August 15 2012 at 03:30pm
By Brendan Seery
This year, even the optimists are forecasting we could lose more than 500 of these unique animals. Picture: Ian Landsberg
Cape Town - More than 20 years after the last shots were fired in southern Africa’s bush wars of liberation, there was a strong sense of déjà vu in and around Mokhohlolo camp in the south-eastern corner of Kruger National Park this week.
Camouflaged uniforms, automatic assault rifles, radios, light-intensifying night sights, GPS receivers… and, chillingly, a medical “trauma pack”. Talk of “covert insertion”, deployment of a “rapid reaction unit” by choppers, tracking, follow-up operations, intelligence…
In one of the world’s last great wilderness areas, there’s a new counter-insurgency war being waged… and there’s the same bloody body count. The communiqués now are about the softest of soft targets – black and white rhinos.
This year, even the optimists are forecasting we could lose more than 500 of these unique animals.
Yet, here in the dusty, sweltering Lowveld bush which is the frontline of the battle, the men and women fighting this fight for us, for all South Africans, are not about to throw in the towel...they are taking the fight to the enemy – and risking their lives in the process.