Duiker Rescue

Freedom for a Rescued Duiker

Illegal Wildlife Trade and Keeping - an injustice to our Wildlife:

The Illegal Wildlife Trade is carrying on right under our noses. In South Africa it is illegal to keep a wild animal without a permit. Especially in semi-urban areas (such as on small-holdings) it is becoming a real problem, because only a handful of these animals ever get the chance at freedom. Many plot (smallholding) owners think it is normal to have a wild animal like a Duiker, Tortoise or Meerkat as a pet. It normally results in tragedy for the animals, and is doing the greatest injustice to the Wild animals we are supposed to respect and protect. Dezzi was lucky. He got out.

Freedom is just beyond the crate!

*Dezzi was rescued from the illegal #WildlifeTrade on Social Media. He doesn't realize it yet, but his life is about to become magical - just like Nature intended. Read on for the story!
This is the unforgettable moment when we set #DezziTheDuiker free into his new #Wild #ForeverHome.

Releasing Dezzi The Duiker into his new forever free home ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

#DezziTheDuiker, Rescued & Released back to the Wild.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation was called in to confiscate a 2-year old Duiker Ram that was illegally kept and advertised for sale on Social Media.
The Duiker had become aggressive - as so often happens when wild animals outgrow their 'cuteness'.
Two site visits later, and many hundreds of kilometers driven, we finally arrived at the site to complete the rescue. Dezzi was darted (sedated) before loading. Dr. Van Niekerk, our vet, also administered antibiotics and a booster shot.
A couple of health stops later, we arrived at his new home.
He was released in the first camp; to be released into the rest of the 1500ha reserve once he could find adequate food. At first, he was uncomfortable with the long veld grass against his flanks - he had only ever walked on mowed lawn. He seemed entranced by the smell of shrubs and dust, and the rocky outcrop underneath his tiny, perfect hooves. It was fascinating to watch him explore the veld inside the holding camp. We hope he'll choose his new lady love soon, from two female Duikers here.
Instinct is a strong force, though, and it was activated only a few minutes after he left the crate. He surveyed his new domain carefully, taking in the smells and the feelings, checking out the boundaries of his camp. Then he bounded over the long grass, testing out his little hooves and legs built for just that.
Two weeks after the release, we have the following update: "Dezzi has been released into the main Reserve. Dezzi is truly at home. No longer needing the supplementary feed left out for him, he only returns like a phantom, to patrol his domain. He only leaves spoor (tracks) now, and is loving his new life."

Watch the Video here:

Dezzi is free, finally.
Go well, Dezzi, live your life free and wild.
Thank you to our kind donors who made this rescue possible.
*In South Africa it is illegal to keep a wild animal without a permit. Don't be that person.
If anyone is in a position to donate towards our continued mission to help wildlife in need, we would be sincerely grateful. We love to help animals whenever possible, but in order to continue our life-saving work, we need the support of the public.
There are several options for you to support us below:
❤ South Africans can also EFT here:
FNB / Cheque Account
Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
Account number - 62518554101
Branch Code - 250-655
❤ All donations, no matter the amount, are desperately needed and will be greatly appreciated ❤
WHWF is a registered NPO Reg:147-339 and
Public Beneficiary Organisation Reg: 930051372

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Southern Africa’s Ivory

The values of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s ivory stockpiles have been grossly overstated, and their proposed sale would lead to another poaching epidemic.

Last year the world reacted in shock when Namibia announced plans to auction off 170 live elephants to the highest bidder.

Despite criticism, the plans have continued to move forward — and that may just be the start. Tucked away in a Feb. 1 press release justifying the auction was a rehash of the country’s oft-repeated desire to also sell ivory. The Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s stated:

Namibia has major stockpiles of valuable wildlife products including ivory which it can produce sustainably and regulate properly, and which if traded internationally could support our elephant conservation and management for decades to come.”

Namibia is not alone in this desire to capitalize on its wildlife. In Zimbabwe’s national assembly last year, the minister of environment valued the country’s stockpile of 130 metric tonnes (143 tons) of ivory and 5 tonnes (5.5 tons) of rhino horn at $600 million in U.S. dollars. This figure, which would value ivory at more than $4,200 per kilogram, has since been seized upon by commentators seeking to justify the reintroduction of the ivory trade.

I’m an environmental accountant dedicated to ethical conservation, so I wanted to understand these numbers and how they motivate countries. In truth, I found not even full black-market value comes close to arriving at this figure.

Black-market values are, of course, often invisible to the general public, but the most recent data from criminal justice experts finds that unworked (or raw) elephant ivory sells for about $92/kg on the black market in Africa, while rhino horn is currently selling for $8,683/kg.

Therefore, a more realistic valuation of Zimbabwe’s ivory stockpiles, using an optimistic wholesale price of $150/kg, would give a potential income of only $19.5 million in U.S. dollars.

This is a 30th of Zimbabwe’s estimate.

And even then, those numbers fail to account for the disaster that would happen if ivory sales return — as we saw in the all-too-recent past.

The One-Off Sales

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, following a 10-year period in which African elephant numbers declined by 50%, from 1.3 million to 600,000. However, in 1999 and 2008 CITES allowed “one-off sales” of stockpiled ivory, to disastrous effect. The selling prices achieved then were only $100/kg and $157/kg, in U.S. dollars respectively, due to collusion by official Chinese and Japanese buyers.

Photo: Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

The intention of CITES in approving the one-off ivory sales was to introduce a controlled and steady supply of stockpiled ivory into the market. The legal supply, coupled with effective systems of control, aimed to satisfy demand and reduce prices. This in turn should have reduced the profitability of (and the demand for) illegal ivory. Poaching should have followed suit and decreased.

Instead, the sales led to an increase in demand and, consequently, an increase in elephant poaching. The 2008 ivory sale was accompanied by a 66% increase in illegally traded ivory and a 71% increase in ivory smuggling. An investigation in 2010 by the Environmental Investigation Agency documented that 90% of the ivory being sold in China came from illegal sources.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comparison of elephant poaching figures for the five years preceding and five years following the sale showed an “abrupt, significant, permanent, robust and geographically widespread increase” in poaching.

The problem has not faded away. Most recently the two African elephant species (savanna and forest) were declared endangered and critically endangered due to their continued poaching threat.

Illegal ivory. Photo: Gavin Shire / USFWS

Still, some African nations look fondly at the 2008 sale and have long hoped to repeat it. The Zimbabwe Ministry’s 2020 statement follows yet another proposal to the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (COP18) by Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana to trade in live elephants and their body parts, including ivory. The proposal was not accepted by the parties.

Why Didn’t Ivory Sales Work?

The one-off sales of ivory removed the stigma associated with its purchase, stimulated the market demand, and increased prices.

The ivory that China purchased in 2008 for $157/kg was drip-fed by the authorities to traders at prices ranging between $800 and $1,500 per kilogram. This meant that the bulk of the profits went to filling Chinese government coffers — not to African nations — and in doing so, created a large illegal market which drove prices even higher.

Raw ivory prices in China increased from $750/kg in 2010 to $2,100/kg in 2014. The market had been stimulated, prices increased and the volume of legal ivory available was insufficient to meet demand as the Chinese government gradually fed its stockpile into the market.

Japan, the other participant in the one-off sales, has systematically failed to comply with CITES regulations, meaning that there were (and still are) no controls over ivory being sold,  allowing the illegal markets to function in parallel to the legal one.

In a very short space of time, criminals ramped up poaching and elephant numbers plummeted.

What Has Happened to the Price of Ivory Since Then?

With no recent legal international sales, combined with the significant U.S., Chinese and United Kingdom domestic ivory sales bans, the price for raw ivory paid by craftsmen in China fell from $2,100/kg in 2014 to $730/kg in 2017. That’s when China closed all of its official ivory carving outlets and theoretically stopped all official ivory trade.

The price currently paid for raw ivory in Asia, according to an investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission, is currently between $597/kg and $689/kg, in U.S. dollars. Ivory sourced in Africa and sold in Asia has additional costs such as transportation, taxes and broker commissions. The prices paid for raw ivory in Africa have decreased correspondingly from $208/kg to $92/kg in 2020.

Those numbers pale in comparison to a living elephant. A 2014 study found that live elephants are each worth an estimated $1.6 million in ecotourism opportunities.

Funding Conservation

One half-truth is that the money earned from the legal sale will be used to effectively fund conservation.

One of the CITES conditions of the 2008 sale was that funds were to go to the conservation of elephants. South Africa placed a substantial portion of the income from its share of the pie in the Mpumalanga Problem Animal Fund — which, it turns out, was well-named. An internal investigation found the fund had “no proper controls” and that “tens of millions” of rand (the official currency of South Africa) had bypassed the normal procurement processes.

Ironically, proceeds were also partly used for the refurbishment of the Skukuza abattoir, where most of the 14,629 elephant carcasses from culling operations between 1967 and 1997 were processed.

All the while, Africa’s elephant populations continued to decline.

How to Stop Poaching

In light of these deficiencies — and in light of elephants’ recently declared endangered status — the very reverse of actual conservation can be expected if any nation is again allowed to sell its ivory stockpiles. The cost of increased anti-poaching efforts required from the consequent increase in poaching will outweigh the benefit of any income from the sale of ivory stockpiles.

To stop poaching, all international and local trade must be stopped.

Photo: Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

Repeating this failed experiment will send a message that it is acceptable to trade in ivory. Ivory carving outlets in China will re-open and demand for ivory will be stimulated. The demand for ivory in an increasingly wealthy and better-connected Asia will quickly outstrip legal supply and poaching will increase.

Meanwhile, the management of a legal ivory trade requires strong systems of control at every point in the commodity chain to ensure that illegal ivory is not laundered into the legal market. With recalcitrant Japan continuing to ignore CITES, “untransparent” Namibia “losing tolerance” with CITES, and Zimbabwe ranking 157 out of 179 on the corruption perceptions index, not even the basics for controlled trade are in place.

Therefore, aside from the strong theoretical economic arguments against renewed one-off sales, the practical arguments are perhaps even stronger: If international ivory and rhino horn sales ever again become legal, the cost to protect elephants will skyrocket and these culturally valuable animals will plunge into decline — and possibly extinction.

By Charan Saunders (Conservation Action Trust)

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Captive Bred Lions

Breaking News: Captive Lion Breeding to be Cancelled

Landmark Move to End Captive Lion Breeding:

In an unprecedented move, Minister Barbara Creecy revealed that the Captive Lion Breeding Industry will be shut down. Minister Creecy's delivered her Statement in response to a 582-page High Level Report. This document originates from the work of a Panel of Experts. It scrutinizes the Wildlife Management of certain high-interest sectors, such as Lions, Leopards, Elephants and Rhinos.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation welcomes the move to phase out Captive Lion Breeding:

Habitat-loss and diminishing numbers continue to plague Wild Lions - one of South Africa's most iconic species. Despite widespread  greenwashing, the captive breeding industry does nothing to alleviate their plight. #WHWF welcomes the proposed phasing out of Captive Lion Breeding. We trust that as a result, better protection will be enforced for the Wild Lions. We need to protect the Wild Lions remaining in South Africa, at all costs.

"While we understand that it will take time to phase out the Industry, we are overjoyed at the prospect of Captive Lion Breeding being outlawed and cancelled completely" said Paul Oxton, Founder of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.

© Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

The Captive Lion Breeding Industry has been the thorn in the side of many a Conservationist for at least 3 decades. An industry that generates so much money for the breeders and exploiters, that it seemed impossible to rectify from a purely economical standpoint.

"This shameful exploitative industry has been supplying never-ending streams of lion cubs to pet, feed, and walk - to unsuspecting Tourists falling into this deceitful trap of greed", Said Carina Crayton (aka CJ Carrington), Co-Founder of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation.

Only in the past twelve years or so have people been awakened to the fact that these cute cubs they are petting, end up in a trophy hunt when their usefulness has expired. Their bones, teeth, claws and skin get sold as replacement for tiger parts in tiger bone wine in Asia.

With one lion being able to generate as much as ZAR 2 million for its owner over its lifetime, the math soon amounts to mind-boggling numbers.

Shocking numbers: Around 2300 Wild Lions remain in South Africa, and they do not benefit one iota from the vile breeding industry. An estimated 10 000 to 12 000 Captive-bred Lions are kept on around 800 Breeding Farms in South Africa. They will all be influenced by move to end captive breeding. It is simply not be possible to rescue, relocate or find homes in sanctuaries for even a small fraction of these lions. Captive bred Lions can never be released, so the phasing out of this practice comes with its own set of ethical dilemmas. When the owners can no longer make ridiculous amounts of money from these lions, they will have no incentive to care for them. These lions are often kept in the most appalling conditions, and merely used as cub-mills. This should not be our legacy, as South Africans. It should never have been allowed to get out of control.

©Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

Minister Creecy stated: “The Panel identified that the captive lion industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism which funds lion conservation and conservation more broadly, the negative impact on the authentic wild hunting industry, and the risk that trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and illegal trade. The panel recommends that South Africa does not captive-breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially. I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation in implementation is conducted.”

© Paul Oxton (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

Maybe, in the near future, this decision will restore the image of the magnificent Lion to what it should be - The King of the Savannah. Hopefully, as a nation, we will learn to once again respect, admire and protect this unique symbol of true Wilderness.

"Perhaps, once this stain has been removed from our Wildlife Industry, we will once again get goosebumps at hearing the roar of Wild Lions through the dense African bush" ~ #WHWF

© CJ Carrington (Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation)

The full 582 page report is available here: Lion et al Management, Breeding, Hunting, Trade and Handling

Minister Creecy's Full Statement can be viewed here: Minister Creecy's Statement - Report from High-Level Panel

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Donation Tax Benefits for South African Tax Payers

Looking for a Good Cause to Support and pay less Income Tax in the Process?

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is a Registered NPO and PBO. All Donations by South African Corporates and Private Taxpayers are eligible for a Section 18(a) Tax Certificate, which will assist in reducing the income tax payable to SARS.

Department of Social Development/Republic of South Africa. Registration No.: 147-339 NPO
SARS Public Beneficiary Organization Registration No : 930051372 PBO

Some of our past Success Stories with regards to WHWF's use of Tax Deductible Donations include:

  1. The sponsoring of our Field Vehicle, and equipping of it for Emergency Wildlife Rescue (Private individuals and Corporates);
  2. The Purchasing of an Anaesthetic Machine and Oxygen bottle system for the Rhino Orphanage;
  3. The Equipping of Theaters for several Emergency Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers, including an Operating Table and Theater Trolley used for Pangolins;
  4. The Purchasing of Capture and Transport Cages for various species of the Wildlife Most at Risk;
  5. The Supply and Equipping of Rangers with specialized Equipment for Anti-Poaching Work;
  6. The Tagging, Tracking and Monitoring of Rhinos as an Anti-Poaching Measure and much more..

We will need the following details to issue your certificate:

  • Date and Amount of Donation,
  • Full Name of Company or Individual,
  • Registration Number of Company or ID number of Individual,
  • Registered Address,
  • Telephone Number and Contact Details (email to send PDF of Tax Certificate).
Please contact us with any questions!

If you're still unsure, please take a look at our Future Plans and Wishlist 🙂

We're available for Corporate Talks and Education!


CoVid19 has wreaked havoc on the world, and as a result, we have lost a lot of Corporate Support. Please consider helping our Organization survive during these trying times!

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is committed to #EthicalConservation and showing our Donors how their Loving Donations are spent.

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Skukuza’s Specialist Anti-Poaching Court to stay Open

After a drawn-out legal battle spearheaded by Naomi Engelbrecht, President of Mpumalanga Regional Court, the High Court has ruled against appeals to enforce the closure of the Court based in Skukuza, in the Kruger National Park.
The Skukuza Court handled the bulk of Rhino Poaching cases until an abrupt announcement in 2017 resulted in Engelbrecht transferring Rhino Poaching cases to the Mhala Court, in a move widely condemned by Anti-poaching Pole Players and Conservationists. The Skukuza Court is heralded as a specialist Anti-poaching Court.
In a Constitutional Court order issued on Monday, 1 February, Engelbrecht’s 2017 announcement to move the Rhino Poaching cases will remain invalid, and leave to appeal denied.
Engelbrecht’s decision was challenged in the North Gauteng High Court, opposed by both the Director of Public Prosecution and Mpumalanga’s High Court Judge President, but this did not prevent her from moving cases during to Mhala within two years. All of her subsequent appeals have failed.
Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation commends this ruling, and believes that this decision will greatly aid the effective prosecution of Rhino Poachers.
© Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
Read about shocking new details with regards to KNP Rhino Poaching here:

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Flap-necked Chameleons: Tiny “Ground Lions”

Have you ever been lucky enough to witness one of these beauties cross a road unharmed? Or spotted them in your garden? As with everything fragile, these chameleons are silently becoming more rare, as humans continue to fragment their habitat.

The Flap-Necked Chameleon (Chamaeleo dilepis) is native to Sub-Saharan Africa, and is the biggest of the indigenous Chameleon types, reaching 14 – 20cm in length. There are eight recognized subspecies.

Chameleons are from the Lizard family, and a closer look reveals remarkable dinosaur-like features, such as the head of a mini dragon, prehensile five-toed feet and agile tails, eyes that move independently, not to mention a unique way of catching food!

The 360 degree independent eye movements have the handy benefit of watching their backs while simultaneously hunting for prey. Once potential prey has been spotted, both eyes will fixate on it, with binocular-like vision.  The brain activity switches between eyes every second or so, to not confuse the animal. The eyelids are fused to allow only a small hole through which to see, but the gaze fixes intensely on preferred prey, for an accurate strike.

Chameleons are insect eaters, using their sticky tongues to catch prey like beetles, bugs and grasshoppers. The lightning fast tongue deployment happens at a speed of 3 hundredths of a second. The tongue extends as long as the body. It is fascinating that such a slow-moving animal can provide such an impressive display of speed when on the hunt.

Chameleon Features from left to right: Eyes, Feet, Tongue, Defensive gape, Egg-laying

The swaying, slow gait mimics the swaying of grass in the wind. This helps to camouflage them when at their most vulnerable – on the ground. They are able to change colour faster and in fascinating detail through specialized cells called chromatophores, containing a mixture of pigmented, light-reflecting and melanin cells. Contrary to popular belief, their colour-changing is often a reaction to their moods, or to take full advantage of soaking up the rays of the sun, and not strictly for camouflage as such.

Because they live in trees, finding them on the ground means that they are either looking for a mate, an expanded habitat, or on their way to lay eggs. Unfortunately many flap-necked chameleons get killed by cars when crossing the road. Well-meaning motorists picking them up adds to their mortality, as they die slow deaths when fed flies and kept as pets.

Chameleon carefully crossing the Road © CJ Carrington WHWF

They are a protected species in South Africa - it is not legal for them to be kept without a permit. The road to Sun City outside Rustenburg in South Africa is well-known for illegal selling of wildlife, including chameleons. One should never buy any wildlife offered for sale, as it only stimulates trade, and contributes to extinction. The correct thing to do it to report it to the SPCA who does regular raids on the known trade areas. That is the best chance for these animals to go back into the wild. Sadly, the flap-necked chameleon is in high demand for the international pet trade, being the third most highly traded chameleon species. More than 111,000 individuals were exported between 1977 and 2011, mostly to the USA. Coupled with habitat loss, these figures end up decimating the natural populations.

As with so many of Africa’s vibrant wildlife, superstitions about Chameleons abound. From the idea that they shoot lightning from their eyes, to the belief that they are immortal – these beliefs do very little to protect the species. They are feared and hated among by some people, regarded as a bad omen by others. The only way to fight against this misinformation is to educate people. For instance – the belief that they are immortal, and that chameleon babies are formed by the bones of a dead chameleon, might stem from their habit of digging a hole to lay up to 60 eggs. In the instance of the Flap-necked chameleons, these eggs only hatch in 9 to 12 months, when the hatchlings will dig themselves out of the hole. If the mother didn’t survive, it would surely seem as if the babies came out of her ‘bones’.

When threatened these chameleons will inflate themselves, open their mouths and hiss. They are ready biters too, but although painful, the bites are not venomous. It is no wonder that the word chameleon is the Latinized form of the Ancient Greek khamaileon.  The word derives from khamai (on the ground) and leon (lion) and translates loosely as ‘ground lion’. This refers to the reptile’s intimidating defensive display.

Chameleon survival is threatened by Habitat Loss and Fragmentation, the Illegal Wildlife Trade, Domestic Cats and Natural Predators in the Wild, such as Monkeys and Snakes, Pesticides used in gardens, and Human fear resulting in needless killing.

As with everything wild we would love to protect, the same principles apply: You can help by planting indigenous plants, not using harmful pesticides or insecticides, NOT supporting the Illegal Trade, NOT removing them from the Wild to keep as pets, and Educating people about these tiny, colourful Ground Lions. If you are lucky enough to have a piece of earth to call your own, a more organic lifestyle and gardening habits favour the survival of indigenous wildlife. And maybe, one day, in your own garden, you will find some of these Flap-necked chameleons rolling their eyes at you.

Written by CJ Carrington © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Flap-necked Chameleon easily identifiable via the flap on the neck, and light markings on the flank © Paul Oxton WHWF

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Shocking new Statistics indicate the true extent of Rhino Poaching in the Kruger National Park

Anyone who is a regular visitor to the Kruger National Park would be able to tell you about the Rhinos they are increasingly NOT seeing, compared to previous years.

Every Wildlife lover knows that Rhino Poaching is unlikely to ever be eradicated completely. But some bought into the illusion that we are successfully reducing Poaching. This is a dangerous misconception.

The Poaching War is not over; we are not winning, and we need to wake up to face that sobering fact.

"KNP holds the largest population of wild Rhino in the world." According to these new, shocking statistics, it seems like we'll soon reach a point where this sentence is no longer true.

Whenever official Rhino Poaching statistics are made public, it never indicates the actual population count, so you have to dig a little to get to see the real picture. Historically, any decline in Rhino Poaching numbers from one year to the next, has been heralded as a win, but the problem is that these figures were never depicted as a percentage of the total Rhino population, neither in the Kruger National Park, nor in the rest of South Africa.

If we were winning the war on poaching, the percentage of Rhino Poached against the total population would be declining (not only the actual body count of animals poached). But it’s not. It’s staying alarmingly high in Black Rhino, and has escalated uncontrollably in the case of the White Rhino.

Black Rhinos in the Kruger National Park:

Total KNP Black Rhino Population decline:

The 2011 figure (508 animals) for the KNP Black Rhino Population implies a shocking 47% decline in Black Rhino Populations in the KNP over eight years, to 268 animals in 2019. Sources here and in SanParks Report (p96).

Figure 1: Black Rhino Populations in the Kruger National Park show a 47% decline from 2011 to 2019. © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

KNP Black Rhino Mortality as a Percentage of Total Population:

Since 2012 there has been a decline in the KNP Black Rhino mortality rate from 9.8% of the population to 9.5% in 2019. These figures include poaching and natural mortality, but because of the low population numbers of Black Rhino, this decline is not good news. It still means that the population is steadily decreasing, and that can be mostly attributed to Poaching.

*Percentages were determined by using current year mortalities as a percentage of previous year populations.


White Rhinos in the Kruger National Park:

Total KNP White Rhino Population decline:

For White Rhinos the situations is even more concerning: Between 2011 (10621 animals) and 2019 (3549 animals) this is a shocking 67% population decline in 8 years. Aside from a slight increase in numbers during 2015, the downward trend is a tragic testament of Rhino lives lost. Sources here, here and in SanParks Report (p96).

Figure 2: White Rhino Populations in the Kruger National Park show a 67% decline from 2011 to 2019. © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

KNP White Rhino Mortality as a Percentage of Total Population:

The following mortality figures used to determine percentage of remaining population poached include all causes of mortality, (natural, poached and unknown) but it’s obvious that the increased mortality rates are driven by Poaching. In fact the  natural mortalities only make up 10 to 20 % of the total mortality numbers. This means that it is a safe assumption that as much as 80 to 90 % of the total deaths are due to Poaching, with a negligible percentage of deaths due to Unknown causes. (For ease of reference we have not split up the Mortality numbers further into Poaching, Natural and Unknown Deaths).

In 2012 there was a mortality rate of 1.2% of the KNP White Rhino population, escalating to a staggering 18.6% in 2019. This is the worst news, as it indicates an upward trend in the Poaching statistics, which doesn’t show up in the Official Poaching Numbers.

*Percentages were determined by using current year mortalities as a percentage of previous year populations.

Figure 3: In 2012 there was a mortality rate of 1.2% of the KNP White Rhino population, escalating to a staggering 18.6% in 2019 © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

One has to wonder why there is not much more of an outcry about these statistics. Why is this concept not being clearly communicated to the public? Would we not need all hands on deck to fight this? Knowledge is Power, so why is this Information deliberately being withheld from the public domain?

The animals' attitude towards visitors have also changed, sometimes subtly, but there is a definite difference in observed behaviour - especially with regards to the normally docile White Rhinos. Could this be due to an increased presence of poachers? It is widely reported that "drop-poaching is a preferred strategy, where the criminals pose as day visitors, enter unhindered through the gates, and drop the poacher(s) off. The occupants of the main vehicle used would also act as "spotters" and relay the position of vulnerable Rhinos to the poachers. Whether they enter through the border, whether they have informants inside or not - their methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated in order to avoid detection. They still carry on, leaving hundreds of dead Rhinos in their wake.


The Official Rhino Poaching Statistics for South Africa from 2007 to 2019:

Any reduction in Rhino Poaching numbers as celebrated in the media and issued by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, merely points to the deeper problem – the population numbers are now so low, that it is more difficult to find animals to poach.

Rhino Poaching Statistics South Africa - 2007 to 2019 ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

"These figures are misleading, and they have the effect of lulling the public into complacency under the illusion that we are winning the War on Rhino Poaching. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fewer Rhinos are getting Poached because there are fewer Rhinos remaining to Poach, and therefor they are more difficult to find." (WHWF)

According to a KNP Ranger who wishes to remain anonymous, as many as 8 – 10 fully trained and equipped poaching teams are on the ground in Kruger National Park every day. These insurgents have military training, are armed to the teeth, and they shoot to kill. It is truly a war.

The Rangers on the ground put their lives in danger for our Rhinos every single day. They are the ones who deserve our gratitude for an often thankless, soul-destroying job. It is the heart-breaking reality that they are fighting a losing battle.

Every South African Citizen, and every International Visitor who cares about our Natural Heritage should actively be supporting any anti-poaching efforts, and support Organizations who do their very best to fight this war. If not for us, then for Future Generations.

It is time that we wake up, and understand the concept that we are losing our last Rhinos, faster than we ever thought possible.

Support #WHWF Anti-Poaching Efforts here: Ref #Rangers

Written by CJ Carrington ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Nobody in the World needs a Rhino Horn, but a Rhino ~ Paul Oxton (WHWF)

White Rhino photographed in the KNP, several years ago. © Paul Oxton (WHWF)

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Update: Suspect Arrested! Rhino Poaching – 17 Rhino Horns Confiscated

Update: 25 January 2021 - Suspect Arrested!
Kempton Park, South Africa:

The Hawks arrested a 36-year-old man in Gauteng at the weekend for being a suspected rhino horn dealer. Kelvin Chigwede was arrested on Saturday after being found in possession of R500,000, suspected to be proceeds of illegal rhino horn dealings.

Investigations led authorities to a residence in Benoni where a search warrant was executed. Upon searching the premises, authorities found about R500,000 in cash. The Cash seized is believed to be from the proceeds of illegal dealings, related to the confiscation of more than 70kg of Rhino Horn destined for Malaysia in December 2020.

Chigwede was arrested and charged for illegally dealing in rhino horns and contravention of the National Environmental Biodiversity Act.

He appeared in the Kempton Park regional court where the case was postponed to January 26 for a formal bail application.

Read the Original Article below:

December 15th, 2020
Kempton Park, South Africa:
17 Rhino Horns were seized in sting operation when the authorities acted upon a tip-off at a warehouse in Kempton Park, close to O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The consignment seized was marked as chicken feed, with the destination listed as Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). A wooden shipping container was found to contain a large blue geyser. After grinding it open, 17 pieces of rhino horn were revealed. The horns were covered in foil - a common practice to try and avoid detection at airport scanners. The flat tops visible in some of the wrapped pieces are indicative of previous de-horning (an increasingly common anti-poaching procedure). The weight of the Rhino Horn seized is 72.4kg.
Police are currently following up on information with regards to the identity of the suspect.
According to the HAWKS (Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation), this successful operation was due to a multi-disciplinary approach and cooperation between various law enforcement agencies.
Rhino Poaching had declined substantially during South Africa's strict CoVid19 Lockdown measures, but has been steadily increasing since restrictions have been eased.

Written by CJ Carrington(WHWF) ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

"No-one in the World needs a Rhino Horn, but a Rhino" ~ Paul Oxton (WHWF)

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Wry Face – Incredible Survival of Giraffe with Malformed Face

Giraffe with Wry Face Congenital Defect Survives to adulthood!

Wry Face or Wry Nose is a congenital condition (birth defect) which affects certain species of animals, and is most obvious in species with long faces, such as horses and cattle. The condition is normally associated with a cleft palate, which makes suckling a huge challenge for the new-born animal. Depending on the severity of the malformation (slight <5° to severe >60°) lateral deviation, many animals do not make it to adulthood.

It is common for animals born with this condition to have the upper jaw and nose deviated to one side, usually causing the nasal septum (the cartilage plate that separates the right and left nasal passageways) to be deviated as well. This can result in breathing difficulties due to obstruction of the airway. Wry nose is most obvious in species with long faces, such as horses and cattle.

An animal with Wry Face / Wry Nose may have poor alignment (malocclusion) of the teeth and may have difficulty taking food up into their mouth and chewing food, which can lead to uneven wearing of the cheek teeth. Obviously, this could also lead to the animal becoming emaciated and dying. The chances of survival are better once they pass the suckling stage, as animals are incredible resourceful; and their ability to adapt in order to survive is impressive.

It is rare for a wild animal with Wry Face to survive to adulthood. The giraffe pictured here, was spotted and photographed in South Africa’s Kruger National Park by Adele Sneyd, in October 2020, near Shingwedzi.  According to Sneyd the animal seems healthy and well-adapted to her condition.

On the left, the Giraffe spotted in October 2020. On the Right, the skull of a Horse with congenital Wry Face clearly shows the extent of the deviation.

You have to admire the tenacity and sheer will to survive visible in wild animals with this deformity, against all odds. Nature will find a way to look after her own.

Written by CJ Carrington ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

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WHWF 6th Annual Xmas Support – The Rhino Orphanage

Xmas Happiness for the Rhino Babies and their Carers:
As always, we do our best to make Christmas extra special for the #WildBabies and caring Staff at The Rhino Orphanage. This year was our 6th Annual Xmas Supply Drop. With the loving care and help of our local community and our valued donors, we were able to perform some miracles during the end of what has been a most challenging year for everyone.
We have been consistent and ongoing supporters of The Rhino Orphanage for the past 5 years, and have supplied countless capital items, veterinary equipment, specialized medicines and food. This is an ongoing support project where we make sure that your donations directly reach its target.

WHWF Team Paul and Carina (CJ) getting some attention from the Rhino Orphans © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Working through a Wish List:

We pride ourselves on trying to procure every single item on TRO's wish-list, and this year was no different. Loads of probiotic Protexin, industrial wheelbarrows, soap of every conceivable kind, special dual rakes, many liters of disinfectant, 1000 latex gloves, facemasks for the 'new normal', and so much more!

Loads of Protexin Pro-biotics for happy Rhino tummies © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

The Value of Consumables:

If 2020 taught us anything at all, it is the value of toilet paper, so we made sure the human 🦏 mommies have plenty of that! General soap, disinfectant and cleaning materials are always welcome too - anything that makes it easier to help the Rhino Orphans survive.

Food for the Carers, loads of cleaning supplies and the all-important Toilet paper! © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Crucial Equipment for Night-time Emergencies:
The girls were particularly excited about the emergency spot-light that would make night time treatment easier. The Carers received some treats too - it is after all, their job to spend countless nights next to a sick Rhino Orphan - doing their bit to help them survive!

Rechargeable Emergency Spotlight for night-time emergencies, and some snacks for the carers © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Specialized Veterinary Equipment:

The cherry on top of the cake is a complete telescopic pole syringe system, with every size of syringes and attachments available. This is like a syringe on steroids, enabling the treatment of an animal from about 4-5 meters away, and is particularly handy for use with dangerous or scared larger rhinos. This valuable, expensive piece of equipment is on every true Wildlife Rehab's wish list. Rehabilitating Rhinos is physical hard work. Industrial wheelbarrows help make the load a little lighter.

Complete Telescopic Pole Syringe System for dispensing treatment, and Industrial Wheelbarrows for the heavy work © Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Wild Heart 'Santa' Bumper Supply Drop for The Rhino Orphans:
Our lives have changed irrevocably, and we have to adapt. The animals have no choice - they rely on us. We have to continue doing our best for the animals, and also helping the humans who care so much for them.
From our side, WHWF gifted The Rhino Orphanage's Arrie and Mariet Van Deventer with one of our first ever, Limited Edition Big 5 Calendars, as a small token of our appreciation for their dedication.
𝐓♥𝐇♥𝐀♥𝐍♥𝐊♥ ♥𝐘♥𝐎♥𝐔
Thank you to every single person who donated and assisted in any way.
You are all superstars, and we cannot mention anyone, because the list is too long.
Thank you for making this Xmas special for the Rhino Babies, and their carers.

The WHWF Team with Happy Carers and Happy Rhino Babies at The Rhino Orphanage ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

To see more of what we do for the Rhino Orphans, click here.

We rely completely on donations from the public to do our work all across Southern Africa. As always, we show you exactly what we do with your loving donations.

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