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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Harpo the Harties Hippo – Countdown to a Cull?

Rumours are increasingly gaining substance that the famous Harpo, the resident Hippo at Hartebeespoort Dam, is in line to be culled (shot). According to the Kormorant Newspaper, reliable sources have indicated that a permit for the killing of Harpo has been issued by the North-West Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDECT).

Harpo has become a local celebrity, and even has his own facebook page. Residents have become protective over the hippo, and now they are up in arms.

Harpo - Celebrity Hippo © Hippo at Harties fb Page

Harpo appeared in May 2019 and have been spotted regularly in many areas around the Dam since. Apparently numerous unsuccessful attempts at catching and relocating the hippo have been made, including the mentioned attempted capture in December 2019.

A spokesperson for the DEDECT, Mashudu Nemutandani, said that the matter is still being investigated and a “formal communication” will be released as soon as a solution is found.Earlier the department had indicated that the hippo “could become a huge problem. Hippos are dangerous animals and the human factor is the big problem here”.

“We need an urgent solution as the dam is a big tourist attraction, and it has to happen soon,” said Constant Hoogkamer of DEDECT, at a meeting held at Hartebeespoort in January 2020.

Local Resident Martyn Manley questioned who initiated and backed the process to get a killing permit approved, and wondered what their reasoning was. “We need to embrace our Wildlife, not kill it”, he said.

Hippos are territorial animals, and relocation is not a simple process, due to the fact that they can easily drown if they run into the water after being darted during the capture.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation has been unable to verify the existence of the permit.

#WHWF: "We believe that every wild animal deserves another chance at freedom and a wild, natural life."

(𝐏𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐤) ⬇️⬇️⬇️

A petition to try and save Harpo can be signed here.

Written by CJ Carrington ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Harpo - Celebrity Hippo ©Kormorant

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Paradise is closing down – Fracking and Oil Drilling in Okavango Delta

The ghastly spectre of oil drilling and fracking in fragile Okavango Delta

For a distance of some 150km, Canadian company ReconAfrica’s oil and gas prospecting concessions border the Kavango River, a crucial source of water in a semi-arid area and the lifeline for one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wild species in the Okavango Delta into which it discharges.

The fate of one of Africa’s most valuable ecosystems may depend on results from wells being drilled deep into the bedrock beneath the Kalahari of northern Namibia and Botswana in the hunt for a petroleum reservoir.

If the search by Canadian oil and gas company ReconAfrica is successful, the region could be irrevocably transmogrified by networks of access roads, truck traffic and heavy machinery, pipelines, drill rigs and hundreds of oil and gas production wells.

A group of yellow-billed storks and other birds feed on small fishes in the flooded grassland in the Kwedi concession of the Okavango Delta, about 30km north of Mombo, Botswana. (Photo: EPA / Gernot Hensel)

For ReconAfrica it would mean “the largest oil play of the decade” and immense financial profits. For social and environmental justice activists it spells unmitigated disaster.

The role played by the Namibian government (a 10% shareholder in ReconAfrica’s Namibian exploration concession) is of grave concern. While the petroleum company is vocally proclaiming that they are on the brink of a major discovery, the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) is downplaying potential risks and suggesting that the focus is merely on “exploration”.

Does this mixed messaging suggest misinformation on the part of ReconAfrica to lure potential investors? Is the government trying to obfuscate what’s really happening in the region? Is this then a case for the US Securities Exchange Commission to investigate?

ReconAfrica holds exploration licences for an area of more than 25,000km² in north-eastern Namibia and a further 9,900km² across the border in Botswana. Beneath this land lies the Kavango Basin, a geological mega-structure which the company’s experts conservatively estimate to contain 120 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

To put the claimed size of this deposit into context, the largest oil field in history, Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar Field, is believed to have held a total of 88 to 104 billion barrels of oil, while the country estimated to have the biggest proven reserves is Venezuela at about 303 billion barrels.

A group of giraffes in the Kwedi concession of the Okavango Delta. (Photo: EPA / Gernot Hensel)

In a press release, the MME suggests that the “necessary environmental impact permits” are in place, but opponents question the efficacy and thoroughness of the process and argue that ReconAfrica’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) falls short of legal requirements.

One major concern is that the exploitation of oil or gas deposits may require the use of hydraulic fracking technology, which involves injecting pressurised, water-based, chemical-laced fluid into wells to help release hydrocarbons tightly held in so-called unconventional deposits.

The myriad dangerous effects of fracking, from its need for vast amounts of water to the potential for artificial earthquakes, the contamination of ground and surface water and the poisoning of humans as well as the natural food chain, are well documented.

In its extremely optimistic communications with the media, ReconAfrica implies that fracking may well be on the cards. Daniel Jarvie, a petroleum geochemist on the company’s technical team, states that its licences in Namibia and Botswana “offer large-scale plays that are both conventional and unconventional”. Such unconventional “plays” would require fracking.

In a 2019 presentation to investors, ReconAfrica compares the Kavango basin to the huge Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas field in Texas and refers to plans for “modern frac simulations”. In the case of the Eagle Ford Shale, fracking at thousands of wells has been linked to air pollution and an increase in seismic activity “33 times the background rate”.

Dr Annette Hübschle of the Environmental Futures Project of UCT’s Global Risk Governance Programme warns that “we should be very concerned about the long-term impacts of fracking on livelihoods, health, ecosystems, biodiversity conservation and especially climate change.”

The MME insists, however, that neither an onshore production licence nor a licence to develop unconventional resources has been applied for or granted. They declare that “no hydraulic fracking activities are planned in Namibia” and that “Recon will not be conducting any fracking activities in the Okavango Delta.”

While the MME seems to imply that what is going on is merely exploration for possible petroleum reserves, ReconAfrica appears ready to move into oil production as soon as possible, noting that once a commercial-scale discovery is declared, their agreement with the Namibian government entitles them “to obtain a 25-year production licence”.

Ultimately, the debate over fracking may be moot as there is little doubt about the overwhelmingly destructive effects of major petroleum production – with or without fracking – in a dry, ecologically-sensitive region.

And that’s without the occurrence of any disasters – an unrealistic expectation from an industry responsible for some of the biggest environmental catastrophes in history, from the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon to Canada’s tar sands and the devastation of the Niger Delta.

According to Hübschle, “the EIA fails to address the issue of the high volumes of water required for exploration and how the highly toxic and radioactive drill mud will be cleaned and disposed of.”

A threat to people and cultural heritage:

A small herd of zebras in the Kwedi concession in the Okavango Delta. (Photo: EPA / Gernot Hensel)

What is indisputable are the risks to which large, industrialised oil production would expose the region.

For a distance of some 150km, ReconAfrica’s concessions border the Kavango River (often referred to as the Okavango River, and called Rio Cubango in Angola), a crucial source of water in a semi-arid area and the lifeline for one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wild species in the Okavango Delta into which it discharges.

The region as a whole is home to around 200,000 people. The Okavango Delta, which is downstream from the suspected oil field, provides a livelihood for indigenous populations of at least five ethnic groups who rely on the landscape for water, fishing, hunting, wild plant foods, farming and tourism.

Of particular concern are local San communities whose already threatened lifestyle would be deeply impacted by the arrival of the oil industry. What’s more, the area where petroleum production would occur includes Botswana’s Tsodilo Hills — a Unesco World Heritage Site — which is celebrated as the “Louvre of the Desert” and protects over 4,500 San rock paintings, some of which are 1 200 years old.

Hübschle notes that “very few affected parties were consulted by government and the company. While the company is engaging in a winning hearts and minds campaign, there are many affected people who are deeply concerned about their land rights, ability to farm and derive income from community conservancies.”

A threat to Wildlife and Ecology:

A female leopard rests on a termite hill in the Kwedi concession in the Okavango Delta, (Photo: EPA / Gernot Hensel)

A future Kavango Basin oil field not only poses an existential risk to the Okavango Delta, a Unesco World Heritage Site in its own right — Botswana’s most-visited tourist destination and home to a very large and diverse population of animals, including more than 70 species of fish and over 400 species of birds — but it also directly overlaps the world’s largest terrestrial cross-border wildlife sanctuary, the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza), which straddles the borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Zambia.

A source of millions of dollars of income from sustainable ecotourism, the area protects at least four species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of “critically endangered” animals, including the black rhino and the white-backed vulture, seven “endangered” species, including the grey-crowned crane and the African wild dog, as well as 20 species listed as “vulnerable”, such as the martial eagle and Temminck’s pangolin.

The region is also known for its extensive network of migration routes for the planet’s largest remaining elephant population. Studies have revealed that these animals have huge home ranges of nearly 25,000km² and roam across vast distances between Botswana, Namibia, Angola and Zambia.

The disruption of migration corridors by a massive new oil industry infrastructure would not just endanger the survival of the elephant population but is likely to increase detrimental interactions with local human communities.

“If full-scale drilling goes ahead”, says Hübschle, “the outlook for Kaza would be grim. Tourists won’t come on safari to look at oil rigs.”

From a global perspective, extracting vast amounts of fossil fuels from the region will exacerbate the ongoing human-induced climate crisis which is itself threatening the survival of the Okavango Delta as a result of decreasing annual rainfall in the catchment area.

In a deeper, geological irony, the rocks suspected of containing the oil and gas reserves of the Kavango Basin were deposited in the Permian Period which came to a cataclysmic end in the most extreme extinction event of the Earth’s history that wiped out 90% to 95% of all marine species and 70% of all land organisms.

Digging up and burning oil from these strata will push us even closer to a new global mass extinction.

In its myopic vision, all ReconAfrica sees in the northern Kalahari is money buried underground.

The Okavango Delta, Botswana. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Gernot Hensel)

At a time when the world’s few remaining wild places need all of the protection we can muster when biodiversity is declining rapidly and when global heating is wrecking the world, it’s the kind of vision that undermines the very foundations of our existence.

If we believe in restorative social and environmental justice, we ought to insist that the international fossil fuel industry funds Namibia and Botswana to keep the oil in the ground, to develop renewable energy systems instead and to safeguard their irreplaceable ecosystems.

Written by Andreas Wilson Spath, Daily Maverick, 15 December 2020

Original article here.

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Rarest of Scavengers – The Brown Hyena

𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘏𝘺𝘦𝘯𝘢 (𝙃𝙮𝙚𝙣𝙖 𝙗𝙧𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙚𝙖) 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘢 "𝘉𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩 𝘞𝘰𝘭𝘧" 𝘪𝘯 𝘈𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘬𝘢𝘢𝘯𝘴 (𝘚𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘸𝘰𝘭𝘧); 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘥. 𝘐𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘺𝘦𝘯𝘢.
Brown Hyenas occur in the southern African sub-region: Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Republic of South Africa and Namibia. The total population size of brown hyenas is estimated to be between 4000 and 8000 animals, which make them one of the rarest large African carnivores.
They can be distinguished from other hyenas by their long shaggy hair, which is dark brown or black on the body and lighter coloured on the neck and shoulders. Adults grow 130 cm to 160 cm in body length, with males weighing 47 kg and females around 42 kg on average.
The front legs of brown hyena are horizontally striped, (resembling zebra stripes) and are much longer than their hind legs, resulting in their shoulders being higher than their rumps. Their heads are large with less hair than the rest of their body and they have long pointed ears.
𝘼 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙥/𝙛𝙖𝙢𝙞𝙡𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙃𝙮𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙖 "𝘾𝙡𝙖𝙣".
Brown hyenas have a social hierarchy comparable to that of wolves, with a mated pair and their offspring. They live in clans composed of extended families of four to six individuals. Some males and females may turn into solitary nomads. Females either mate with a dominant alpha male, or nomadic males that venture into the clan’s territory.
The mating season is usually from May to August, depending on the availability of food. Females give birth in isolated dens and and a few weeks later, move their young to the rest of the clan. One to five pups are born after a gestation period of up to 100 days. They will drink from the mother up to fourteen months of age.
Brown hyenas are primarily scavengers, eating a wide variety of small vertebrates, insects and fruits. They usually forage alone, but several animals even from different clans may gather to feed on a large carcass. They are most active at night, but become more active in the day, when food is scarce.
One of their unique habits is called pasting - a form of scent marking from their anal glands. They send out two kinds of messages with their pasting: Lighter coloured, longer-lasting and stronger-smelling paste is used to mark territories and warn off other hyenas. Darker, temporary paste, milder-smelling, is used to let other clan members know that they've checked the area for food and have eaten it, so as not to duplicate efforts. So Clever!
Just like with Jackals and certain other scavengers, Hyenas are the cleaning crew of the bush, and they are highly resistant to bacterial infections that could kill other animals. They perform a critical role in a balanced ecosystem, and should be protected against extinction.
Written by CJ Carrington (WHWF)  ©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

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Captive Lion Breeding Damages SA’s Tourism Reputation

SA’s government is ignoring red flags that the captive Lion industry is damaging the country’s reputation

Despite overwhelming worldwide opposition, including a parliamentary resolution to close down the captive lion breeding industry, SA’s government is ignoring red flags that the industry is damaging the country’s reputation and deliberating a 2020 annual trade quota for the export of lion bones.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) said in April that the decision for a lion bone quota has been deferred to later this year. It claims that public opposition and a 2019 court case between the minister and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), who say breeding and trade in captive bred lion parts raises significant welfare issues, delayed determining last year’s export quota.

Wildlife trade experts say the legal trade in lion bones which is used for medicinal purposes in Southeast Asia, is fuelling an illegal market.

They say that the permit system is weak and creates loopholes for illegal wildlife trafficking, which is further impacting on wildlife conservation. An estimated 12000 captive lions exist in South Africa, while no more than 10 000 wild lions roam the continent. More than 6000 lion skeletons have been exported from South Africa since 2008.

©Paul Oxton / Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

According to department, the decision will be based on the recommendations by a panel, mandated to review policies, legislation and practices on matters related to the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of four iconic species, including lions.

The panel is required to provide recommendations to the minister by the end of this month. But this comes after a 2018 parliamentary committee recommended that the captive lion breeding and lion bone trade industry be closed and a High Court judgement that previous annual export lion skeleton quotas were illegal because they ignored animal welfare.

“Should DEFF issue a lion bone quota now, no matter the stockpiles that are accumulating on lion breeding farms, it will send a very clear signal that the voice of public opinion, scientific reason, and of legal judgement has been ignored and that only money and no doubt corruption matters on the issue of lion bones and captive breeding,” says Paul Funston, lion species director at Panthera, an organisation exclusively devoted  to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their landscapes.

With international criticism, reports highlighting animal cruelty and the lack of conservation value, conservationists are questioning the minister’s motivation in considering a trade in lion bones which supports the continuation of the captive lion industry.

They say she is wasting resources when the writing is on the wall that the industry should be closed down.

“The lion breeding industry is making a few lion breeders a lot of money, but is costing Brand South Africa billions,” says Colin Bell, wildlife conservationists and founder of Wilderness Safaris.

“Not only is this industry barbaric, it is terrible for Brand South Africa and has cost South Africa many millions – even billions in lost tourist arrivals, revenues and jobs when tourists elect to rather travel elsewhere.”

©Paul Oxton / Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, over R400bn is generated by South Africa’s travel and tourism industry. This is compared to the captive lion breeding industry which supports little more than 1000 jobs.

The department claims welfare will be considered in determining this year’s quota with the engagement of welfare experts. But there are no welfare authorities sitting on the panel HLP.

The only welfare specialist on the panel, Karen Trendler, resigned and the NSPCA which received a late invite, declined membership, for reasons it won’t divulge.

Others, including the Humane Society Africa and environmental lawyer, Cormac Cullinan, also declined membership stating the panel was weighted with parties invested in the commercial use of wildlife and wildlife body parts and had no interest in welfare.

Despite the existence of animal welfare legislation in South Africa, it lacks adequate representation and enforcement. While the department is mandated to oversee biodiversity conservation, animal welfare falls under the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), which in turn routinely passes the buck to the NSPCA, a non-government body tasked with enforcing the Animal Protection Act, but which receives no state funding.

With limited welfare enforcement, over 450 breeding facilities capitalise, unhindered, on breeding lions for hunting and trade. Many of these facilities pose as lion conservation centres or sanctuaries but on closer inspection are more akin to lion factories.

Lion conservation experts say breeding lions in captivity has no conservation value. In a statement, the Endangered Wildlife Trust says: “The captive keeping and breeding of large carnivores does not contribute to carnivore conservation in South Africa.

“There are nationally and internationally recognised conservation plans for cheetahs, lions, wild dogs and leopards and none of them identify captive breeding as a required conservation action.”

Recently, studies have shown that lion breeding farms are a “hotbed” for zoonotic diseases.

report says captive lions carry a range of harmful pathogens, including Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

With many lion farms offering cub petting and walking, these facilities are posing a real threat to tourists and staff.

By Melissa Reitz 

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Rare Win for Rhinos – Justice for Poached Animals

South Africa: Notorious Ndlovu Rhino Poaching Gang loses Appeal

Three convicted poachers of the notorious Ndlovu gang failed in their bid to appeal their 25 year sentences.  The High Court in Makhanda (Grahamstown) dismissed their appeal on all counts on Tuesday, 24 November 2020.

Conservationists and Wildlife lovers are celebrating this win for the Rhinos the world over.

In April 2016, Jabulani Ndlovu, Sikhumbuzo Ndlovu, and Forget Ndlovu were found in possession of more than 10kg of freshly cut rhino horn, a dart gun used to dispense the M99 immobilization drug, and a handsaw, still bloody from the latest poaching. Several mobile phones, SIM cards and rental cars were used in the poaching operations.

‘What made these poachers so dangerous is the fact that they used the Veterinary Drug, M99, to dart the rhinos, before cutting their horns off. The drug is not available to the public, and is a strictly controlled veterinary product’, says Paul Oxton , the Founder/Director of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, a South African Non-Profit Conservation Organization.

©Paul Oxton (WHWF)

Years after their arrest in 2016 at the Makana Resort, the Ndlovu gang was found guilty in April 2019 following lengthy court proceedings, on 55 charges relating to Poaching and Wildlife Crime. The court sentenced them to 25 years each. They immediately appealed their sentences. They are directly responsible for the killing of at least 13 Rhinos, using the veterinary immobilizing agent M99, to dart the animals and then hack off their horns.  More than 100 Rhinos had been poached using this method over several years, and it is highly likely that they are responsible for all of those incidents. Since the gang had been imprisoned, not a single poaching incident has been linked to M99 use.

‘This kind of sedation is not a full anaesthesia, and the animals were able to feel as their faces were chopped into. Rhinos sedated via M99 are unable to move, but are still fully aware. It incredibly traumatic and is probably one of the cruellest methods of poaching’, Carina Crayton (aka CJ Carrington) from Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation explained.

In carefully orchestrated operations, the gang would pose as wildlife-loving guests at the different Resorts, gather information about the locations of the animals, and then poach the rhinos in the targeted area. They were operating as a highly skilled, resourceful criminal unit.

Although it took justice four and a half years to finally catch up with these criminals, Rhino lovers are thrilled with the overturning of the gang’s sentencing appeal  - stating that it is very welcome news in the fight against rhino poaching.

In the case of the Ndlovu Gang, at least two of the rhinos they killed, were pregnant at the time. This counts as a double loss, but the foetuses are not recorded as additional poached animals in South Africa’s official poaching statistics.

It is not just the dead adult rhinos that form part of the tragedy of the poaching scourge in South Africa. The result of poaching for greed is that many rhino babies end up being orphaned. It is estimated that only one out of ten Rhino Orphans are rescued in time to try and save their lives, after their mothers had been poached.  These babies have usually endured severe trauma for many days, including blows from machetes, bullet wounds, and attacks by predators, and they often end up eating sand which in turn can be fatal. Rehabilitating these orphans is costly and takes many years. Often they just do not survive.  It is part of the on-going tragedy that is Rhino Poaching for their Horns - made of Keratin, like your fingernails.

“Nobody needs a Rhino Horn, but a Rhino” ~Paul Oxton (WHWF)

Justice will not bring back the dead rhinos, but it may act as a deterrent for greedy would-be criminals, and assist in a small way in safe-guarding these national treasures. For now, we have to protect and care for the survivors.

Read more about & support efforts to help raise these Rhino Orphans, by clicking here

Written by CJ Carrington, 25 November 2020 - Copyright: Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation


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Life 4 Lions


Our comprehensive, ongoing #Life4Lions Project will run for the next several months, as we await permission from the Government to move through each stage. The attached pictures and video show the latest completed section of work. Please continue to support this endeavour - we have a long road ahead of us, with extensive costs. Details and updates below:
Project #Life4Lions: Working to save ToPS (Threatened or Protected Species)

Having been approached by the relevant Governing Authorities, we have agreed to manage and fund a life-saving Project that will ensure that a number of lions are given a future at a new forever home.


#Life4Lions What?
The #Life4Lions Project entails certain Veterinary Procedures (like Vasectomies - Phase 1 and 2), Veterinary care, Micro-Chipping, DNA sampling and recording, Vaccinations and Health Checks, Relocation and Transport of, in total, 21 captive-born, parent-reared lions, to safe, ethical, forever home sanctuaries. One of the family units will remain at the current Nature Reserve after all procedures have been completed. (Update: Phase one has been completed - see video below)

#Life4Lions Where?
The location of these animals is being withheld upon request of our collaboration partners, EMI (Environmental Management Inspectorate – aka Green Scorpions).

#Life4Lions Why?
Currently the lions are in a safe, ethical, non-breeding facility, with no human interaction, but their numbers are exceeding the recommended saturation levels as instructed by Nature Conservation. Consequently, we have received instruction from the Authorities to find the excess lions suitable forever homes, rather than risking the lions being euthanized.

#Life4Lions How?
Phase one of #Life4Lions was performing Vasectomies on two of the young breeding-age males. This has been completed, and you can watch the video of the procedure below. The vasectomies are being done to ensure that they cannot father any cubs, and protect them from the exploitation by the canned hunting and lion breeding industries. The further phases of #Life4Lions are geared towards ensuring the health of all the lions,(Phase 2 including the Vasectomies of two more lions) transporting them to their new homes, and making sure they have as happy a life as possible in suitable permanent, ethical sanctuaries.

#Life4Lions When?
We are currently awaiting further permissions from the Governing Authorities to move on to the next stage. We are spending time and money sourcing ethical homes for the lions, and making sure that they will be cared for properly. Currently, one of the main Reserves that 6 of the lions will be moved to, is in the process of completing their (>5km / 3.2miles) fence repair. Once it has passed formal inspection by Nature Conservation, and complies with WHWF's standards, permits should be issued, and six of the lions will go to their forever home, at a safe, ethical Reserve in a semi-wild environment exceeding 100 Hectares (>250 Acres) .

#Life4Lions What's Next?

Phase 2 involves the building of crates to transport the lions. Six crates are needed, and we are building it ourselves to save money. To purchase one crate is around ZAR12 000, where we can build it to Government specifications for around ZAR4 000 for all six.

We also need to perform the Vasectomies on two more of the Lions pictured below. Kijana (Boy in Swahili) and Lijana (Young in Swahili) need to be sterilized to ensure that they cannot ever be used for breeding.

During Phase 2 of #Life4Lions we are also ensuring that the lions waiting in temporary enclosures to be moved to their forever homes continue to be as comfortable as possible. We do regular site and veterinary checks, and install additional shade-netting, and whatever else is needed. We still need to find other forever homes, so that search is ongoing, with its associated costs. 

#Life4Lions How can You Help? 

We need funding for the transport crates. Buying them at ZAR12 000 each is not a viable option, as we can build 6 crates at a cost of ZAR 4 000. These crates will render the lons safe and comfortable during transport, often for hundreds of kilometers to their forever homes.

Veterinary Procedures on ToPS species (Threatened or Protected Species) are extremely expensive (in this case Kijana and Lijana), and our travelling costs are substantial, but we are confident that with your help, we can get this done. These lions deserve the very best. 

Please #Donate https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/life4lions-phase-2 towards this. This is your chance to help give these lions a good life. Every cent counts!

There are just too many lions in captivity in South Africa, and the devastating reality is that far too many of them will end up being sold to canned hunting facilities, and be disposed of in the lion bone trade.

Lions like Rafiki and Hatari (who have had their vasectomies as per the video below), as well as the two boys Kijana and Lijana, awaiting sterilization and transport to their new home, can never be free: captive born and raised, they have never learnt to hunt, and never will. The best they can have will be a long healthy life in a forever home where they can be appreciated from afar - through the lens of a camera.

You can help Kijana and Lijana by supporting Phase 2 of our very special Lion Project by donating here:




South Africans can use EFT at:
First National Bank / Cheque Account
Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation
Account number - 6251 855 4101
Branch Code - 250-655

As always, we will show you exactly how and where your loving donations are used.

#WHWF   #EthicalConservation  #Life4Lions"


Through BackaBuddy you can easily donate to our Project #Life4Lions to help #WHWF rescue and re-home lions. Payment methods for the BackaBuddy platform include Credit and certain Debit Cards, PayPal and Instant EFT.

"The Future of Wildlife is in our Hands"

©Paul Oxton (WHWF)

Hatari's Vasectomy

©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

Rafiki's Vasectomy

©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

©Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation

"The Future of Wildlife is in our Hands"

We rely completely on the kind support from the public

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Wildlife Center


Since inception, it has always been the dream of Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation to open its own Wildlife Clinic and Rehabilitation Center, and be so much more than a Support Organization. But dreams like that come with a heavy price tag, and not one that we could even remotely afford.


Over the past 8 years, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation has helped thousands of animals, and supported tens of ethical rehabilitation organizations with whatever they may require in order to help save wildlife. From equipping clinics, to driving thousands of kilometers to save a single animal, from doing lion vasectomies in the back of our field truck, Scooby, to catching crickets for illegally traded rescued chameleons, to educating thousands of people on the perils Wildlife face. We have done it all, and so much more that we never mention, and will continue to do, for as long as we are able to. Proudly, #DoingWhatWeSay & #ShowingWhatWeDo. You can see more of what we've done, by clicking here.


Recently, we have taken up the opportunity of a lifetime! WHWF is now situated on the most beautiful farm out in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Here we are free to pursue the dream to build our own WHWF Wildlife Clinic and Rehabilitation Center, while still carrying on our work across South Africa, assisting other Organizations and Individuals with supplies and rescuing, relocating and helping animals in any way we possibly can.

All we want to do at WHWF, is help Wildlife, as best we can.

On the farm there is a lot of work to be done - and the funding that would need to be raised to turn this dream into a reality, is substantial, but we remain positive!

The main building is old and needs a lot of repairs, but most importantly, it has a massive room which we would like to develop into the Wildlife Clinic. This room has its own separate entrance and bathroom, which needs to be repaired and upgraded. We would need to add a sterile wash station inside the clinic. There is a sunken area perfect for teaching veterinary students and volunteers hands-on.

Our aim with this entire development is to provide a practical facility for serving the surrounding community with wildlife challenges,  being able to immediately stabilize wild animals in need, deal with wildlife emergencies, and allowing any Veterinarian in need of an equipped clinic to utilize the space.

An additional existing hall could easily be upgraded to into a comfortable training facility.

We would offer these facilities as a training site for various wildlife related issues, such as snake handling, rehabilitation courses and educational programs for youth groups.

The main building also has ample space in the form of a flatlet with its own bathroom that can be developed for volunteer housing. There is a big rondavel which is being used as storage for our equipment at the moment.

For the Rehabilitation part of the Center, we have adequate space to expand and build enclosures, and are currently consulting with LEDET in order to make sure that our developments comply with Nature Conservation’s legal requirements, for the benefit of the Wildlife. There is a large concrete slab, perfect for moveable cages/fixed  enclosures to house temporary rescues before being transferred to speciality rehabilitation facilities, or if within our permit parameters, to be rehabilitated on site.

Unfortunately, the previous caretakers neglected to maintain the beautiful property, and there are substantial repairs & upgrading needed. Work in the form of labour is not the problem, but the development and repair of the infrastructure is what will cost the most.

And to make this dream a reality, we'll need your help to raise the funds.

There is a borehole supplying adequate water, but it is very hard water, and we are looking into water softening systems to benefit not only future patients, but also reduce the wear and tear on existing pipes and infrastructure.

As with any rural area in South Africa, security is of great concern, so we would need to upgrade monitoring, fence security and load-shedding proof security lighting. A radio base station and mobile units would ensure that we are always able to communicate.

We have excellent satellite-based wi-fi, but could use a monthly sponsor to cover those costs for us.

What are we waiting for, you may think?

This really is a dream come true, and now we need to build on it. That needs money.  You can help build this Wildlife Clinic and Rehabilitation Center by making a donation, no matter how small. Donate by visiting this page ----> Build the Wild Dream.

Once our BackaBuddy Fundraiser is up, you can donate by clicking here.

We will be uploading our wish list soon. You will find it here, when done ----> Wishlist

In the meantime, if there are any Corporate Sponsors looking to invest in a very worthwhile tax write-off - this is your chance! Please Contact Us if you would like to get involved, or need more information.

WHWF is a registered NPO and PBO, which means that donations from South African tax payers and corporates may qualify for Tax Certificates, taking some sting out of the tax man’s assessment.

Meanwhile we'll keep on working actively on our Big, Wild Plans, with our Passionate Wild Hearts.

To be Continued....

Paul & Carina (CJ)

WHWF - Proposed Clinic & Rehab Facility

Clinic Main Entrance

Proposed Clinic


Existing Concrete Slab for Cages and Holding Enclosures - Clean-up in Progress


Concrete Slab for Temporary Holding or Rehab Enclosures


“A simple act of kindness and compassion towards a single animal may not mean anything to all creatures, but will mean everything to one.”
- Paul Oxton (Founder/Director WHWF)

"The Future of Wildlife is in our Hands"

We rely completely on the kind support from the public

Please Share this Article, Page or Post here


Mission Statement

"Registered Non-Profit Organization 147-339 NPO.

Public Beneficiary Organization Number 930051372.

‘The Future of Wildlife is in Our Hands’

Located in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is a small Non-Profit Organization (registered with the Department of Social Development), doing all we can to make a big impact. We live for helping the wildlife most at risk. We love working hands-on with the animals, and we do our utmost to help every animal we possibly can.

Our Mission is #EthicalConservation, and this means:

  • Making the best possible decision for the Wildlife most at Risk;
  • Ensuring that required aid reaches the wildlife directly, making a practical difference in the lives of the Wildlife we deal with.
  • We are committed to this principle, and continue to work with diverse species such as Rhinos, Lions, Elephants, Wild Dogs, Leopards, Vultures and the lesser known Jackals, Porcupines, Bushbabies, Hedgehogs and Primates of all types.

We provide whatever is needed to save lives or improve living conditions of wildlife: infrastructure, consumables, medicines, capital items, food - even relocation services for Wildlife needing better environments. We always endeavour to leave an animal in a better state or place than where we found it. The welfare of wildlife is our main concern, and we will do whatever it takes and whatever is possible to help – sometimes even having achieved the impossible!

As a Support Organization, we work in collaboration with several Ethical Sanctuaries and Rehabilitation Centres, to ensure that they have the resources to focus on saving animal lives.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation is actively involved in raising awareness and educating the youth to appreciate the value of our rich, but threatened Biodiversity, and to protect our magnificent Wildlife Heritage. We teach that a world with humans living in Harmony with Nature and Wildlife is possible, and should be the ultimate goal for everyone.

Because we have no expensive offices or huge overheads, we are in the unique position to maximize every donor cent. We do all of our own Administration, Fundraising, Bookkeeping, Purchasing, Deliveries and Field Work ourselves. In this way we ensure that loving Donations directly reach the animals without being diluted.

We are a multi-racial, non-political organization committed to taking the actions that best serve our Wildlife Heritage.

Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation would love to see a world where all Wildlife is Safe, Wild and Free – Nature at its very best. And that is up to us.

“Only when the last of the animals horns, tusks, skin and bones have been sold, will mankind realize that money can never buy back our wildlife”

Paul Oxton  (Founder, Director #WHWF)"

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