Mark Knopfler, whose new album Privateering was recently released in the U.K., is involved in the saving of African rhinoceros whose horns have become a highly prized item on the black market.
The poaching of these majestic animals have made their number dwindle to a crisis level in Africa because of the horn’s use in Chinese medicine and for knife handles.
Knopfler posted an impassioned plea on his website Saturday asking for help in saving the rhino.
I’ll never forget the day my father came home from work to tell us that one of his colleagues, a supposedly educated man, had said: ‘What do I care if the rhino becomes extinct?”
I was a young teenager then and today this is a very real danger. Due to man’s greed we may well lose these amazing animals forever.
Last year I was lucky enough to visit the Waterberg area in South Africa and to meet a man there named Anthony Baber, who has dedicated his life to preserving rhino.
A kilogram of rhino horn is now worth $75,000 on the street in the East. Last year 463 rhino were poached in South Africa and this year over 340 so far. Recently our friends lost a beautiful rhino cow to poachers. She was the only one who did not have a guard with her. Fortunately the 22 month old calf survived and he is old enough to be weaned. I hate to show these horrific pictures but it is the stark reality we are facing.
Ant’s wife Tessa told me: It seems in the future we are going to have to do what they do in Kenya and have armed anti-poaching guys with each animal or if we can eventually raise sufficient funds put in a military type radar system which are now available which would detect any person coming across fences or on the property. The success of this sort of system is that it then allows one to actually catch them before they do the deed. It would also possibly allow us to take on other owners’ rhinos in order to protect them. Anyway we are enormously grateful if you can just put it on your website to allow us to create more awareness of this disaster.
If anyone out there would like to help with preserving rhino on a grass roots level, please get in touch with [email protected]