The constant war against poaching

By Caroline Edmonds | Warning: graphic images

As many of you know, the Foundation has been supporting and working very closely with the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve’s Anti-Poaching Units. We are constantly aware of the threat of poaching and receive frequent reminders of why anti-poaching tactics are so crucial.

After a tour of the sanctuary, one of our guests spotted an injured buffalo not far from Tau camp where we live. His sharp eyes noticed what looked to be a bad neck injury.

We immediately alerted the Dinokeng rangers, and one of our staff kept the buffalo in his sight until they arrived.

Within the hour, Matt, Dinokeng’s head ranger, arrived with the vet, and we headed off to find the buffalo and dart him to take a closer look.

Once he was darted, Matt used his drone to follow him until the sedative took effect. When we got to him once he was safely asleep, we saw that the poor animal had been caught in an illegal snare and the thick wire was cutting into his neck. 


A wire snare set to trap animals which are then used for food or the traditional medicine trade.

A Dinokeng ranger attends to the buffalo’s wound.
The wound was deep and very nasty, he must have been in a lot of pain. He had probably been like that for days and if he had not been spotted, he would have died. Matt cut the thick wire with wire cutters and the vet cleaned and disinfected the wound and administered antibiotics both locally and by injection. He had no other injuries, so the vet administered the antidote and we went back to our vehicle before he woke up. The whole procedure only took about 40 minutes, but it was a lifesaver. Snares are arbitrary and lethal. The person setting them probably wants to get impala or other antelope for meat, either to eat himself or sell. However, any unsuspecting animal can get caught in them, including lions, which happened to a male lion in 2020.

Any of you who are following the Miracle 5 cheetah cubs know that their mother also died in this horrendous way. With our financial support, Dinokeng’s APU is able to put more boots on the ground to search for traps and snares and buy more sophisticated equipment to help combat the poachers. We may have won this fight, but poaching is a continuous war that we maintain hope to overcome one day.