There has been a dramatic increase in “Save the Rhino” activities and programmes – very few of them actually aimed at saving the rhino. Instead, many of these so-called programmes are aimed at saving someone’s bank balance to the detriment of our dwindling rhino population.
Lately, numerous gadgets have made their appearance in the market aimed at evoking an emotional response to the majestic rhino. These vary from key-rings to place-maps to plastic bumper rhino horns. All proclaim to be aimed exclusively at generating money to contribute towards saving the rhino.
Maybe some of them are – but many, if not most, are definitely not.
At last count, there were 500 plus such schemes being driven to save our wildlife heritage. (This figure was given to me by a senior SARS investigator).
Then, we have witnessed so-called Special Forces from foreign countries coming here to tell us what to do. Whereas they might be honourable in their intentions, just who are they to come here and act as though they are specialists in saving rhinos? What is their track record in saving rhinos and can they prove it? What would their reaction be if we travelled to their countries and tried to tell them how to save an endangered species? But, I suppose, TV programmes pay well even when there are no positive results.
Even more disturbing to me is a new venture that claims to be tied to my name.
Let me begin by saying that I am not – and have never been – associated in any manner or form with “Save the rhino” programmes, simply because they are not what they appear to be. In fact, I view the vast majority of these schemes with a very jaundiced eye.
I made my feelings known with regard to rhino poaching some time ago. I believe that we should hunt the rhino poachers and give them what they intend giving the rhinos – a taste of lead. We must do this with aggression and ruthlessness and show them no mercy at all. But, my feelings on this matter are considered to be politically incorrect in addition to giving no consideration to the human rights of the poachers.
People who go about collecting money for so-called anti-rhino poaching initiatives but who have no intention of passing those funds to an authorised programme to stop the poaching fall into the category of not only “conman” but “organised crime” – as I believe their actions are both criminal and organised.
Over the past years, I have bumped into or heard of many people who have claimed to represent me in numerous dodgy schemes; some claimed they are very closely associated with me, others claimed they are “secretly” working with me and some have even claimed to be me.
Enter someone who will be known by his initials – KB.
On 20 August 2013, I received an email from an ex-EO employee. In this email he asked the question: “…your name has come up with someone that is collecting money for the rhino cause. As many people do this falsely both use your name for things you have nothing to do with and others collect money the rhino causes never see.
This man claims he is heading up an intel network on poaching and I am told he says you are the head honcho. His name is K….. B…….”.
I have heard of KB but have never met him, have never agreed to support him in any manner or form and have never, until this morning, spoken to him. I take extreme exception to my name being used for a cause I deeply believe in but in which I am not involved in any manner whatsoever.
(I am currently utilising every source at my disposal to dig deeper into this matter. I contacted KB by phone this morning (31 August 2013) and he denied this claim – but then, so does everyone else I have confronted over the years. I have already reported this con to the relevant law enforcement authorities).
To those out there using the rhino as a money-making exercise, you will be exposed - sooner or later. As wildlife crimes are, according to media reports, the 3rd or 4th most serious criminal activity in the world, those who engage in money collections using the rhino as their cover are part of this criminal endeavour.
To unsuspecting people out there, be careful of people claiming to represent me. Question their intentions and dig deeper than that you are simply told - don’t just part with your money. If you have any doubts, report them.
If my name is tied to these schemes and thrown around by these cash-collectors, please let me know and I shall take very decisive action against them.