Southern Africa: Grateful to be Sharing our Planet with Rhinos and Sharks


Borakalalo Rhinos
Borakalalo Rhinos

Having been brought up as a city girl it wasn’t until my late 20’s when I discovered a hidden part of myself, that part that yearned for the reconnection to my ancestral wildness. My then new, Zimbabwean born, boyfriend introduced me to Fothergill Island, a Game Lodge on the edge of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. This experience turned my idea of a holiday on its head. Never again would lying on the beach prove to be quite as satisfying.

Few experiences measures up to the sound of an elephant’s deep rumble; the roar of the male lion sitting on his pride rock; the sight of the busy dung beetle rolling his huge load; or the grace of the impala bounding across the grassy plain. The gathering of herbivores, alongside carnivores, warily putting aside their differences whilst sharing a drink at a waterhole under the setting African sun is as it should be. Adventure is in the discovery of recent animal activity such as a steaming midden, the rhino’s communal toilet, or some fresh spoor providing invaluable information on the animals passing through. This wildness awakens distant memories of those hunter gatherer days, when homosapiens lived harmoniously alongside earths other inhabitants.

On a recent trip to the Borakalalo Nature Reserve, in the North West province of South Africa, we settled alongside a water hole observing two adult White Rhino and their infant. We watched them lumber along, taking in refreshment from the water, grazing along the way – the youngster suckling occasionally from his mother. Shortly after our trip we heard that these rhino had been poached. Their life extinguished just for their horns. The horns are sold into Asia for medicinal purposes and in Yemen for coming of age dagger handles. The medicinal uses are varied and the results unproven. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same as our hair and nails. It has been suggested that the customers hoping for healing, from rhino horn medicine, would be just as well off chewing their own nails. Yet these amazing animals are losing their lives to feed this nonsensical obsession.

When did humans evolve into this invasive alien species? When did we lose our connection to our planet and start down this path of destruction? Is there hope for our fellow earthly inhabitants or are we going to eradicate one species after the other until there are none left on earth?

Perhaps it’s the optimist in me – yet I believe we can, and are, making a difference. I am grateful that many of us have awoken from this dark path still journeyed along by many modern age humans. I am grateful to be part of this growing collection of people who do not believe the killing of millions of sharks a year for their fins, to make fin soup, is necessary. Yet most of all I am grateful that I still get to share our planet with the Rhinos and Sharks. I am particularly grateful that whilst they continue to escape extinction, there is the hope that they will be around cohabitating with humans thousands of years from now.

About the AuthorClaire Madgwick is a wacky 40 something homeschooling Mom of two children, one husband & two Labradoodles. Lives in the big smoke but has yearnings of one day moving to the country and becoming self sufficient. I write mainly about homeschooling, travelling & Labradoodles – my 3 passions. Follow Claire on Google+

Claire Madgwick

Homeschooling, adventure seeking, Mom - writing whenever I find the time. I write about homeschooling, travelling and Labradoodles - my three passions in life. Oh yes .... I am also writing a book! I love sharing adventures with my family, having recently returned from a dream trip - swimming with dolphins in Mozambique. I've survived white water rafting down the Colorado and hiking out of the Grand Canyon, and was crazy enough to canoe down the Zambezi river negotiating crocodiles and hippos. On a game drive in Zimbabwe a concerned elephant charged us when our game vehicle unintentionally separated her from her baby. Please don't think that I only enjoy life threatening experiences! My more sedate highlights included snorkelling in amongst the colourful tropical fish in Lake Malawi and sipping a G&T overlooking the ancient Magaliesburg mountain range in South Africa. My favourite cities are Bruges and Cape Town. Currently living in the big smoke with longings to move to the country and becoming self sufficient. In anticipation of this dream I'm growing avocado trees, a lemon tree and a pecan nut tree in pots.

3 responses to “Southern Africa: Grateful to be Sharing our Planet with Rhinos and Sharks

  1. I think it’s easy for people poach (and other abhorrent behaviors) when they don’t see the direct impact of their behavior. Or perhaps they become desensitized after doing it for so long. Or maybe it’s because of poverty – if there are more positive, less harmful ways to make money, poaching would disappear. I wish there was an easy answer but agree with you that there is more good than bad in the world. I also think that while we’re destroying the planet, we also have the intelligence and capability to solve the problems we’ve created….hopefully.

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