After much deliberation and a very long time, we have finally opened up our Facebook Page which will enable other nature lovers and conservationists to share their photos, experiences, post events and more with us.
We would love to see you there.
You hear them before you see them… rumbling and trumpeting. Dozens of elephants gather near a watering hole in a clearing, mining for vital mineral salts and mud bathing to protect their skin.
But, a few months ago, heavily-armed poachers, driven by the greed of illegal wildlife trade, slaughtered more than 300 elephants in a scene like this in a national park in Cameroon.
(c) National Geographic – March Massacre
The sad truth is, we lose tens of thousands of elephants a year in Africa to wildlife crime. But, genuine conservation organizations are determined to break the trade chain of illegal ivory that goes from Central Africa to Asia and to reduce the demand for endangered species products in Asia.
And you can play a critical role in the fight to protect wildlife from this grisly trade – your support has never been more important. Please join the campaign to protect wildlife and wild places around the world, either by joining the Save Our Planet Network or by joining legitimate conservation bodies.
On March 14-15, at least 86 elephants were killed in Tikem, near Fianga in the Mayo Kebbi East region of southwestern Chad, close to the Cameroon border. Among the victims were more than 30 pregnant females, many of which aborted their calves when they were shot. The calves were left to die, and reportedly some were shot. It’s too sickening to even comprehend.
The massacre occurred in the closing hours of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 16th Conference of Parties (COP16) meeting (held in Bangkok from March 3-14), where the topic of elephants was high on the agenda.
The timing was also just weeks after the discovery of 28 elephant carcasses, all stripped of their ivory tusks, in Cameroon’s Nki and Lobeke National Parks and at least 15 carcasses across four separate locations in Central African Republic.
All these incidents followed numerous reports of columns of Sudanese poachers crossing Central African Republic and heading toward Cameroon and Chad.
Both the Chad and Cameroon governments had responded to this advance notice. In December, the Chad government sent soldiers and military aircraft to patrol the region and Cameroon deployed its Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR), a special forces military unit. But neither was able to find the poaching gangs and stop them.
“We’ve been aware of the poachers’ presence and movements since last November in the Central African Republic, but given the means at hand, and difficulty of working in this vast, remote landscape, it has been very challenging to fully address the situation,” says Richard Ruggiero, Chief, Branch of Asia and Africa at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Right now, organized criminal networks are systematically emptying our forests to take advantage of high profits and low risks. Make no mistake, wildlife crime is big business with little consequence.
And these are the dedicated people, men and women – who work around the clock under severely dangerous and life-threatening conditions to try and ensure that our wildlife – the earth’s wildlife – are free to roam their home – after all they were here first. HUGE RESPECT to these and the thousands of others throughout Africa, including my beloved daughter and the Rangers with whom they work who risk their lives daily….
We neither solicit nor accept donations towards our work but your active support can help to shut down the trade as well as protect species and habitats worldwide.
The challenges we face in protecting species like elephants are complex. We’re working with governments, providing moral support to rangers and educating supporters like you about the serious nature of these wildlife crimes. Together, we can ensure a future for even the most vulnerable wildlife. Please consider joining us in our campaign and encouraging your friends and acquaintances to do the same.
There is general consensus that human beings are seriously damaging our planet to the point that all life on Earth is now threatened with extinction through climate change, destruction of habitats, and the pollution of the land, air and waters of our planet.
We are all in this together, whether we like it or not, and we are glad you are visiting our site. This is our on-line meeting place, where we organize our activities, share ideas, and publicize our mission to save our beautiful planet and all its inhabitants from extinction due to global warming and the negative effects of human activities.
You will also be able to formally join us in our quest and take a pledge to modify your lifestyle to help combat the grave threats that face our planet.
Please note: We neither seek nor accept financial contributions towards the work that we do. This is our personal contribution towards saving our planet by changing the minds of those who visit us by informing them about what is happening to the Earth’s environment and the destruction of its ecosystems.
Maybe you would like to join in a discussion group of people who are working to save, and heal, our planet from the destruction that has been caused by human development. If so, please go to the Earth Saviors page.
Update: Red Cat the Caracul (Karakal) has been a part of the Carpenter household for nigh on 18 years and a familiar sight to visitors and supporters of The Sanctuary.. Read his story below.
Sadly, Red Cat was put to rest on 01 September 2011, after battling old age for quite a while.
Although not endangered in this part of the world the caracul lives in its natural habitat in the wild for a period of around 8 to 9 years. Red Cat lived to twice this length of time in captivity. He had a good life and was well loved and certainly well respected by all who “met” him. (I mean, hello! Did you see those teeth?) As a youngster he would playfully jump onto Carol, who is only little – and probably half his weight. It was play time. He did not realize that he was no longer a playful little kitten who would sit on Garth’s shoulder, but a maturing and extremely solid – and heavy – creature of the wild who, due to circumstances, was unable to be released back into the wild.
There was not a time we visited The Sanctuary that we did not visit Red Cat, and almost every time he posed for a photo shoot. We have those images of him, which show him to be a well-loved and extremely well taken care of animal and these pictures bear testimony to the love and commitment Garth and Carol have for each and every one of their wards, whether temporary or permanent.
Love and thoughts are with these two amazing people who will no doubt feel his loss for a very long time to come. This photograph of Red Cat was taken during June 2011. What a magnificent creature!
Garth Carpenter is a retired game warden but a passionate herpetologist and wildlife warrior in South Africa. He has been interested in this field all his life & started collecting reptiles & snakes from the age of 10 years.
He was only 19 years old when he applied for a game warden post in Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia), appointed & dropped in the middle of 800sq. kilometers of bush with 4 game guards & was told: “Make a game reserve of this”. So the Kalulushi Game Reserve was born & remains today.
In the 8 years he was there he was game warden, conservation officer, teacher, educator & rescuer. In this bygone era there were man eater problems & crop raiders & so he was forced to track & shoot the following: 76 rogue buffalo, 10 rogue elephants, 27 man eating lions, 9 man eating leopards, 20 man eating crocodiles, 10 problem hippos (usually crop raiders that were attacking the villagers when confronted). Where possible he captured & relocated others. His records of letters & commendations bear testimony to this.
During this time he was part of “Operation Noah” when the Kariba dam was created & worked with Rupert Fothergill but from the Zambian side of the dam. But his passion for the animals & reptiles has remained. In 1961 he joined the then Natal Parks Board at Hluhluwe Game Reserve as their game management & control officer Because of his passion for wildlife & his compassion for the injured & orphaned wildlife at one stage he had the largest private collection of small mammals in South Africa. Most of these animals & reptiles were released into private conservation areas.
He was well known for the little orphaned & injured creatures that he cared for & kept at the house & released where possible. He was also an advisor & active participant of the pioneers in the Rhino capture & release programme in the Umfolosi &Hluhluwe Game reserves with Dr. Ian Player. Garth has always been interested in education of children & the public &his “Snake Park” at the local annual Royal Agricultural Show is well known. (The proceeds of this display go straight back to the wildlife they care for).
Garth is on call 24/7 for wildlife, birds & reptiles and the local Fire department, Police and hospitals have The Sanctuary’s contact numbers. He is often called to the hospitals to identify snake & snake bite wounds to ensure the correct treatment is given to the victim.
He assisted Dr. Phillip Cohen (one of the local surgeons) in creating his Power point presentation on Snakes & Envenomation to train the hospital personnel in identifying & treating victims of snake bite.
Garth is also an honorary officer for KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife which entails doing voluntary callouts for them as well. One of Garth’s call outs to track & capture poachers (remember he works alone) led him to an area in the bush where he found the poachers has already killed, skinned & removed a female grey duiker. He could hear a faint mewing sound of an animal. He traced it to the new born baby of the duiker that the poachers had impaled on a fence post but he was unable to save the baby.
One of the current tenants of The Sanctuary is another young grey duiker who was caught in a bush fire. When she came to us she was about 6 days old (she still had her drying umbilical cord on her). She was suffering from singed fur, burned ears, nose, legs & tail. She had inhalation burns from inhaling the hot air & smoke. The vet gave us inject able antibiotics for her but held out little hope. (Their vet does not charge consultation fees but any medicines &treatments are paid for).
Against all odds she pulled through. Her nose has peeled twice but has healed & re-pigmented. The tops of her ears were like potato crisps but the ears healed & the dried tops fell off. Her other burn wounds have healed, her fur re-generated & she has 2 short radar discs for ears but they function well. (She has been called Singey).
On another occasion a week old baby duiker brought in had a fractured & dislocated hip & an injured front leg. He underwent a hip replacement & the vet said he would only walk on the leg in 1-2 weeks. Within 3 days he was up & about, healed well & was released into a private game reserve when he was 18 months old. (He was named Bobby.) He has since paired up with a wild female & they have been seen around having produced their own young.
Garth and his wife Carol, who is also his lifelong partner in this venture and all others, rented a small piece of ground outside of Pietermaritzburg, after losing everything to an unscrupulous businessperson.The current place is too small to accommodate all of the un-releasable creatures that are used for breeding & release & education. These creatures are kept 13Kms away at an animal petting farm, which is Garth’s and Carol’s residence also.
Currently in their care at The Sanctuary are inter alia the following: Hadida Ibis, Egyptian geese, spur wing geese, spotted eagle owls, barn owls, white faced owls , wood owls, white faced whistling ducks, black ducks, yellow billed teal, caracal, crocodiles, various species of tortoises & terrapins, various aviaries of doves, pigeons, ring necks, pheasants, various guinea fowls, monitors, meerkat, rock hyrax, Cockatiels and about 400 snakes.
Garth makes all his own cages & aviaries & does all his own repair work. Garth & Carol only have 2 fulltime employees & one part time fellow to help clean cages & feed the animals.
Feeds are collected and prepared every evening for the following day.
Carol is a qualified nursing sister & works full time in an industrial clinic as well as help Garth with all the infants & injured brought in & she does most of the bottle feeding and medical treatments – their combined income goes into the wildlife. Unfortunately due to the rising costs in rent, fuel, staff wages, feed etc & Garth’s small pension The Sanctuary is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain their essential rehabilitation and education centre.
With the increased unemployment & the increased poaching they are constantly inundated with injured & orphaned animals & birds. Two rescue vehicles are utilised daily at the expense of Carol and Garth.
Fundraising events are held regularly, such as Garth’s “Campfire Tales of Africa” where he talks about different events in his career & Carol attends to all the catering singlehandedly.
Despite sending over 50 letters sent locally, nationally & internationally requesting assistance in some form the only response they had was from a local feed supplier who is able to donate some feed for the animals.
Garth spends 4 days a week running around collecting different feed for the various animals & birds as well as running the centre and rescuing injured animals. Garth’s dream has always been to have a conservancy where they can ultimately have a self-contained rescue centre that can hold the injured & orphaned & that they can release them onto the property.
Guides can then be trained to take visitors on “mini safaris” to see the animals & birds.
Having a place like this would then allow The Sanctuary to employ more staff to help care for the animals & relieve the pressures felt because of their passion & beliefs. A normal day at The Sanctuary starts at 0500 & ends about 2300.