magen
After finding Reine and Magen deceased, our first concern was locating the remaining rhinos in our herd to make sure they were uninjured. Within an hour, Tokkie of Flying for Freedom was onsite, arranged by Nico of Rhino911, with a helicopter and 2 fixed-wing airplanes. The wonderful people in these organizations to whom we will forever be grateful searched the reserve for hours trying to locate each and every one of our rhinos. Eventually they were all found, but sadly, Luke, our dominant bull, had a very bad limp and was discovered on Wednesday after being darted from a helicopter to have been shot. The bullet passed through his shoulders and caused extremely tissue and muscle damage. To see a strong, regal bull brought to his knees in pain was gut wrenching. However, Luke was passionately treated (and will continue to be) by Dr. Gerhardus Scheepers of Zodiac Dierekliniek who is hopeful that he will make a full recovery. Luke’s wounds are being monitored closely, and he is being kept under a 24-hour vigil while he remains vulnerable by Jimmy, Casey, Chloe, Sue and Geoff, members of the ERC family to whom we also owe a great big thank you for taking shifts.
Needless to say, feelings of complete and utter despair and sadness have engulfed the ERC family. We had managed to keep our rhino safe for 6 years by dehorning and by establishing anti-poaching teams who have watched tirelessly over our herd during endless hours of patrol. Most of our staff even elected to work through the holidays to assist in keeping our rhino safe — all to no avail. There are simply no words to express our grief.
However, while we may be broken, we are not defeated as this 12 year fight becomes a war with the demand for rhino horn being so high that syndicates are now targeting the growth plate — the tiny horn stub left behind after humane dehorning. We know what has to be done, and we have a plan. With a lot of hard work and your help, we are determined to keep the surviving rhino safe. It is going to be a massive project, but we must do what it takes to carry on and to keep our promise of life to the rhino. They need us and you more than ever. Please join us on the battlefield!