It’s a strange title for a book, but one that needed little thought.
My good friend Sarah and her husband, Chris, fondly referred to as “the hubster”, gave me an original piece of music and lyrics with which to promote my most recent book “Elephants Are People Too”.
The song was titled “One Chance”.
The lyrics were amazing, the music captivating and catchy.
When I was asked to be the guest speaker at an event to raise awareness of the rhino poaching situation here in South Africa, I wanted to make a statement of my own by wearing a unique tee-shirt to differentiate me from the other rhino supporters.
Consequently, I designed a tee-shirt with a silhouette of a rhino, the words “One Chance” below it.
It raised a lot of interest and led to a lot of questions which were gladly answered.
Shortly after that event another invitation was offered and accepted, this time in support of the fight against canned lion hunting.
The silhouette was changed to one of a lion, and another “One Chance” tee-shirt was born, again leading to a great deal of interest.
“One Chance” became my catch-phrase, being presented on an elephant shirt and one for pangolins.
But why “One Chance”?
Because it’s all we’ve got.
We, as human beings who care about our heritage, literally only have one chance to save our dwindling wildlife population and ensure that the various endangered species will still be available, in the wild, for our children’s children to visit and enjoy.
Apathy is the biggest enemy in the fight against the eradication of our wildlife heritage, not only here in South Africa, but throughout the entire continent and the rest of the world.
It’s a well-known fact that governments are right in there with the poaching syndicates, making obscene amounts of money, and therefore extremely reluctant to bring this terrible scourge to an end. They could if they wanted to, but they don’t.
We, as concerned citizens of one of the most amazing countries on the planet, have to be more active.
We need to educate the youngsters who will be taking over, but even that strategy, noble as it is, maybe already be too late.
Corruption in high places needs to be eradicated.
Awareness must be generated on a massive scale.
Respected and popular public figures must stop hiding behind platitudes designed to make them look good and actually do something. Stop hiding behind armies of agents and secretaries and get off your gold-plated butts and join the war to save our dwindling wildlife.
There are too many ‘charities’ purporting to be in existence to fund wildlife protection, but most of these are simply to fleece the well-meaning public, and refuse to divulge what happens to the enormous amounts of money raised.
Eastern traditional medical practitioners all state with considerable conviction that exotic animal parts are capable of healing a multitude of medical conditions. Not one of them has been proven to work. In fact, it is a scientific fact that no animal product has ever been proved to be beneficial at all. Herbal medicine, on the other hand, does work. With many modern drugs and remedies having their foundation in plant-derived medication.
Education must therefore start with the end-users. They must be convinced of the truth behind their fanatical belief that animal bits will help them.
Until that becomes effective, though, we must do everything in our power to protect the animals we share this country with.
Instead of giving money to charities that do nothing, find an organisation that actually helps. They will not be registered as charities, but as NGO businesses, will regularly provide statements that show the financial disbursements made, and to whom, and will always be totally transparent in their work.
Rangers need military training, require sophisticated tools and equipment to combat poachers who already have extremely high technology equipment, and must be given total support from their management teams to do whatever it takes to stop the poachers before animals are harmed.
We need to consolidate our efforts.
Shout loudly and often.
Become a thorn in the side of bureaucrats who are comfortable in their fancy cars and in their plush offices, totally ignorant of life in the bush.
Make them realise that we will not stand by while our country is raped by greedy and uncaring officials.
Make waves. Generate as much publicity about wrong-doings in high places as you possibly can.
This scourge of our beautiful country and all that resides within it must stop.
We only have one chance. Let’s take it.
Don Clarke on Hunting jbwye on Global March for Elephants and… jbwye on How To Help The Rhinos … jbwye on How To Help The Rhinos … Rob Fleming on Leopard Attack