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Unsung Heroes

Green scorpions on a plane…

Isn’t it sad that the newspapers of today are largely filled with negative news and it’s often difficult to find a ‘good news’ story amongst the doom and gloom?
Well, I’d like to share some good news about my involvement in assisting our police (Green Scorpions) this week.

Through various organisations that we assist, I have been privileged to meet some amazing and truly inspiring people! On Wednesday morning whilst chatting with staff, I received a phone call from the Zululand Anti-Poaching Unit who were in Durban for training (no, not shooting tin cans!). They needed to get back to Zululand urgently as they had received a tip-off about an incident that was about to ‘go down’ involving some nasty chaps that they were desperate to catch.

I’m a pilot (check). With access to a plane (check). Of course I can assist! My staff had overheard my conversation and immediately responded “Go! We will always be here but the Rhinos might not be here tomorrow.”

Action time! Immediately my heart rate picked up and my mouth started to dry out. I got onto the phone to start getting the wheels in motion. What are our weights, how much fuel will we need, what’s the weather doing, etc? The weight question was soon solved when I asked the chaps how heavy they were. The response was that one of the chaps’ nick name is “Buffalo Bill!” No, we are not small people! On route to the airport I received a call to ‘stand down’. Bugger!
I dragged myself back to the office.

2pm. My phone rings again. We are on! Intel is good that an incident is about to go down. “Can we go? Hell yeah!” Quick scramble to collect everything (always take spare underwear as you never know when you will return home) – Bad past experience! We meet up at the airport and discuss what and who could come with us.

These amazing men stood proud and just wanted to get back to the bush to protect our beloved rhino. An hour later we were on the ground at the Zululand Anti-Poaching base and everyone bailed out of the plane (Buffalo Bill was a little slow getting out) and with a cloud of dust they were off to do their job.

At 1am I received a message that they had caught two suspects and that no rhino had been killed. The only bummer was that they weren’t able to catch the King Pin (next time!).

We met at 5am to head back to Durban as the Green Policemen were keen to get back to complete their anti-poaching training course. They had been up all night dealing with criminals yet still had total passion and commitment!

The flight home was very interesting and I learnt a lot about crime and poaching. These amazing men have a job that I would not wish on my worst enemy but they do what they do because they want to make a difference and an impact on our environment. They reminded me that rhino poaching is only a small part of wildlife-related crime. Leopards, wild dogs, elephant and various plant species are under attack. These are things that if lost will quite simply be a massive failure of mankind. They shed some light as to why they have to fight rhino poaching at every angle. The poachers drive stolen cars, use stolen guns and as you move up the chain, you get drug syndicates that move the horn. So incredibly sad!

I think it is important for us to all be aware that there are men and women out there that wake up every day and put their lives at risk to try and make a change. It is amazing to see their commitment and passion first hand.

Stop and think about your own life – do you really have something to complain about?

And more importantly: What difference are you going to make?

Huge respect to the Anti-Poaching team. You deserve better recognition.

Important Notice

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