Top Anti-Poaching Cop Gets Railroaded by Superiors?

Always ready and willing to bring you the news from the ground as it's shared with us by those closest and most trusted to the sources - this particular one makes our blood boil.   

"Warrant officer JP van Zyl-Roux is facing an internal disciplinary hearing this week for allegedly failing to hand over a docket to anti-corruption investigators‚ having private firearms at work and bringing the force into disrepute."  Read the full article here

Jamie Joseph and JP work together tirelessly for conservation and wildlife protection.  More recently they've focused on identifying corruption and it seems they've hit a nerve.  THIS kind of persecution is often the result of such work.  When that work encroaches on potentially exposing dishonest individuals holding high ranking positions - they usually go all out to discredit, railroad, fire and eliminate the threat before it dirties their doorstep.  

While JP Van Zyl-Roux deals with the hand he has been dealt and navigates these accusations, our friends Jamie Joseph (SavingTheWild.org) and Elephant Action League have joined forces to back him and bolster this hand.  They will share with us ALL that transpires so we can share it with you, while they fight to clear his name.   We'll bring you more on this as it unravels of course, meanwhile, our collective thoughts are with JP Van Zyl-Roux and his family - he must feel very alone right now.

Exclusive Interview With EcoWarrior, Jamie Joseph

Exclusive Interview With EcoWarrior, Jamie Joseph

Last Thursday was the 1st Annual Fundraiser for Elephant Action League - CoFounded by Over and Above Africa's Advisory Board Member, Andrea Crosta.  Held in conjunction with Jamie Joseph's Save The Wild Foundation where Thomas Mangelsen's hypnotizing photography was auctioned off to a breathtaking $160,000 - all to fight corruption and illegal wildlife trafficking.  It was a huge success.  We were fortunate enough to convince Jamie Joseph to give Over and Above Africa's Kerry David an exclusive interview before she flew back to her native South Africa to fight the terrorists who are slaughtering her beloved rhino.  

Elephant Action League's 1st Fundraiser, Beverly Hills, CA June 1st!

Elephant Action League's 1st Fundraiser, Beverly Hills, CA June 1st!

We're so excited to support our Advisory Board Member, Andrea Crosta and his outstanding team (Gilda and Mark you know who you are!) as they launch their 1st Official Fundraiser for Elephant Action League and Wildleaks at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills tomorrow.  Here are all the details and we'll be there too so come and say hello! 

COCKTAIL RECEPTION and BENEFIT AUCTION

   The Montage

225 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

Reception 6-8:30 pm

Auction 8:00 pm

RSVP

info@elephantleague.org 

Here's a recent report on their findings.

 

We're Co-Hosting A Fundraiser, with The Explorers' Club For Damien Mander

Join us on Sunday, June 11th from 2pm - 5pm in Studio City, CA - as we Co-Host a fundraiser with The Explorer's Club of California for Damien Mander and his non-profit, IAPF. 

Damien Mander, is a former Australian Royal Navy Clearance Diver and Special Operations military sniper turned anti-poaching crusader. Damien used his life savings to fund the start-up and running costs of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) – an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wildlife in some of the world's most volatile regions.

A special presentation
DATE: Sunday, June 11, 2017
TIME: 2-5pm
LOCATION: Studio City, private residence. Address provided on ticket purchase
TICKETS: $25 per person ($15 for students) includes valet parking and vegan refreshments.

 

Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage Closes Its Doors

A very sad day today - to learn that Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage has decided to close its doors after the recent attack on its staff and rhinos, due to security issues.  Over and Above Africa sends everyone affected by this tragedy, our heartfelt condolences. 

Here's their press release: http://worldanimalnews.com/tragically-thula-thula-rhino-orphanage-shut-attacked-poachers/  

Tragically, The Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage Forced To Shut Down After It Was Attacked By Poachers

By Lauren Lewis 

May 2, 2017

Sadly, The Fundimvelo Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage (FTTRO) has shut its doors. The orphanage was unable to recover after an exceptionally brutal poaching attack in February, which left rhinos dead, caregivers severely beaten and one young woman sexually assaulted, The Rhino Orphanage issued a statement early Monday saying that it is in the process of closing down.

The news, that WAN learned from SAPeople, is bittersweet because while it is heartbreaking that Karen Trendler’s orphanage will close, we take some solace knowing that the remaining rhinos, along with their caretakers, will stay together in safer surroundings.

“Our supporters made donations in good faith to support the care of rhino orphans and we will ensure that their donations are still used for that purpose,” said Yvette Taylor from Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO), which manages the facility.

“The animals have now all been moved together with their handlers to ensure continuity of care and all the rhino calves, as well as Charlie, the hippo, are doing well and have settled in their new surroundings,” she assured.

FTTRO has reportedly “made arrangements for the remainder of their donated funds to be channeled to the facilities who have taken over the care of the rhino calves.”

In the aftermath of the appalling attack, according to SAPeople, the focus of management was “on the immediate safety of the staff, volunteers and remaining animals on site, as well as providing support for the police and security experts investigating the incident.”

To keep the remaining rhinos and staff safe, LAEO directors moved them to a different location; also giving them the opportunity to recover from the trauma that was experienced by everyone. During this time, management conducted a series of independent security assessments and considered the findings of the criminal investigation.

“It is Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization’s responsibility to ensure that we meticulously weigh up all the factors of the investigation and security reports,” said Taylor at the time. “Our focus is ensuring that the facility is safe for both people and animals, managed according to best practice animal rehabilitation protocols, and is sustainable.”

Unfortunately, after reviewing the results of the reports and acknowledging the potential for ongoing and critical security challenges, as well as consulting with security experts, anti-poaching professionals and senior police officers, the LAEO Board of Directors decided it was time to permanently close the orphanage that had saved so many rhinos over the years.

According to the decision-makers, the “additional cost to adequately secure the facility in the long-term proved prohibitive and impacted on the sustainability of the facility.”

The horrific events that transpired on the evening of February 20th, 2017, when five criminals descended upon the once tranquil rhino sanctuary, was devastatingly the beginning of the end for the orphanage.

Perhaps this is the extreme wake-up call needed for everyone to understand how dangerous, unruly and catastrophic the rhino poaching industry in South Africa is; and that serious actions must be taken to end it once and for all!

Andrea Crosta - O&AA Advisory Board Member

We are thrilled to share our Board Member, Andrea Crosta's recent conversation with the EarthTalk audience (similar to TedTalks)  

Andrea and his team work on the intelligence side of anti-poaching.  It's not only vital but effective.  They recently brought down a long time kingpin and his syndicate which hit the news stands in Asia and here in the US which we shared earlier last week.  For more about our friend and advisory board member, Andrea Crosta - click on the link below!

 Andrea's recent EarthTalk  

Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage - Attack

Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage - Attack

This was a particularly heinous act where 8 heavily armed men attacked the staff and volunteers at Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in the Kwa-Zulu-Natel region, South Africa.  They tied up and beat the staff and raped a female volunteer before killing two of the rhino babies who were soon to be released back into the wild after a successful rehabilitation by Thula Thula.   Just to poach their horns.  The double tragedy was that these two rhino babies had been victims of a poaching incident where their mothers were killed by poachers.  Rhino babies and elephant calves NEED their mothers longer than most animal offspring.  

We have friends in Africa who have reported back to us that an international intelligence unit has been called in to find these criminals and bring them to justice.  In the mean time, we are raising funds for the medical costs, vet's bills, counseling that will be needed and most importantly, stronger security and safety measures. 

Here's the link to our Go Fund Me campaign please share with your friends and families as the more we raise, the faster their recovery needs will be met. 

So proud to partner with Nambiti Private Game Reserve

Photo by kind permission of Ed Gatland

Photo by kind permission of Ed Gatland

This is an epic post, but SO worth the read and really underscores why we are SO proud to be partnered with @Nambiti Private Game Reserve!  

Press Release:  Today saw a historical moment unfold for two community game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, as the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve welcomed the last 2 animals of a herd of 13 elephants. The elephants were donated by Nambiti Private Game Reserve, another KZN community owned game reserve, and this is the first time that 2 rural communities have worked together to extend elephant range.

Somkhanda Community Game Reserve, owned by the Emvokweni Community Trust (ECT) and co-managed with the Wildlands Conservation Trust was established in 2005 and formerly declared a protected area in 2011.

Wildlands and the ECT worked with Elephant, Rhinos and People (ERP) over the past year to identify a suitable herd for Somkhanda. Their support has been phenomenal. ERP, supported by Groupelephant.com, actively identify elephant herds that are under threat due to population pressures and find them new homes.......

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE POST

"The LONG Ride To Free Them" - Matt Meyer

As Matt prepares for his 2000 mile bike ride along the California coastline from Canada to Mexico, pulling a life-sized rhino behind him - we are lining up sponsors to back him.  XTreme Video just joined the list of growing sponsors lining up to support Matt's epic journey.  

It's all to raise funds and bring awareness to the tragic plight of the world's rhinos right now.  Without our stepping in to act, they'll be gone in less than 9 years.   

We'll be bringing you live updates from Matt's journey along the way in our member section so be sure to sign up today! 

For more information about how you can sponsor Matt, please contact Jennifer@OverAndAboveAfrica.com.

Boots Are On Their Way To The Anti-Poaching Unit Rangers!

We're really excited to share that we delivered the boots to the rangers after our successful fundraiser all because you cared!  We're working on an edited piece to bring to you of the whole day, but for now - to experience how happy a day it was for the rangers to receive the boots, just click on the boots below for our short Facebook live video! 

Become a member, join our tribe - to follow this story and others like it as we start a movement to end poaching in Africa! 

Here are some of the rangers modeling their boots!  

Boots-For-Rangers Fundraiser - We Succeeded!

Boots-For-Rangers Fundraiser - We Succeeded!

We are delighted to share that we just reached our goal of raising $5,000 to give new boots, night vision binoculars and flak jackets to the rangers at Nambiti (Kwa-Zulu-Natel) and we will be sending the items to the rangers in the first of the year and filming them receiving the goods!

They have no idea that we came home to support them this way, and we can't wait to watch their reactions when they realize that friends from the other side of the world cared enough to support them and bring them comfort in 2017.    

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!   This was our first campaign raise for Over and Above Africa and we raised the funds with a week to spare!  

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy Chanukah to all of our friends, we look forward to a very exciting 2017 with you! 

Kerry and the Over and Above Africa team.

 

Our Innaugural Anti-Poaching Mission!

Our Innaugural Anti-Poaching Mission!

After a whirlwind trip to South Africa, where we met with several private game reserve owners and rangers to discuss the state of the poaching crisis in Africa, we're now back and with our first goal. To raise $5,000 to purchase boots, night vision cameras, flak jackets and camel packs for the rangers.  These courageous men work long, dangerous hours, hiking over the worst terrain just to keep a visual on the endangered rhino and elephants, lions and cheetah that live on their property.  They do it willingly and without complaint, but what lifted their spirits visibly was our sharing with them how much the rest of the world supports what they are doing, and cares for them!  How exciting it will be if we are successful in our raise and we present them with a gift from the other side of the world!

If you'd like to know more about these brave men, and join the crowd back home helping us provide some basic comforts, here's our @GoFundMe campaign: http://bit.ly/2gfyGh6  (we're currently trending so it's a good time to join us!) We'd love to send these items to them for Christmas or the New Year, we've another 4 weeks on the campaign so it will be tight, but if not, then it'll be a great gift to welcome the New Year! 

While in South Africa, we were DELIGHTED to be invited to an unveiling of a new technology by techno giants @DimensionData and @CiscoSystems who together have created a comprehensive solution to poaching they are calling, "Connected Conservation." CC includes CCTV biometric scanning, sensors, cameras, thermal imaging, drones and even a helicopter standing by - not to mention trained dogs and a squad of rangers armed and ready to be deployed at the first signs of any poachers!  What's most unique about their solution is that it's pro-active, not reactive.  Using all of the tech available to them to apprehend the poachers, emphasis is on catching the suspects BEFORE the act, and not after when the animal is dead and the horn/tusks are gone.  

It's to be used as a multi-pronged effort in conjunction with several initiatives currently in place that are known to work, such as trained dogs to sniff out weapons hidden in vehicles and monitors that keep a visual on game reserve perimeters.  We were extremely impressed with the demonstration that had actually captured and arrested two poachers earlier that morning.  

For more on our trip, here's an accounting of the day we were invited to go out on FOOT patrol with the rangers from the Zulu community @Nambiti, tracking rhino.