By I. Bales-Smith
In the internationally acknowledged book The Last Rhinos, Lawrence Anthony, with Graham Spence, pays tribute “to the courage of Ian Player, Nick Steel, Kes and Frazer Hamilton Smith and those other brave men and women who spent their lives trying to protect and save one of the most magnificent creatures to have graced this earth: the rhinoceros”.
Referring to the protection of the rhino from extinction, the closing page of the book says: “The true cost will be the soul of the planet if we do not succeed.”
Approximately 50 to 60 years ago the few rhino that remained in southern Africa were saved from extinction in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Parks by the incredible efforts of Player and his colleagues.
These efforts received acclaim worldwide. The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi rhino populations were the nucleus of future rhino herds throughout southern Africa and elsewhere. (This is what is referred to in the first paragraph above.)
In October 2001 Nelson Mandela and the visionary Anton Rupert opened a stretch of fencing between the Kruger National Park and the Banhine Park in Mozambique.
This area, linked to Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park, marked the formation of the world’s greatest animal sanctuary.
To mark this occasion a herd of 25 elephant were handed over to Mozambique by Nelson Mandela. More than 5 000 wild animals were translocated from the Kruger into Mozambique and about 50km of game fencing separating the Kruger from Mozambique were removed. More....