How To Protect Over 300 Rhinos: One Man’s Mission at Rockwood

December 10, 2019 posted by

I can remember a time at Rockwood when I was still farming with cattle and sheep and
goats where I sat outside at night and you know looking at the Stars hearing the sheep and the goats and you know thinking this could have been so much better if we had wild animals here again that’s that’s where the the wild life or reintroducing wild life here has started I was always drawn to say exotic animals like Rhino I didn’t grow up in an area where Rhino was natural or what I perceived to be natural they were hunted to extinction in that part of the world 100 years ago my name is Wicus Diedericks I grew up on a farm in the Northern Cape South Africa [Music] my first memory of the great outdoors or nature is basically on the farm at night hearing the Jackals far in the distance I reckon that’s where my passion for for nature started in 2013 when I bought this land I decided
to do something different it was always this romantic beast that I never saw I think only about a month before I got the first Rhino translocated here I actually saw the first live Rhino and it was unbelievable you know that that first encounter the feelings it sort of provoked inside of me and since then I fell in love with the animals and now it’s I reckon it’s my greatest passion so here at Rockwood our primary focus is conservation and the general well-being of our animals it takes quite a lot of effort to protect them we have a call it aggressive strategy to keep them maybe in smaller areas where we can protect them better where we can intensify our efforts but not only that we feel very strongly about education and and also about research it’s it’s very important that we that we learn about the species it’s such an iconic species but yet there’s so little literature especially when it comes to keeping them in more intensive operations like we’re doing here in July of 2014 my whole life changed the first Rhino was poached here at Rockwood and it was a very very emotional experience it was the first Rhino poached in the whole of the Northern Cape province and you know standing next to that animal after you know embracing that animal caring for it and to see you know how it was butchered really touched me and you know it just made me realize that that if I don’t start making a difference and you know not just by talking but really making a difference really changing what is happening at the moment we’re not going to win this fight [Music] training is very important not one of the ranges comes from a military or a traditional nature conservation background it’s all they were all unemployed people from the vicinity that we trained so they there’s a lot of effort went into that but we also get a lot of return from that because they’re absolutely passionate about what they’re doing and Rockwood has become their family and I think that’s going to be our success in total there’s about 50 people working here full-time you know you can imagine just feeding everybody taking care of all the workers here takes quite some effort and then the routine tasks we are a semi desert area and in the past a couple of years we had far below our normal rainfall and then we have to feed our animals to get them to survive so our tagline at Rockwood is live for a change and it’s obviously because we want to make a change in the world we live in but also to live for a change and to enjoy what we’re doing and to feel good about what you’re doing and to leave something behind of what you can be proud of when you get so close to Rhino and you you look in their eyes you see a certain vulnerability I don’t know they almost look sad to me in a sense you know it’s it’s these big majestic animals almost with sorrow in their hearts and it’s it’s unbelievable how you could actually see that in their eyes that’s the irony about Rhino they’re such big majestic animals but yet they’re so vulnerable they’ve been around for longer that then humans have been around and yet if we don’t act in our lifetimes they will be extinct Rhino is almost a metaphor for for what’s happening on earth if we don’t get this right there is going to be a lot of other things with much worse consequences that we’re also not going to get right we need to see the social aspect in conservation conservation cannot happen without social upliftment and I’d always say integration with humans in South Africa we’ve got a very successful
model because we can own wildlife and therefore wildlife has a valley if we achieve what we set out to achieve and grow our numbers of Rhino we will have the nice dilemma of having to relocate them to new areas and it will be wonderful to move Rhino into areas where they’ve gone extinct and wouldn’t it be nice not to save the Rhino


3 Replies to “How To Protect Over 300 Rhinos: One Man’s Mission at Rockwood”

  1. Wild Unichickenasaurus says:

    Hi, I’m a young female student in Australia and I’ve recently stumbled upon your project. The message and the effort that rockwood gives is phenomenal, and I am in awe at the passion you have for such beautiful creatures.
    Thank you for doing the things you do.
    I hope that once I’m older I can join rockwood on the field, because I would do anything it takes to help.

  2. KpopNiDontStop says:

    how does this channel only have under 50 subscirbers?…………

  3. Nancy Gysin says:

    Thank you to the team at Rockwood for all you do and your compassion

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