Worldwide, black and white rhino populations are under serious threat due to poaching and in South Africa the situation is no different. Rhino poaching continues to be driven by the demand for rhino horn in Asian countries where it is used in traditional Chinese medicine and for ornamental purposes as a symbol of success and wealth.
We at HESC have experienced the cruelty of poaching first-hand. Already in 1994, two beloved rhinos, Ronnie and Lahliwe, were killed by poachers on a neighbouring property. The two rhinos had been hand-reared at HESC and when old enough were released in the reserve. Since 2013 we have treated and rehabilitated 13 rhinos of which ten have been released back into the wild, where we believe they belong.
While it is our passion and privilege to rehabilitate poaching victims, the financial burden is great. Veterinary costs, food, shelter and security require a level of funding that we struggle to provide. Fundraising initiatives, that include the opportunity to foster rhinos and make donations, enable us to continue with our conservation work to help ensure the future of these iconic animals. Funding is also received from the Wildlife Conservation Trust, established by a deed of trust in 2015 to source funding for the conservation, research and education programmes of HESC.