Bush Warriors Rally for South Africa’s Rhinos!
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Bush Warriors in South Africa are needed to take a stand for rhinos at the April 11th trial of the suspected rhino poaching syndicate led by well-known game farmer, Dawie Groenewald.
Photo credit: Joel Newman
On Monday, September 20th of last year, South African police raided properties across Polokwane, Musina and Modimolle in the Limpopo province and apprehended nine people suspected of heading an organized rhino poaching syndicate. When the names of those arrested were released, the world was shocked to find out that well-known members of the nation’s conservationist community, respected veterinarians, and professional hunters were among them. Within hours, another two people were taken into custody in connection with the previous arrests. Together, the eleven appeared in Musina Magistrate’s court on Wednesday the 22nd—which was, ironically, also World Rhino Day.
Photo via The Witness
With conservationists sitting at the edge of their seats on this day—one dedicated to standing in solidarity for these imperiled pachyderms—the news from the court was crumbling. All eleven suspects were quickly released on bail, with their trial postponed for months and scheduled for April 11th, 2011. The events that followed were even more disheartening. First, we learned that game farmer Dawie Groenewald—believed to be the syndicate leader—had purchased a reported 36 rhinos from South African National Parks, despite having a record in wildlife-related crime. It’s also believed he made these purchases with the help of veterinarian, Karel Toet. Worse yet, further searches of Groenewald’s Pragtig farm yielded the discovery of some 20 hornless rhino carcasses on his property.
Roughly 93% of the world’s white rhino population and 40% of the world’s Critically Endangered black rhino population lives in South Africa now. People from around the planet come to this country just to see its rhinos! The number killed by poachers in 2010 is over double that of 2009, and is over 23 times the number slaughtered in 2007! If we don’t act now, if the government and courts don’t act now, we may as well begin a countdown to extinction for these animals. If the South African government sees that the world is watching their every move in this matter, they will feel pressured to act accordingly.
After poachers claimed the lives of 333 rhinos in this nation alone last year, we want the South African government, courts, and rhinos to know that we will NOT stand idly by while criminals take this icon to extinction. Already the nation has lost 71 rhinos to poachers this year, and the numbers continue to climb! Enough is enough!
Photo via The George Herald
We are asking all Bush Warriors who will be in South Africa on April 11th to make their way to Musina and gather at the Magistrate’s court, carrying signs bearing messages that show our unified stance and demanding that these crimes be taken seriously and handled with strict punishment. You can even bring your sidewalk chalk and write some of the messages on the ground before the courthouse, following our ‘Walking on Wildlife’ campaign. The more people who come to this event, the more powerful the voice for rhinos is. Our goal is to have this call to action be seen on news stations around the world, so that everyone can see we will not stand for these atrocities anymore!
So, use your voice! BE THE VOICE RHINOS DON’T HAVE! Go to Musina on April 11th, stand before the courthouse, shame Dawie Groenewald and his accomplices as they enter, and make as much noise as possible! Gather as many people as you can to attend. You can carpool together if you are coming from afar, in order to be more environmentally-friendly and also to provide a way for those lacking transportation to partake.
Photo credit: Jude Price
The key to this event’s success will be non-violent presence from as many people as possible. The more who come, the more powerful it will be. If you will be traveling in South Africa at this time, make this rally part of your itinerary! We have created a Facebook page (click here) to serve as a forum for communication between those who plan to attend. It can serve as a bulletin for people to connect with each other to arrange rideshares and to make other plans for this event, as well as for release of urgent information. Many important announcements on this rally are soon to follow, as more details on the event emerge. So, keep a close eye on our Facebook pages for updates!
To make your message even louder, we suggest getting yourself one of Saving Rhinos’ “Jail Not Bail” t-shirts to wear to the rally! You can get yours today, by clicking here. International shipping is available and should get to you in time for the rally if you order soon. There are also other merchandise carrying the “Jail Not Bail” slogan, including hats, mugs, sweatshirts, totes, and water bottles. A GREAT fashion statement for this event!
We are arranging for the affair to be filmed, so that the footage can be made available to international media, as well as to millions of people around the world on social networks like YouTube, Facebook, Myspace, Care2, and other popular platforms. There is also a possibility that we will have the event streamed live over the internet for anyone to watch anywhere in the world. This is the perfect opportunity for public outcry to force change, and we hope you will be at the forefront of this revolution by attending!
Photo via Getty Images
Also, the event does not have to be limited to South Africa. This can be a global movement! We invite anyone interested to organize similar gatherings rallies in their own cities or at South African embassies anywhere. Record it on video and send it to us, so we can distribute it worldwide. An action of this nature—that is, a global community coming together to take a stand for the fading rhinos—has never in history been attempted! Be part of a revolution! Together we can save the rhinos! Bush Warriors, we have the power to make the change… LET’S DO THIS!
HELP RAISE AWARENESS! Use these graphics as your profile pic or avatar, or print it it and use it in your car window, house window, door, or wherever!
Click HERE for printable flyers that you can distribute across your town or city to help us promote the rally and strengthen our voice!
This is your chance to actually DO something for rhinos!
Make it clear: SOUTH AFRICA DOES NOT TOLERATE RHINO POACHING, AND NEITHER DOES THE WORLD!
For more information on the behind the scenes work happening for this rally and more, please click here.
Read more about the Groenewald syndicate case here.
NOTE: Bush Warriors will need help organizing this event. If you are located in South Africa and want to be involved in this beyond simply attending, let us know! You can email us at email@example.com or send us a message on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bushwarriors. We need people who can help coordinate rideshares, provide cameras and laptops for documenting the event, and to make concentrated efforts to gather as many people as possible to go to Musina on April 11th. If there is something else that you think you can help us with, please let us know!
Sponsors of the Bush Warriors Rally for South Africa’s Rhinos:
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