The Rhino Crisis: poaching and mining threatens Africa’s most ce

Sicelo Mbacha, 35, is a game guard and park ranger in Imfolozi/Hluhlue National Park. “Wilderness is in your heart,” he says, after showing a recent Rhino track. “Here we nourish people’s souls when they walk with me in the wilderness” The place the mine is supposed to go is right where the famous walking trails of the park are. In South Africa the rhino was brought back from the brink of extinction in the latter half of the 20th century through the efforts of Dr. Ian Players and many others working at Hluhlui/Imfolozi National Park. From the park’s original 432 rhino in 1953, there are now around 16,000 White Rhino in the wild today. Now the rhino is disappearing once again due to a huge upsurge in poaching, but the threats also come from the energy sector, which is planning a large new coal mine on the park’s boundary that many conservationists feel could be a serious blow to the ongoing efforts to conserve this disappearing species.

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