11 July 2018 Read: 79
An event that came and went – that was the all-night piano recital as vigil commemorating conservation legend, Louise Joubert, and in aid of SanWild, the wildlife sanctuary she served unwaveringly during her life-time. The event followed her untimely death about two months ago.
A total of R9000-00 was handed over to Mr Andre Joubert, her husband and fellow-fighter for the rights and safety of the vulnerable, endangered, injured and traumatized in the wild. This was a culminated amount including donations from diners in Fairview Hotel’s Le Thaba Restaurant on Thursday night, 21 June, funds raised by SPCA’s Ms Tracey van den Dool, plus donations received by Bobbi Gerber, and her volunteer right hand, Ms Brylene Pretorius, who broadcasts on GTFM, local radio station of the Greater Tzaneen area.
What unfortunately hasn’t come and gone is the poaching of our natural inheritance. Tragically, the very weekend after the fund-raising event, on a game drive during our visit to SanWild, we came upon the carcasses of two of their rhinos – one the mother of the calf born on the day Louise passed away, who was subsequently named after her. The other poached rhino was little Louise’s older brother, a calf recently weaned.
Everyone was happy and hopeful as little Louise’s tracks were found around the carcasses, which proved her survival. With the rescue effort, where a helicopter, a forensic team, the local vet and other interested and significant parties were involved, Louise was found and darted. Sadly, she didn’t survive, due to dehydration and the severe stress surrounding the poaching of her family. SanWild lost an entire family of rhinos in one foul swoop.
It is not going to help to ask rhetorical questions such as Where will this end? What will help is to double the efforts that are made to protect and conserve our precious wildlife heritage. There are those to whom it means nothing – seeing only selfish and greedy use and abuse of the animals to fill their pockets. There need to be harsher and more impactful steps taken against them and apprehended perpetrators need to be made examples of; conveying a clear message to any prospective poachers: don’t, or face dire consequences…
“It was interesting – and very revealing – to go out into the community and business world and seek love-gifts to help SanWild in their plight – which is not a personal, but rather a universal one, because the loss of one species, such as the iconic rhino, is a loss of immeasurable dimensions”, said Gerber. Those who couldn’t see it fit to donate only the requested R200 must be seriously, and dangerously, uninformed and/or disinterested.
“On this note: a deep and heartfelt thanks to all those who put their hands into their pockets, some deeper than others, to assist the cause. The businesses in town, the visitors to the restaurant on the night – all trusting and henceforth trusted care-givers in their own right: to all, THANK YOU, from us, who want to add our humble efforts to the seemingly impossible task of protecting our endangered wildlife. No matter how small a gift or an effort, I firmly believe every single one makes a difference towards a positive outcome.
May we all feel the weight of that first command of the Creator, not only to Adam but all his descendants: rule over and care for creation, not in a self-serving way. May we rise to every occasion calling for assistance.”