Rhino Skulls – A Grim Reminder of the Poaching War

White_Rhino_Skulls_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

Rhino skulls on display in the Mkhaya Game Reserve in Swaziland are a grim reminder of the previous rhino war that took place between 18988 – 1992. Since that time, Swaziland has largely contained the threat of poaching, only having lost two rhinos in 2011. Why have they been so successful in protecting the rhino during the current onslaught?

Swaziland has a "No-Nonsense" approach to dealing with rhino poaching and conservation is strongly supported from the highest levels by the Monarchy. In 1991, the Game Act was specifically amended to effectively protect both the rhino’s and the field rangers tasked with guarding Swaziland’s wildlife resources. Rhino and elephant poaching carry stiff jail terms without the option of a fine and this approach is further supported by well-paying rewards that are offered for information against any form of poaching. Commitment from the top together with an effective judiciary and well trained, committed boots on the ground is what is needed to curb this war against Africa’s iconic species!

This project is carried out in partnership with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) that provides support, networks and representation for game rangers across Africa. This conservation photography project will use rangers as the “lead characters” to highlight the issues faced by conservationists and showcase opportunities for improved support of rangers in the future. Positive and targeted messages will be communicated that emphasise the critical role that rangers play in African conservation in ensuring that the continent’s natural heritage is preserved for the benefit of future generations. Support Africa’s Rangers by supporting the GRAA.

Peter Chadwick is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. The iLCP’s goal is to use the art of high-quality photography to encourage people to take action in support of tangible and meaningful conservation measures.

Visit African Conservation Photography for a full gallery of Ranger images.