'RHINO WAR' by Major General (Ret.) Johan Jooste with Tony Park. [Landau Book Review]
I had the pleasure of reading ‘Rhino War’ when it was recently published in August 2022. Written by Major General (Ret.) Johan Jooste (affectionately known as the ‘General’), and co-authored by Tony Park, I found this book disturbingly fascinating and well written.
Like most people that grew up, and still have the opportunity to spend time in Africa, I had always known Rhino were being poached in the Kruger National Park. On numerouos occasions, I have visited Kruger and enjoyed the wonders of the park. What I did not know was the rate at which these poor animals were being hunted; nor, for that matter, how brutal and cruel the poachers were to the Rhino they had wounded. Some of the stories in "Rhino War" are so disturbing, they actually turned my stomach!
The General's Near Mission Impossible
The General’s task of tackling this dreadful problem was monumental. If not for the sheer size of Kruger (about the size of Israel), he also faced political, cultural and racial pushback on almost every front. And if that wasn’t enough, some institutions or factors that we, as outsiders, wouldn’t consider, such as trade unions, air transport regulations, diplomatic relations, privacy laws or international donor support, all had to be very carefully managed, and all this before even one rhino is protected.
When the General discussed the numbers of Rhino that were killed each day, I found this chilling. I had no idea of the scale of the problem. In order to help the mission succeed, new technological ideas were further explored. It was hoped that these would be adopted in the capture of poachers, or more specifically, in the prevention of poachers from entering the park. I found these strategies quite fascinating. However, what I found even more intriguing was the General’s reasoning as to why he would NOT adopt certain amazing technologies.
Despite the Rhino still being severely threatened, Johan Jooste deserves huge credit for how he has handled a critical issue for the future of the Rhino species. (I think his wife, Arina, deserves a medal too!)
'RHINO WAR' by Johan Jooste was co-written with one of my all-time favourite authors, Tony Park, and this book tells a story that will find its way into South Africa's history. I will be keeping a copy of it on my bookshelf!
NOTE: My wife Sharon and I were fortunate enough to catch up with Tony Park again at his recent Book Launch for The Pride in Brisbane. I was delighted to have him 'sign' my "Kindle" copy of RHINO WARS, which I had already read, that evening, as I did not have a Paperback copy at the time. However, now I am proud to have both!
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