After a month and nearly 5000kms later, I am finally back at home, being bowled over with excitement by dogs and family! My latest trip took me back into the heart of the rhino crisis, were I undertook a number of security and risk assessments for a couple of private reserves and also photographed the large -scale dehorning of white rhino at the Phinda Private Game Reserve with Simon James Naylor and his amazing conservation team.
The journey was both physically and emotionally challenging and after speaking to countless people, the sad reality hit hard, that time is running out for the rhino unless we can collectively find a long-lasting solution to the poaching crisis. Phinda had to take a hard decision to dehorn their rhino, but it was definitely the correct decision for now and they need to be hugely congratulated for their tremendous conservation effort! Mike Toft, the vet who undertook the actual dehorning, summed it so well by saying, "He would rather see 200 dehorned rhino alive than have to carry out an autopsy on one dead rhino".Over the next while, I will be posting more on the details of the trip, but one thing is for certain, I am forever changed from the latest experience of being physically so close to so many rhino while watching their horns being removed!
This conservation photography 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.