Takealot Details

Takealot Step-by-Step Details for Ordering

If you're the kind of person who would like to see what your money does, this is a great option for you! We've set up several Wish Lists on the Takealot platform, so you can see what appeals to you and have it sent to our door.

If you'd like to support us by directly purchasing something from our Takealot Wish List for delivery to our Rehab Gate, please follow these instructions. We've also tested this method with several of our supporters abroad, and it works extremely well! (Keep in mind that the exchange rate is around ZAR18 to USD1 at the moment, or ZAR22 = GBP1).

STEP 1. Click on the relevant wishlist link, and 'heart' the items you are interested in.
Step 2. Create takealot account.
Step 3. Select item(s) from Wishlist(s), and place in shopping cart.
Step 4. Proceed to check-out.
Step 5. Click on Deliver my Order:

Step 6. Fill out the next screen as follows:
Step 7. It will ask for additional address details. Copy and paste this text into the search bar: 7R88+WF Kalfontein, South Africa

Step 8. You can now pay for your order via your chosen method. Remember that USD 1 = +- ZAR 18, so an item of ZAR 5000 will cost approximately USD 275. and so on.
Step 9. Please forward email with order confirmation to wildheartwf.info@gmail.com.

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Milestone for captive bred Lions

Lion Breeder found guilty

In a precedent-setting ruling, captive Lion breeder Gert Claasen was found guilty on contravention of The Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. Although only sentenced to a fine of R4000 or 12 months imprisonment, this is the first successful case relating to the welfare of captive bred Lions in South Africa. The NSPCA regards it as a major win that the Steilfontein Farm owner has been brought to book for the cruel, negligent confinement of these animals. This sets a precedent for every related cruelty case that will be brought before the courts.

Inspections reveal horrendous cruelty

The case was brought before the court by the NSPCA, following joint inspections with the Provincial Nature Conservation (DESTEA: Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs) and DFFE (the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment). The officials’ 2022 visit to Claasen’s Steilfontein Farm, based in the area of the town Petrus Steyn in the Free State Province, revealed animal welfare concerns with regards to the captive conditions of several feline predators. Follow-up inspections revealed that conditions had worsened, with no fresh drinking water available, rotting meat and faeces left in the enclosures, fly infestations, obvious signs of malnourishment, paralysis and pain without veterinary intervention, and lack of shelter – all of which contravene the Act. (Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962). Over-crowding within the enclosures further contravened the permit conditions.

Breeding breaking the brand

In South Africa, the captive bred Lion industry is alive and well, with around 8000 captive Lions being bred on more than 500 farms. It is not currently illegal, provided that the breeders do have the correct permits in place. A high-level panel on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of Elephants, Lions, Leopards, and Rhinos, in May 2021, recommended the formation of a ministerial task team – to identify and recommend pathways for captive lion owners to exit their business voluntarily, with the premise that it would be outlawed in the future. This task team was formed by DFFE Minister Barabara Creecy, in December 2022.

Wild Lion Conservation in South Africa is mostly funded by Eco-tourism, which has been negatively impacted by the sordid captive Lion industry. The captive Lion industry therefore poses a risk to the sustainability of Lion Conservation in South Africa. The panel recommended the closure of the captive breeding sector and its resultant trade in body parts.

Breeding for greed

Captive bred Lions are exploited at every level. The Lionesses are breeders, producing an ongoing litter of cubs, which are removed from her within a few days at most. These cubs get petted and fed and photographed by unsuspecting tourists and paying volunteers who believe the lies that these cubs had been abandoned in the wild. The next stage is walking with lions, which once again generates millions of Rands (for the owner – not for Lion Conservation). Once the Lions have become too big to walk with safely, they are shipped to hunting farms for trophy / canned hunts. The last level of exploitation is the selling of the body parts, skin, teeth, bones – nothing escapes the greed. The cycle starts all over again.

Many South African organizations, including Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, have been actively involved in bringing awareness of and seeking solutions for the captive breeding industry to South African citizens and the rest of the world. Because it is such a lucrative industry, with one Lion able to earn its owner over ZAR 2million during a relatively short lifespan, it is challenging for small NGOs to compete with the funding these breeders have at their disposal.

Small steps to success

It’s easy to become disheartened and overwhelmed by what is happening with captive lions in South Africa, so we have to focus on the successes. And although the fine imposed on Gert Claasen is laughable, it still resulted in him now having a criminal record, and being instructed by the Judge to warn the other captive lion breeders. While fighting against the horrific captive lion breeding industry in South Africa, as long as every step leads to the same outcome, small steps are fine too.

Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

#WHWF #WildHeartWildlifeFoundation #EthicalConservation #StopCaptiveLionBreeding #NotYoursToPet #EthicalVolunteering #EcoTourism #BrandSouthAfrica

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Vanishing Giants – KNP Rhinos headed for Extinction

For years, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation has been working to raise the awareness about the merciless slaughter of these Vanishing Giants, strengthening their protection, and caring for the survivors. Has it all been in vain? It certainly seems like it's over for the Rhinos in the Kruger National Park.
We are customizing an expensive hydraulic operating table for rescued Rhino Babies and you can help! Make a difference by supporting our 8th Annual Xmas Fundraiser for The Rhino Orphanage here:


Kruger National Park, the world’s greatest refuge for rhinos, is losing them to poaching faster than they’re being born. The park’s last Rhino may already be alive. It’s time to declare an emergency.

Under the heading Progress, the 2022 SANParks Annual Report has a deeply disturbing and immensely sad target claimed as a success: only 195 rhinos were killed by poachers during 2021 – an average of one every two days. The success, it seems, is that the previous year it was one rhino every 36 hours. 

In its reports and pronouncements, SANParks acknowledges poaching problems, but the overall tone is “don’t panic, we’ve got it under control”. They haven’t. Kruger is bleeding rhinos and is in need of sutures – fast. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) has disclosed that in the first six months of this year, 82 rhinos were killed in the park. If the trend continues, the year will end up with a kill rate equal to 2021.

The truth is that unless Kruger does something fast, Rhinos could go extinct in the park within four years. That’s far shorter than the lifespan of most rhinos in Kruger. 

Since 2009 – just 13 years – rhino numbers have dropped from 11,420 to 2,458 and this year they will continue to drop. During that time, the number of rhinos poached was double the existing population. 

The cumulative numbers are shocking. There’s a good chance that Kruger rhinos are on the way to becoming functionally extinct, as these graphs clearly show.

Where do the problems lie?

What will it take to bend the curve upwards away from zero? The answer can only come from understanding the reasons for the decline. 

SANParks will point to forces beyond their control – and they are considerable. 

Like a snake eating its own tail, the problem begins and ends with a seemingly insatiable appetite in Asia for rhino horn, which is seen as both a status symbol and cure for various ailments (it isn’t).

This has led to a situation where highly organised international crime syndicates supply weapons and logistics to local middlemen who induce impoverished young men in communities on both sides of the park to poach rhinos. 

The park is sandwiched between millions of mostly poor people – Mozambican and South African – with few prospects for employment. It’s fertile ground for poacher recruitment. 

Kruger Park also has unfenced borders with a parallel park in Mozambique, but rangers following poachers cannot cross the line.

In his book, Rhino War, written with Tony Park, General Johan Jooste – who was Kruger’s head ranger from 2013 to 2016 – was told by a ranger: “They laughed at us, General. As soon as they crossed the border they stopped and started waving at us, yelling insults. They know we cannot chase after them.”

These issues alone, however, cannot be the sole reason for the precipitous decline of rhinos. There are serious internal problems as well, mostly, says Jooste, to do with ability, capacity, integrity and vision.

Buffet’s cancellation

A retired military officer, Jooste was brought in as head ranger in 2013 as rhino poaching began escalating. Donations formed the backbone of his development strategy and with them he created a highly trained paramilitary force out of the ranger corps. He also brought in high-tech surveillance equipment. 

Jooste negotiated a R225-million anti-poaching grant from billionaire Howard Buffett, using it to create an efficient joint command centre to gather and coordinate intelligence against poachers. 

Then, in 2016, Buffett cancelled more than half of the grant, citing the absence of a reporting structure with clearly defined roles and lack of internal capacity for project management. Millions were wasted on internal inquiries into this loss.

The collapse of Intensive Protection Zones for rhinos – set up by Jooste during his tenure and funded by Buffett – started coming apart after his departure. They did so, he says, because Kruger and ranger leadership failed “to carry them through and find a way to make them work or come up with workable alternatives”.

It was an “abdication of duty and lack of courage”.

Buffett’s bequest had been received with great fanfare, but evidently not universally within SANParks’ executive ranks. 

A rhino after it is sedated on October 16, 2014 in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Cornel van Heerden)

Buffett’s generosity was based on his personal regard for Jooste and, according to the book, Rhino War, this rankled with those who didn’t appreciate being beholden to a rich American who had made it clear that his largesse would only be in place as long as Jooste – the white ex-apartheid general – remained at the helm.

Integrity testing

Jooste resigned under circumstances he is not willing to discuss; details of which are largely absent from his book. He alludes to “problems”. The park clearly not only lost necessary funding, but a key strategist in the rhino war. One of the problems, it seems, was integrity testing.

“Members of Exco feel you’re acting outside your mandate in pursuit of corruption after integrity testing,” he was told. Integrity testing was the euphemism for the polygraph testing of Kruger staff. From the outset, Jooste had insisted on this intervention and was the first to subject himself to the process. 

Integrity testing was not popular, but Jooste felt it was necessary. 

Poachers were paying some rangers to locate rhinos and a few were even involved in actual poaching. These included Rodney Landela, who Jooste had promoted to regional ranger.

Unions were also opposed to polygraph testing and it was suspended during the Covid pandemic. SANParks has undertaken to renew it, but has as yet failed to do so. It is not known whether a proposal for integrity testing was finally submitted to the SANParks board in November.

In his book, Jooste says testing without steps being taken on the results is useless. While Kruger management knows that leaks on rhino locations are coming from staff, they seem to be dragging their heels on making integrity testing happen.

Ranger shortage

Kruger also has a ranger shortage. More than 80 posts were not filled this year despite a commitment to do so obtained by DA shadow minister David Bryant. 

They had not been filled for several years. SANParks explained the problem as a budget issue, despite millions being spent of anti-poaching initiatives. 

It is unclear and counterintuitive that these posts are not budgeted for and filled as a fundamental step in the poaching war. 


Beyond Kruger Park, rhino conservation is another story and is in an intensive planning stage. Although the park has the largest single population of black and white rhinos, around 60% of the national species are in private hands and many others are in national and provincial parks other than Kruger. 

According to SANParks’ Annual Report, strongholds beyond Kruger are being constructed, though it doesn’t say how advanced this is or quite how this programme will work. It’s clearly not in the interests of rhino safety to say where they are or will be. 

There will be pushback from conservationists. They point out that placing rhinos in private hands has led to the crisis of rhino farming for their horns, which keep “leaking” on to the black market. This fuels both Asian demand and poaching. There’s a fine line between conservation and commercialisation.

In Rhino War, Jooste writes of Kruger: “A decade into the rhino campaign, my overwhelming realisation is that we cannot afford another 10 years like this, even with our successes. We must avoid another ‘runaway train’ situation at all costs.”

If the statistics are anything to go by, that train without brakes has already left the Kruger Park station. DM/OBP

Republished with permission from Daily Maverick.

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50 #FunFacts about #AfricanWildlife:

1. Elephants have a specific alarm call that means 'humans'.
2. Rhinoceros horns consist of keratin - just like your fingernails and hair.
3. Giraffes make almost no sounds. Scientists believe that their necks are too long for the airflow across their vocal cords to result in any sound being made.
4. Many herbivore animals chew on bones, including Giraffes, Zebras, Tortoises, and Buffalo. This is to obtain certain essential minerals lacking in their diets.
5. Zebra stripes act as a natural bug deterrent. Apparently the contrasts confuse/dazzle blood-sucking insects to the point where they cannot land on the zebra. Incidentally, a group of Zebras is called a 'Dazzle'
6. Elephants can't jump, probably because they don't need to! They evade predators in other ways.
7. Porcupines stomp their feet and growl as a warning to stay away. They also rattle their quills, although they cannot 'shoot' them at a predator.
8. The eye of an ostrich is bigger than its brain. It's not a case of an under-sized brain, but rather of over-sized eyes, allowing ostriches to see threats and food from a great distance.
9. Sea otters use tools like rocks, to smash open snails to eat.
10. Hartebeest run in zig-zag patterns to evade predators.
11. The adult flamingo can only eat when its head is upside down. They filter the water through their bent beaks used upside down to filter feed on tiny plants and organisms in the water.
12. For every human in the world there are one million ants. I think all of mine live at my house.
13. Octopuses can taste with their arms. The arms of an octopus are lined with hundreds of suckers, each of which can act as a taste bud.
14. Sunbirds are the African equivalent of hummingbirds, and they are monogamous - mating for life.
15. Giraffes have black tongues in front, but the back and base of it is pink. Many experts believe that this darker pigment is nature's way of protecting giraffe tongues against ultraviolet rays.
16. The only mammal capable of flight is the bat. Other mammals like the flying squirrel glide, they do not fly.
17. Lionesses do most of the hunting in a pride. Even though females are the primary hunters, male lions can hunt, too. Female lions famously hunt their prey in packs, while male lions have typically been viewed as the lazy recipients of the spoils.
18. Bottle-nosed dolphins are mostly right-handed (right-finned?). Researchers found they favored their right side. It's not just humans that are left or right-handed. Animals also show a clear preference for what scientists call “lateralized behavior.”
19. A group of Rhinos is called a Crash.
20. Elephant Calves such their trunks to comfort themselves, like human babies would suck their thumbs.
21. The collective noun for Owls is a 'Parliament'.
22. Nile Crocodiles can live up to 100 years, but mostly survives up to 80 years maximum.
23. Butterflies taste with their feet. Butterflies don't have tongues, they have a proboscis which many people think of as a tongue but it's more like having your mouth extended into a long tube. They do have some taste buds on their proboscis and some on their antennae as well, but most of the taste buds are focused on their feet.
24. Jonathan (hatched c. 1832), a Seychelles Giant Tortoise (is the oldest known living land animal.
25. Gorillas can catch human colds and other illnesses. Humans and gorillas are about 98 percent identical on a genetic level.
Watch VIDEO here:
26. Ostriches can run faster than horses, and the male ostrich is capable of making a “roaring” noise similar to a lion's roar, adding a hiss with it.
27. A group of Buffalo is called an 'Obstinacy'.
28. Killer Whales experience menopause, like Human Females.
29. A grasshopper can leap 20 times the length of its own body.
30. Owls don't have eyeballs. They have eye tubes or cylinders, rod-shaped eyes that do not move in their sockets as eyeballs do. Instead, owls have to move their bodies or heads in order to look around.
31. There are an estimated 8.7 million species on earth and more than 80% of them are undiscovered. Africa is immensely rich in biodiversity. Its living organisms comprise around a quarter of global biodiversity and it supports the earth's largest intact groups of large mammals, which roam freely in many countries.
32. Wild Dolphins call each other by name. Each dolphin has a 'signature whistle' which is copied by another dolphin during communication, just like you would call someone by their name.
33. Gorillas have been seen dismantling traps set by poachers. Staff at the Dian Fossey Research Center in Rwanda witnessed two 4-year-olds and a teenage mountain gorilla work together to destroy snares.
34. African Buffalo herds display voting behavior, in which individuals register their travel preference by standing up, looking in one direction and then lying back down. Only adult females can vote. Herd movements are guided by majority vote. If the votes were evenly divided between two directions, then the herd separates for the night, grazing at different locations, and reconvenes in the morning.
35. Rhino Calves eat their mothers' dung for digestion development. It helps mature their digestive systems, which at birth do not have the bacteria needed to help digest the grass material that they will feed on for the rest of their lives.
36. Chimpanzees are very intelligent and make all kinds of tools. Like spears to hunt with, and sticks to scratch open a den. They are sophisticated tool users with behaviors including cracking nuts with stone tools and fishing for ants or termites with sticks. These chimpanzees not only use these sticks to fish out their meal, but they in fact build their own 'tool kits' to do so, as observed in the Republic of Congo.
37. Pangolins' only protection mechanism is curling into a ball, but their scales provide good defense against predators. When threatened, pangolins can quickly roll into a ball, protecting their vulnerable undersides. They also deter predators by hissing and puffing, and lashing their sharp edged tails.
38. A Duiker (tiny African antelope) is classified as one of the ten most dangerous antelope to handle, in Africa, due to its razor-sharp horns that can cut through a human's femoral artery in the groin.
39. Porcupines mate for life.
40. A Woodpecker has a long tongue that folds into its skull, and protects its brain from vibration damage as a result of pecking out a nest in a tree. Having its tongue wrapped around the back of its brain doesn't just give a woodpecker somewhere to store a long appendage; it also helps protect the bird's brain from injury during high-speed pecking.
41. Both Black and White Rhino are Grey in colour. Black Rhinos are mostly browsers, while White Rhinos mainly feed on short grass on the ground using their square upper lip. Black Rhinos have a unique looking, pointy upper lip, which they use to grasp and pluck food from trees, bushes and shrubs.
42. Hyenas mark their territory or advertise for a mate by fixing a substance from their anal glands onto grass stalks. This is called 'pasting'.
43. Flamingos are not pink. They are born grey, their diet of brine shrimp and blue green algae contains a natural pink dye called canthaxanthin that makes their feathers pink.
44. A group of Parrots is called a 'Pandemonium'. African Grey Parrots voluntarily help each other to obtain food and perform selfless acts, even with individuals they’re not ‘friendly’ with.
45. A cheetah is the fastest land animal - capable of reaching speeds up to 125km/h (75mph).
46. Meerkat parents train their offspring to hunt scorpions. The parents bring the babies half-dead prey or scorpions with the stinger removed, to teach them how to kill scorpions without getting stung.
47. Nile Crocodiles have the strongest bite of any animal. At 5000 pounds per square inch (psi), that's approximately five times the bite force of a lion and about 30 times that of an average human being.
48. The Shoebill Stork can swallow baby crocodiles whole. Shoebill Storks are masters of patience. They will stand in water, on large patches of grass, and other hiding places for hours on end, just to suddenly lunge at an unsuspecting prey. Their stomachs can digest almost any kind of prey.
49. The Black Mamba is not black in colour; the name derives from its mouth, black inside, and displayed when it feels threatened. Its venom is an extremely potent neuro and cardio-toxic mix, capable of killing a dozen men within an hour. Without proper treatment and anti-venom, the mortality rate is almost 100%.
50. Baby porcupines are called porcupettes.
Written & compiled by Carina Crayton

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WHWF Statement on Giraffe attack

Official Statement regarding the Giraffe Attack at Kuleni Game Park:

Issued by Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation Management
22 Oct 2022 at 11h30

As reported, a child was killed and her mother gravely injured during an attack by a giraffe at Kuleni Game Park in KZN, on Wednesday.

On Thursday it was widely stated in the International media that the Giraffe had been euthanized. We published an article on social media informing the public about the incident, and sharing the information we had access to at that stage.

During Friday the 21st of October 2022, we were inundated with calls from journalists requesting comments and interviews. In every case, we explained that we are not sure of the exact happenings at the game, and anything said about the actual incident is merely speculation.

Most of the interviews centered around what normally would happen to the animal during such incidents. We went on to explain what would typically happen in situations like this when a human attacks an animal.

We believe that every effort should be made to protect life, whether human or animal, and if it is an animal such as a giraffe attacking a human; it is not a normal occurrence, and there is no reason why the animal would need to be euthanized.
We categorically state that any statements we were quoted in to the contrary are blatantly false, and taken out of context.

While we spend our lives trying to better the lives of the Wildlife we are able to help, we find it incredibly disturbing that supposedly reputable international and local media could report happenings that are simply not true, all for sensationalism, and go one step further by taking our statements and using it out of context. We have been widely misquoted in the media as well.

We apologize for any negative outcomes as a result of what we were led to believe were the facts around this tragic incident.

We thank our loyal supporters who contacted us for clarification about our stance on this sensitive subject.

Once again, we reiterate our condolences to the family of the deceased.

* Statement Ends

For more information contact:
Carina Crayton (Co-Founder WHWF)
083 588 3550
Paul Oxton (CEO/Founder WHWF)
072 478 1808


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In the Presence of a Giant

On the R71 outside Gravelotte (Between Gravelotte & Tzaneen), Limpopo, South Africa, you will find the Leydsdorp Baobab. Advertized as being more than 2000 years old, this ancient giant is an impressive sight to behold.
R20 per person gets you into the embrace of this magnificent tree, after completing a simple attendance register.
You have to be quiet in the presence of greatness. The mere thought that this tree might have already been around at 1 A.D. is enough to leave you breathless. You are allowed to hug this tree, and you should, or take the wooden ladder and climb into the crown, and become part of that stillness for a while. Most humans love to destroy irreplaceable things. It is a sobering feeling to be perched in this tree and just value its ancient existence. You should do it.
Ivor Mathias is The Tree's human guardian. He whispers of the legends that surround this living statue. Should you pick a single flower, a lion will eat you. The gravestones in the cemetery of nearby gold-rush ghost-town Leydsdorp bear silent witness to that tale.
The flowers of a Baobab tree bloom only for one night, with their sweet fragrance attracting the bats pollinating the flowers.Baobabs are deciduous (they lose their leaves during the cooler months), and the juvenile leaves differ from those of the adult tree. This gave rise to the belief among some indigenous people that the trees just appear, fully grown, overnight.
Cream of Tartar used to be made from the seeds, but are now produced as a by-product of wine-making. Literally every part of a baobab tree is useful. Just like in The Lion King, it acts as a water reservoir and it can save the lives of animals during a drought, as they chew on the water-rich bark.
The fruits are nutrient-rich, the bark is handy for rope-making and a myriad other purposes.
Over the years the Leydsdorp Baobab had been used as a post office, mortuary, bar, fridge, kitchen and make-shift home. Naturally hollow inside, most baobabs feature a comfortable, constant 22 degrees Celsius interior.
Baobabs form an eco-system all of their own, with certain trees like the Sagole Baobab even hosting a rare colony of mottled spinetail swallows.
Adansonia digitata (Baobab) is one of eight species of Baobabs occurring around the world, also known as upside-down trees.
This giant is 25m tall, with a girth of +-22m, making it one of the biggest Baobabs in South Africa.
If you are anywhere close to the Northern Parts of the Limpopo Province, go and seek out the Baobabs on the list of Champion Trees (Protected Trees in South Africa), but don't forget to hug our Leydsdorp Baobab friend too.
Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder WHWF)

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New Gate for Kruger National Park

New gate for KNP raises eyebrows: The news that a new Entrance Gate and Entertainment Hub, named Shangoni, is to be built in the Kruger National Park, has been met with mixed responses. The gate is planned for the North-West of the KNP, between Giyani and Malulele. Shangoni is a Venda word meaning ‘of or for the earth’. But certain stakeholders seem to think that none of this would benefit the Earth in any way, despite the name connotation.
Grave Concern about Tourist Entertainment Hub:

Most people are gravely concerned about the ‘entertainment’ and ‘fun park’ aspect of the new development. This section of the KNP has always seen less traffic than the busy South of the Park, and is regarded as a peaceful haven for wildlife and humans enjoying solitude. There is considerably less poaching in this quiet North-Western section as well, with most of the Rhinos being killed for their horns in the South of the Park.

With the recent killing of a Cheetah by a speeding motorist, it follows that increased traffic without increased law enforcement would lead to an escalation in traffic accidents. Specifically, a surge in the number of collisions with animals as a result of speeding and increased traffic, would impact the Wildlife in the Park negatively.

Balancing Act:

"There always has to be a balance between tourism, (and opening up that niche market to locals, many who’ve never been able to afford going into the Park), and income from Tourism. In this instance, the intent is to involve local residents in the tourism industry, and provide much-needed employment. In short, looking after Wildlife costs money, and Tourism generates funding. But generating funding should never be done to the detriment of the Wildlife", says Paul Oxton (CEO/Founder of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

Elephants in the Kruger National Park Photo: Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

A long time coming:

The Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism (LEDET) announced the plans to open the new gate and tourism activity hub at a recent tour of the Park with media outlets. The MEC Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo, Thabo Mokone, said the two projects had long been on the books of the department and were now being implemented.

Arguably the most controversial statement of Mokone’s speech is the following phrase:
“We have taken a decision as government to claim the Kruger Park.”

Mokone said the activity hub would bolster the economy in Phalaborwa. “Phalaborwa town has been anchored by the mining industry so we want the tourism sector to be a secondary encore to develop the town into an epic tourism destination.”

“I’m particularly keen to kick-start these projects because they will create employment in the provincial economy. We can’t only rely on international tourists to come to visit us. We must also rely on ourselves to visit our own country. Charity begins at home.”

A squabble between the bordering communities over exactly where the gate would be opened has caused delays, but the engagement between LEDET, SANParks and the local Municipalities are now being fast-tracked, so that the matter can be resolved.

The aim is for this project to be completed by the end of 2022.

The Park currently has 11 entrance gates: Crocodile Bridge, Malelane, Numbi, Phabeni, Phabeni Border, Paul Kruger, Orpen, Phalaborwa, Punda Maria, Pafuri and Giriyondo.

The Kruger National Park is named after former president Paul Kruger. The Park is bigger than the country of Israel, and offers a wildlife experience ranked one of the best on the African continent. It boasts 19 623km² or nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretches for 352km, and contains hundreds of historical and archaeological sites.


Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

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Rhino Numbers in Kruger National Park to dip below 3000

The Rapid Slide into Extinction:
The most devastating news, as we still reminisce about #WorldRhinoDay2021.
The Daily Maverick reports:
"The new CEO of South African National Parks, said there may be fewer than 3,000 rhinos in the Kruger Park for the first time – despite the park authority spending millions on rhino protection."
In January 2021, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation reported about the devastating losses reflected by the (then) new statistics. The total figure of White Rhinos in KNP, was listed as 3549 in 2019.
Yesterday, on 22 September 2021, #WorldRhinoDay2021, the CEO of the Kruger National Park, Dr Luthando Dziba, confirmed: 'The rhino population has declined by almost 70% over the past 10 years. This is … because of relentless poaching. We have officially released the numbers up until the 2019/2020 reporting period where basically we had 3,500 rhino.”
He stated that the country’s rhino population has declined by nearly two-thirds over the past decade and highlighted that there may now be fewer than 3,000 in the Kruger National Park for the first time.
Don Pinnock from Daily Maverick said that South Africa created loopholes that were exploited by criminal syndicates through licensing of hunting and legalising internal trade, but only shutting down of all rhino horn trade, removing loopholes and stopping mixed messaging – backed up by initiatives like the Pelly Amendment – would bring down poaching.

Dziba said, “I think another way of looking at the alarming stats… is the fact that it is possible to actually do something to basically restore the species but I think it is important to know what needs to be done to basically protect rhino in the wild.”

“We might have created loopholes… in basically legalising hunting and giving permits to international hunters and it is possible, but I think right now within the context of national parks, for instance, there has never been hunting in national parks. We are experiencing the brunt of the scourge of poaching and if you look at Kruger for instance, where our largest white rhino population is at, we experience some of the most severe poaching.”

"The fact is that Rhino Poaching is not 'just the death of a Rhino', but it is a cog in the well-oiled machined which is organized crime. With corruption being rife, mixed messages with regards to legalization of trade, and the failure of effective prosecution and convictions thrown into the mix, this is a recipe for disaster, and most of us can just watch the rapid slide into extinction with frustration and deep sadness," said Paul Oxton, Founder/CEO of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.

Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

With Thanks to Daily Maverick for the Webinar recording and original article.


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Fun facts about Rhinos Learn about Rhinos here

Fun Facts about Rhinos by #WHWF

If you want to learn more about Rhinos, read on!
Did you know?
  • The name Rhino is the short form of ‘Rhinoceros, which means ‘Nose Horn
  • There are five different species of rhinoceros, three native to southern Asia and two native to Africa. They are the Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Indian Rhinoceros, Javan Rhinoceros and Sumatran Rhinoceros.
  • The only land animal bigger than a White Rhino, is an Elephant.
  • Rhino Horn is made from Keratin, just like your fingernails and hair. Their horns are what they get killed for (poached). And it doesn’t make any sense!
  • Crash is the term for a group of Rhinos, like this below:

A Crash (Family) of Rhinos


  • Although they have thick protective skin, it is still sensitive. Rhinos take mud baths to serve as sunscreen and protect them against parasites. Rhino skin can be up to 5cm in thickness!
  • They can run very fast, much faster than a human when they get scared or angry, and you don’t want to be in the path of one!
  • Both Black Rhinos and White Rhinos are actually grey in colour. ‘White’ actually stemmed from the word ‘wide’, meaning flat and wide. They’re sometimes called ‘square-lipped’ Rhinos. White Rhinos eat grass and they are called grazers. Black Rhinos have a hooked lip enabling them to catch onto shrubs and eat the juicy leaves. They are called browzers.
  • Rhinos communicate through noises and poo! Baby Rhinos sound like whales when they ask for milk. Rhinos sniff their toilets called ‘middens’ to gather information about who was there. Click the Video below to watch Rhino Babies asking for Milk!

Adorable Rhino Babies asking for Milk:

  • White Rhinos are much more passive and gentle than Black Rhinos. Black Rhinos are so dangerous that they are the cause for Rhinos being included in the Big 5. (The five big, dangerous African Animals).
  • Rhinos are the oldest group of mammals, and have been around for 10 to 20 million years. They are living fossils!
  • Rhino Moms are pregnant for 15 to 16 months before giving birth. At two months old, Rhino Babies start to get weaned off milk. At three years old, Rhino Babies are fully independent. They live to between 10 and 45 years, depending on the species. A newborn Rhino should be up and walking within one hour after birth, but will remain wobbly for a few days
  • The average birth weight in Black Rhinos is 35.5 kg and 62.7 kg in White Rhinos. 
    White Rhino Mum and Baby

    White Rhino Mum with newborn Rhino Baby


  • Rhino babies eat their mother’s dung to acquire critical bacteria for their digestive systems to work properly.
  • Rhino Mommies and Babies are very close. In the case of Orphaned Rhino Babies, where the mothers had been killed, the little ones often die from stomach and mouth ulcers as a result of stress.
  • The Baby of a Black Rhino walks behind the Mom, and the Baby of White Rhino, in front of the Mom.
  • Their Magnificent horns are not only for show, they use them to defend themselves, to steer their babies, to dig up roots for nutrient and to test the depth of mud-holes before they wallow. If the hole is too deep they might get stuck and die.
  • To learn more about the extent of Poaching of Rhinos in the Kruger National Park, click here.
  • Did you enjoy this article? Let us know! Do you want to Help Rhinos?

Written by Carina Crayton (Co-Founder #WHWF)

"No one in the world needs a Rhino horn but a Rhino"

Paul Oxton (Founder/CEO Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)



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African Acacia Trees – Learn More!

Few trees are as iconic as the flat-topped Acacia on the plains of the African Savannah. On par with the Big 5, these trees instantly evoke nostalgia in those who know them, and will forever be associated with the African Safari.

What’s in a name?

The botanical names of African Acacia trees have been changed in the last decade, from ‘Acacia’ (such as Acacia karroo) to Vachellia (Vachellia karroo), and Senegalia. Despite wide-spread unhappiness in the world of Botany, the common name for these unique trees will always remain ‘Acacia’. As it should. Australian Acacias are still called Acacia spp. Collectively, these species (Acacia, Vachellia, and Senegalia) will still be known as Acacias as a common name. There are around 1000 species of Acacia worldwide, primarily in Australia and Africa.

The iconic, flat-topped African Acacia (Nyanga Flat - Top) is called Vachellia abyssinica.

The dome-shaped Vachellia erioloba, known as the Giraffe Thorn or Camel Thorn tree, is the most recognizable tree in the Kalahari desert, and occurs widely in the drier areas  in Southern Africa. It can grow up to grow up to 18 m tall and live up to 200 years. The tap root can grow up to 60 m, allowing it to access deep ground water sources and live in extremely dry climates.

A Deeper Meaning:

The Acacia is of spiritual significance in that it symbolizes regeneration, perseverance, and integrity. The evergreen nature of this tree denotes the immortality of the human spirit.

The ancient Egyptians made funeral wreathes of Acacia. They believe that Osiris was the first god to be born under the Acacia tree, and all others followed. The Hebrews planted a sprig of evergreen Acacia to mark the grave of a departed friend. Acacias are also mentioned in the Bible, with specific reference to the building of the tabernacle.

A Useful Tree:

Senegalia senegal (Gum Arabic Tree) found in Sudan and the northern Sahara, is the main source of gum arabic, which has been used for over 2,000 years in paints, watercolours, candy, medicines, calico printing, dyeing, and in the making of silk, paper, and cosmetics.

The various species of Acacia were used by early shipbuilders for its durable wood, and today many countries cultivate the trees. Along with the wood being used for furniture, flooring and even weapons and jewellery, the gum is used as an adhesive, for medicine, and even for chewing gum and desserts. Furthermore, the blossom can be used as flavouring, the seeds utilised in sauces and the tannin as a dye. And in Central America, the swollen thorns are made into beautiful necklaces.

In landscaping and gardening, Acacias are often used to control soil erosion in dry and damaged soils. They can be planted as protective hedges, creating shady areas for animals and to accommodate a variety of bird species for nest building areas. These hardy water-wise plants are perfect garden additions to areas where water may be scarce.

Sweet Thorn (Vachellia karroo): Edible gum seeping from cracks in the tree’s bark is important food for the Bushbaby’s winter diet. The tree is especially useful as food for domestic and wild animals, like goats. The flowers make a good source for honey bees, and honey from the Sweet Thorn has a pleasant taste.  The Sweet Thorn tree makes excellent firewood, and the wood is also used as fencing poles in making a kraal.  Traditionally the inside of the bark was used to make a tough rope with.

Masters of self-defence, employing bodyguards!

Almost all Acacia species have long, sharp thorns, which prevent (most) animals from eating their leaves. Some species grow thorns that are as long as 8-10cm, and sharp as a knife.

Stinging ants (bodyguards!) live inside hollowed-out thorns, which provide further discouragement. The trees have developed a symbiotic relationship with stinging ants who live in the thorns (which they hollow out and use as nesting sites) whilst feeding on the nectar of the tree’s flowers. If a big African mammal takes a bite of its leaves, the stinging ants see to it that the animal will certainly think twice before munching more!

Along with the production of thorns and the usual accompaniment of ants that nest in these trees, the African Acacia has developed an incredible early warning ‘alarm system’ to warn other trees when browsers such as the antelope are in the area. Wouter Van Hoven (a Zoologist from the University of Pretoria) has found that when the leaves of Acacias are nibbled, they produce high doses of tannin in their foliage, which may be lethal to browsers.

When the leaves begin to fill with poisonous tannins, they release ethylene gas, which drifts toward other acacias. In response, the nearby trees begin to manufacture poison themselves. Giraffes can eat as much as 29 kilograms of acacia leaves and twigs daily. Herds of three or more giraffes spend hours browsing in acacia thickets, so they pose a real threat to the survival of the trees if left to munch away. But all it takes is a few minutes for the neighbouring trees to step up their leaf tannin production to repel lurking browsers. The simultaneous tannin release by all nearby acacias essentially forces the giraffes to travel upwind to trees that have not yet received the panic alert.

There’s a reason they are dome-shaped or flat-topped:

Flat-topped crowns help trees to resist drying winds by allowing leaves to shelter each other, while the umbrella-dome shape of most African acacias enables the trees to capture the maximum amount of sunlight, with even the smallest of leaves. Because the African savannahs are regularly burnt, any tree that wants to survive fire has to cleverly adapt. Thick bark is a useful defense. Another sensible trait is to grow tall, quickly: trees that are above the 'fire trap' (2-3m tall) aren't burnt back to the roots by a fire and can re-sprout from the top. With limited resources and living in a place where fires are frequent, trees produce a single (or at most a few) stems and grow straight up, without branching out sideways. Once tall enough to escape the impact of fire, they’re free to branch sideways.

After branching out, even though moderately tall trees don't always escape giraffe browsing, a horizontal growth-form still protects the central branches. It's common to see Vachellia tortillis (Umbrella Thorn) that only grow large thorns on the outer tips of their branches, providing enough defence to protect inner branches. So, in a fire-dominated, browse-affected and unlimited light environment, the flat topped tree structure is perfectly designed!

It's so rare that a seedling survives both fire and being eaten, that mature trees tend to be at low density in savannahs. This explains why they are so memorable and often isolated on the sweeping landscapes and golden plains of grass. The next time you see one of these iconic trees, think back on what you’ve learnt here, how amazing Nature is, as you snap the perfect sunset photograph, with some giraffes strolling past a flat-topped Acacia!

Written by Carina Crayton BSc(Agric)HONS

I stretch my arms wide
To catch the last of the light
Tomorrow the rains may come
another dry season will be done
If not, I’ll still be here
I’ll still allow majestic giraffes near
For a minute or two and then
My sweet poison will defend
For life, I will stand strong
on the golden plains where I belong
I’ll filter the dust
I must reach deep for water
Mother Earth and I – we’re one
Together we’ll fight the burning sun
In my shelter they’ll thrive
all that I keep alive
You will always remember me
I’m that African Acacia Tree
©Carina Crayton



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