It seems the only possible future for Africa’s wildlife will be in fortresses built in previously open wilderness. Some are opposed to the use of fenced areas in Africa, and no one can deny it seems a shame – but it would be tragedy if the wildlife was destroyed to the point of extinction, and indeed what is the point of the open and vast spaces if not to support the wonderful array of wildlife. The luxury safari industry continues to be one of the only other sources of successful anti poaching measures as they have access to excellent funding and indeed invest much of their profit into protecting the wildlife and community in their area. Of course their reach can only go so far and it seems everywhere else is under constant attack.
It seems incongruous that a race like the Chinese, so developed and advanced when it comes to technology, can be so backward when it comes to cruelty to animals. They don’t seem to be able to give up a tradition to save a species, and one has to wonder what their response will be when the rhinos are extinct and they can no longer buy rhino horn – will they even care? To watch whole areas of Africa lose their elephants and rhino in our generation and on our watch seems wrong on every level. Realistically without taking out the market for these ivory trinkets and ground rhino horn poaching will not stop until it’s too late. Poaching in the old days used to involve tracking a big tusker or well horned rhino for days before completing the perfect shot – of course this was not acceptable but it was better than the poachers of today who will try to kill anything no matter how small it’s offering, and will often end up only injuring the animal – so inflicting horrific pain to the creature as they hack off it’s face. In this day and age this is a barbaric ritual, which must be stopped.
Rose Hipwood is the Managing Director of The Luxury Safari Company Ltd specialising in Bespoke travel to Africa and the Indian Ocean