Speaking at the launch of the ik-stingkt exhibition at the Ron Belling Art Gallery today, conservationist icon Dr Ian Player, made a stiring and impassioned plea to save the Rhino.
So stirring in fact that I for once was rendered immobile and still as I slaked my wild thirst on his words.
Player’s famous words distil his message; “It is only through a global campaign and political will that we can save this remnant of the dinosaur age”, “We’ve lost that sacred connection with the earth”, “We all evolved from Africa”, “….Africa this very ancient continent from which we have all evolved, which I call the landscape of the human soul.”
“This artwork shows how we can oppose the evil of poaching through the good of our children. We all need to stand together to overcome this scourge,” said Player as he marveled at the art work of the school children and acknowledged that at a similar age he could only draw stick figures.
Reflecting on a career in conservation spanning more than 60 years, Player reminded us that it is only because of the White Rhino that South Africa has a vast number of conservation areas and game farms. Player recalls his efforts at White Rhino conservation bearing fruit to such an extent that he would transport 20 South African rhino at a time to game farms in the United States and Europe.
Only after much debate in 1968 was the ban on White Rhino hunting lifted – this made farmers realise that