A war is on in the South African bush for what is on the nose of one of the Big 5 — the horn of the rhino.
After losing more than a thousand rhinos to poachers in the last three-and-a-half years, South Africa has brought in Johan Jooste to fight what the former Major General calls “a full-blown war involving close-combat guerrilla tactics and fights to the death.”
Well-armed, well-funded, well-equipped, and well-informed, rhino poachers have turned South Africa’s Kruger National Park and game reserves into rhino killing fields. With the horn fetching thousands of dollars in East Asian markets, the stakes are very high and poachers utterly ruthless.
As Reynold Ray Thakhuli, General Manager, Media, Events and Stakeholder Relations, South Africa National Parks, repeatedly says: “We are fighting a low-level guerrilla war with a sophisticated enemy who is better armed, uses GPS and insider information to get the horns.” He is pained at the ruthlessness of the poachers who often leave the animal severely maimed. “To see the giant lying in the bush, horribly mutilated is heart rending,” he says....