A Poacher’s Attack Through The Eyes Of Rhino Calf Ntombi

As the number of rhinos killed by poachers keep rising and more traumatized orphaned calves are in need of care, Kirsten Everett, a volunteer at Nikela, takes us on a touching journey as she looks at the horrors of a poacher attack though the eyes of a young Rhino calf called Ntombi.

Vet Karen Trendler With Ntombi

“My mother and I were contently filling our hungry stomachs when we heard a strange noise. I carried on eating but she smelt the air for unknown scents. I saw the terrified look in her eye before she managed to control it; the unnatural smell meant something. A few minutes later we heard the ‘whop, whop’ of a metal monster flying closer towards us. Just when my mother focussed on it the men crept out of the bushes with a crunch of sticks. Something seemed to hit her and she grunted in surprise. The birds abandoned their posts heading away from the danger. I stood helplessly as she tried to run but ended up falling to the ground. The men surrounded her and tried to chase me away. I ran forward scared enough to not care about the men as they had done something to my mother, I needed her and they must go away.

Out of nowhere one of the big men spun on me and hit me hard with something sharp. Blood oozed from my wound as my mother answered my cry for help with a weak beg, ‘Away, away’. I backed away nursing my wound, how could I get to her?? She grunted again so I didn’t give up. I ran forward again but this time the angry man was merciless, determined to get his message across. As quietly as possible I took the cuts to my poor head trying not to worry my mother even more.

This The Work Of Poachers

Confused I backed away into the bushes calling to her to get up, but the eerie silence dragged on and she didn’t move a muscle. Fear glued me to the floor as I felt my young heart pulsing with anger and fear. A breeze blew, as I waited for the monsters to go so I could go to my poor mommy and find out what was wrong. My heart skipped a beat when I realised this was what my cousin had gone through only a full moon ago. It was terrible, my body couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t think clearly, I felt lightheaded from all my blood loss.

Finally when the monsters left I ran to her side, ‘Mom wake up.’ My voice cracked with emotion but still she didn’t respond. I took a step back and saw the pool of blood. Her horn had been brutally cut off and she lay lifeless. Above me a crow flew over.

I turned to run then I asked myself some important questions… where would I go? I wasn’t old enough to know the way to the dam yet. Who would protect me from predators? The truth was that I wasn’t strong enough to survive by myself yet. Would I be with my mother in the sky sooner than I thought? The last question scared me the most; out in the wild without my mother I might just be able to survive a week.

I heard the snap of a twig, I wasn’t alone. This time I didn’t have the strength to care what these humans wanted with me. I collapsed and slept for a few hours. I was almost completely unconscious though I sensed kindness near me. Too traumatised to do anything I lay as they treated my wounds. The people who tried to comfort me planted a seed of hope. Hope that I could survive and hope that the rest of the human race would come to its senses and help my species and all the others out there”.

Let’s stop the babies’ cries! Let’s save the last rhin0!

Written by Kirsten Everett. Based loosely on the story of “Ntombi” who was rescued by Karen Trendler and her team.

Update (July 31, 2013): This is Ntombi feeling good and playful

NTOMBI

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The Texas Trophy Hunter Whose Wall Of Death Sent Social Media Into Meltdown

As the Internet went into meltdown over the poaching of Cecil the Lion by Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, another man was causing a stir after a photo published in National Geographic went viral at the same time.

Kerry Krottinger, a wealthy Texas hunter and businessman, has slaughtered so much African wildlife over the years that he amassed a veritable “wall of death” in his Dallas-area home. The National Geographic portrait depicts him sitting with his wife among the taxidermied bodies of Lions, Rhinos, Cheetah, Giraffes and enough Elephant tusks to open a traditional Chinese hospital.

The British-based charity LionAID, which uploaded the photo to their Facebook page, took a markedly dim view. “This is just one Texas trophy hunter with a ‘love’ of Africa,” they write. “Is it any wonder that Africa’s wildlife is disappearing? Just have a count of the various species displayed. Three Lions? So many Elephant tusks? A Giraffe? A Rhino? Kerry must be one of the leading conservation hunters on the planet!”

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Kerry and Libby Krottinger in their ‘Wall Of Death’ room

Little is known about Krottinger’s personal life. Aside from being an energy millionaire with multiple companies to his name, he and his wife Libby operate a Gypsy horse farm called Ndugu Ranch. A website about the property had been taken offline, but a cache copy can be viewed here. A Facebook page also associated with the ranch was also taken down. Next to a smiling photo of the pair, Krottinger wrote he named the ranch after the Swahili word for “brother” or “family member,” and that the couple has “a great love for Africa.”

Krottinger’s kingly haul of animal carcasses was acquired through what’s known as “conservation hunting,” a practice that is supposedly designed to protect species by allowing people to hunt animals for a high fee that’s then to be used for other conservation efforts. Palmer, who is now facing indictment in Zimbabwe for poaching, said in a statement that he had trusted his guides and assumed his activities had been legal.

Far from poachers, conservations hunters — and the websites that promote them — see themselves as environmentalists. LionAID’s director Pieter Kat said the whole premise was nonsense.

“Conservation hunting is a complete myth,” he told Mic. “If conservation hunting had been effective, Cecil the Lion would not have to have been poached out of a national park, because conservation hunting would have maintained a viable and sustainable Lion population within their own trophy hunting concession.” According to Kat, steep fees like the more than $50,000 Palmer paid to kill Cecil typically end up in the pockets of tour operators. “Sustainable hunting does not sustain anything,” he said.

PETA president Ingrid Newkirk was blunter still. “The idea of killing animals to ‘protect’ their species is like having 5-year-olds build a child-labor museum,” she said in a statement to Mic. “True conservationists are the people who pay to keep animals alive through highly lucrative eco-tourism, not the power-hungry people who pay for the cheap thrill of taking magnificent animals’ lives and putting their heads on a wall.”

On Twitter, the response was one of almost universal disgust, with the photo generating near Cecil-levels of rage.

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Kat was unapologetic about the Krottinger-shaming on LionAID’s Facebook page. “What we were trying to do there is to alert people to the fact that trophy hunters have this sort of enjoyment of their activity, and what we would like to expose to people is these sorts of people belong in the 19th century,” he said.

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RARE BIRTH OF SUMATRAN RHINO BRINGS HOPE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

A Sumatran Rhino has successfully given birth in an Lampung sanctuary, environment officials said, in a boost for conservation efforts targeting the critically endangered animal.

THE CLAF BORN IN WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK

The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates fewer than 80 Sumatran Rhinos remain in the world, mainly in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

A Rhino named Rosa gave birth to a female calf on Thursday in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, after suffering eight miscarriages since 2005, when she was brought in from the wild for a breeding program.

“The birth of this Sumatran Rhino is such happy news amid the government’s and partners’ efforts to increase the population,” Wiratno, a senior official at Indonesia’s environment ministry, said in a statement Monday. 

The calf, who has yet to be named, brings the number of Sumatran Rhinos in the Way Kambas sanctuary to eight.

Successful births are rare. The calf’s father, named Andatu, was the first Sumatran Rhino born in a sanctuary in more than 120 years.

Standing between 3.3 – 5 feet, Sumatran Rhinos are the smallest of all Rhinoceroses and they have a lifespan of around 35 – 40 years. They were once found across South and Southeast east, from the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Bhutan to eastern India, through Myanmar, Thailand, and  possibly to Vietnam and China. Now, the species is critically endangered, with less than 80 individuals remaining in the wild in small fragmented habitats on the island of Sumatra and nearby Borneo.

MOTHER ROSA WITH HER CALF

In 2017, Rhino conservation experts and the Indonesian government concluded that the only way to save the species was through a captive breeding program. The move was similar to an initiative launched in the 1980s that saw 40 Sumatran rhinos captured for breeding. But in this case, nearly half of the captive animals had died by 1995 and not a single calf had been born.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all Rhino species, as critically endangered.

Multiple threats have brought them to the brink of extinction, including poaching and climate change.

This handout photo released on March 28 and made available on March 29, 2022 shows female rhino named Rosa (l) with her new baby born at the Way Kambas National Park, in Way Kambas, in Lampung province. Rosa delivered a baby rhino on March 24, for the first time after translocating from roaming in villages. A critically endangered Sumatran rhino was born in an Indonesian sanctuary bringing hope to the conservation of the rapidly declining species, an official said. (AFP/Handout)

Rhino horn is often illegally traded for traditional Chinese medicine. 

Indonesia is also racing to save another critically endangered species – the Javan Rhino.

Once numbering in the thousands across Southeast Asia, fewer than 80 are alive today, mainly in a national park on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

Efforts to conserve the species have shown promising results with the birth of five calves in Ujung Kulon National Park last year.

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