Rhino Ambassadors


Rhino Ambassador


Paul Dutton 

“The main theme of this initiative is a “diplomatic purge” to break the demand chain from the poachers right through to those using the horn”

“I’ve just returned from the USA after delivering tributes to Dr Ian Player for his rhino crusade and philanthropist Greg Carr for his restoration project in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, My sponsors were Maggie O’Bryan and  US Wild Foundation CEO Vance Martin .  I also addressed a group of graduates from Shenandoah University who responded enthusiastically to my suggestion that they become Rhino Ambassadors. Taking this further I’ve started designing a certificate for other learning institutions worldwide (including Indochina). To show its authenticity I am approaching a number of NGOs like the GRAA etc for their endorsements.

Rhino are prehistoric giants that lived all over the earth for 100,000’s of years, including in all parts of Africa.  They were once abundant throughout Africa and Asia with an approximated worldwide population of 500 000 in the early twentieth century. South Africa is now home to the largest remaining population of rhinoceroses in the world.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it was estimated that South Africa had 20,711 rhino in 2010. To date, 5000 rhino have been lost to poaching. These are extremely sobering, frightening statistics; three rhino are now being killed per day, and if the killing continues at this rate we could see rhino deaths overtaking births in 2016-2018, meaning rhinos could go extinct in the very near future.

Rhino poaching is predominantly driven by the illegal trade in rhino horn to satisfy the growing demand in Vietnam and China.

To stop the current plunder of our natural heritage game rangers are working night and day in South Africa in what has become a declaration of war against poachers using sophisticated military weapons. Finding animals bleeding to death after having had their horns hacked off is causing serious physiological strain on the field rangers and poachers becoming more brazen .

NGO fundraisers and conservation organisations, social media sites, and rhino orphanages are also working hard to publicize the plight of the rhino. .Becoming a Rhino Ambassador is about raising awareness and working to educate yourself and other people about the importance of saving rhino. We want to build a greater understanding of the role that everyone can play. We have a deep longing to preserve this keystone species, and everything that supports it’s survival in the natural world. Far too often we separate ourselves from our origins; the original connection to Africa within all of us, and rhinos represent that connection. If we can save a species, then we’re saving ourselves by acknowledging and accepting this deep connection to nature.

Please download your copy and sign to make a commitment to end Rhino Poaching.

Rhino Ambassador

The Big Six


Some of the best days that we’ve had in the game reserves have been when we’ve seen little or no game at all.  One recent morning, in Kruger, we were out early on a fresh sand road after a night of heavy rain.  We found ourselves trawling slowly along, weaving and stopping every few minutes with heads peering down at spoor on the ground, reading the story of the events from the night before.

Lion had walked in the road, probably before the rain as the prints were softened; a herd of zebra had walked across the width of the road for a very long distance, perhaps they feel safer in the open road at night than in the long grass; there had been a bit of a scuffle further on and something ran off, kicking sand backward. We saw where elephant had walked across the road to scratch on a marula tree, leaving a patch of wet mud plastered into the bark, and where they had walked down the road dumping heaps of fresh, marula-filled dung amongst huge round footprints.

The rhino really got us going though.  We hadn’t seen rhino in this section of the park, but we now knew they were definitely there.  There was plenty of new dung on top of well-established middens on both sides of the road, next to easily recognisable rhino ‘highways’; the well-worn paths rhino create from travelling through the bush. Very fresh spoor came from paths onto the road, and then circled back into the grass. Deep, muddied territorial scrapings alongside some footprints told us that one or two large males were going about their business – spraying and scraping – most likely very early that morning, and they were probably still close by. We didn’t see them anywhere; had we been driving quickly looking for rhino we might have missed all these clues. We covered only 3km and took dozens of photos in about an hour, saw no animals at all, but it was a lesson in bush school; no matter what the conditions, there’s always something to see if you take the time to look. Or listen.

At the end of another day, our neighbour in camp came back looking dusty and exhausted. We asked if he had had any good sightings and he said, “I come for the birds, anything else is a bonus.” The next morning it was overcast and grey. Terrible light for photography and not very inspiring scenery either. So we picked a road we’d never been on before (easy in Kruger Park) that happened to be near a river, with no expectations of what we might see. The bird life was fantastic; you wouldn’t have gotten a single good bird photo that day (our neighbour was still in camp when we left), but to drive with windows open listening to the chorus of birds, seeing them crisscrossing in all directions, scooping insects in the road and with something perched on every dead tree was pure entertainment.

So Kruger lived up to our expectations during three short days when we saw the Big 5, and used our sixth sense to experience just about everything else we could have hoped for – including giraffe in a torrent of rain that made one of the best photos of the trip. Anyone can have a great bush trip if you keep your eyes, ears and imagination wide open to whatever crosses your path.