Thursday, February 7, 2013

Beyond the sum of all his fears: The Rhino War.



Poached rhino picture courtesy Facebook Rhino groups.


An ageing soldier crying softly, beside a body on the ground
Sheds a tear for his young slain friend
He never thought this would come down.
He'd thrown away all his bush gear, camo paint and forage cap
Spent his life forgetting firefights in dark shadows
Without a thought that he'd go back.


Life has dreams from hard foundations, memories with no shed tears
Struck with the heart ache of our creations
In the invulnerability of our young years
From the vat of our maturation brews a spirit of adventure
That spills towards our next generation
Whom we protect beyond our fears.

The young soldier survived the bush war, threw his life into his dreams
Played a part in the creation
Of an Eden ... or so it seems.
Raised a calf from its lost mum, fed it every day by hand

Grew to love his lost young orphan
Sanctuary for all became the plan.

It is such a sweet temptation for us to simply turn away

To ignore the wildlife decimation
That supplies the Asian trade.
The ineptitude of our nations, the impotence of governments
Sends a message to all caring people
To care a damn is a piece of shit.

Aching heart beside his slain friend, new resolve and a pledge is made

To seek the killers of his now lost brother
The one he'd raised in his sanctuary
But old soldiers know the danger, the blood and all the fears
Never rush to don the camo 
Never want to wear the gear.

Now there's a deeper call of duty, calling way beyond his fears.

He heads along the faint new pathway
Tracking two legged predators
Seeks his quarry in long shadows, where deadly ambushes are laid
Amongst flashing memories of firefights
A last patrol for his young compadre.


Life has dreams from hard foundations, memories of old despairs

Struck with the heart ache of our creations
Amidst the anger and the tears
A deadly shot strikes its target: he never wanted to kill again
But he'll protect his new generation
Beyond the sum of all his fears.


"Slaap sag, rustig ou grote. Slaap sag."
"Rest in peace, old friend. Rest in peace."


Members of the Pilanesberg National Park Anti-Poaching Unit (APU) stand guard as conservationists and police investigate the scene of a rhino poaching incident April 19, 2012. — Reuters pic


The Rhino poaching war escalates. 668 rhino were slaughtered in 2012 in South Africa. This year is off to an equally depressing start: 82 as at 6th February! At this rate, 2013 may see over 930 killed, and that figure is just for South Africa.
This is extermination of a species.

rhinoconservation.orgsouth-africa-57-rhinos-killed-in-31-days/

Many reserve owners, who in their youth may have been involved in the wars for independence in Southern Africa, are now, in what should be today's peace, having to take up arms and fight a new battle, this time with the survival of rhino at stake. 

Dreams to create wildlife sanctuaries on their land are being crushed. Lives are being lost. Rhino being driven to extinction to supply Asian demand for rhino horn.

This war is increasingly high tech with latest weaponry, light aircraft, thermal imaging and night vision equipment used, and now the deployment of drones for aerial surveillance. Inevitably it is the men of the APU, at the forefront of this battle, who ultimately place their lives on the line. They'll spend long hours in the bush, silently tracking poachers, and potentially risking a gun battle.

A comprehensive report about rhino poaching and the anti-poaching units now guarding rhino is here-
malaysianinsider.com african-big-game-poaching-surges


Poached rhino picture courtesy Facebook rhino groups.


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9 comments:

Carole said...

Jim, I find each and everyone of your blogs totally moving - just continue to keep them coming - raising awareness of the plight of our wildlife - thank you

Henriette Roux said...

Hi Jim. Thank you for this touching poem in so much truth. To quote your own words " Will they be there? Will they graze when we gaze in the wild where they should be? " The slaughter of these magnificent souls of the bush is a crime! It is a shame on the human race. Greed the reason for this horrific actions. Chief Seattle said- " If all the beasts were gone, man would die from loneliness of spirit, for what happens to the beasts, happens to the man. " Your talent is amazing Jim !

Jim McIntosh said...

Thanks Carole. When pictures, like the one heading this post, come across my Facebook wall I just know that it is a special photo of a horrible moment, that needs to be conveyed to the rest of the world. One day it may just be the very last one.

Jim McIntosh said...

Thanks Henriette.
"Will they be there? Will they graze when we gaze in the wild where they should be?"
That's the question. So will we find the answer?

Patrick Webb said...

Heartbreaking... Excellent poem.

Jim O'Donnell said...

Ack. Just disgusting.

Nancy Sathre-Vogel said...

Heartbreaking. I just don't understand how the poachers can kill those incredible animals. There is a special place in hell for them.

Lance said...

This is depressing as all hell. So sad. We're planning our trip to South Africa now to see these beautiful animals. So sad...

Tim from Adventure Strong said...

What a disgrace that people are still out there poaching wildlife like that. I remember seeing a nature show about teams of counter-poachers that would go out and shoot or arrest poachers. Maybe South Africa needs those too.

Anyway, touching poem.