It’s a tragedy. Wild animals, even rare ones, die or are injured, not just because humans want to survive. Often sheer greed and bad business are involved. Either way, killing and mutilating are not uncommon in the South African province of Limpopo, as is the case in many parts of the continent. We were confronted with this sad fact during our visit to the Wildlife Recreation Center Moholoholo. But in addition to the dismay that some information brings with it, this experience in front of the silhouette of the Drakensberg was extremely interesting, inspiring, and very pleasant. Instead of blind fanaticism, so our impression, there is a lot of constructive, competent work, differentiated and holistic thinking. ‘What would you do,’ said Brian Jones analogously, while he was preparing some pending vaccinations, ‘if you own nothing, but a field and then a wild animal ruins your harvest so that your family has nothing more to eat?’ The thought continues, gets right under the skin: ‘Imagine, for decades, whites here shot hundreds of large wild animals from the comfort of their jeeps on some days just to have fun. And now you are being told, you have to leave this animal that is endangering your harvest alone.’

Brian Jones established Moholoholo and runs the center. His words make you thoughtful, they move you. But then there are the professional poachers alongside those who are simply defending their existence. They are about trophies, skins, and assumed ‘miracle cures’ made from body parts of various creatures. The backers are driven by sheer greed instead of the struggle for survival. There all understanding ends. That is why, of course, a clear attitude and clear statements come across while we are allowed to experience the work of the Moholoholo crew backstage for half a day. But indict and condemn seems to be here. But accusing and condemning seems to be a minor matter here. Brian, his staff, and helpers have a different focus: helping injured, poisoned, or orphaned animals. And: To achieve a rethinking of people through education in schools and villages, so that a lot doesn’t happen in the first place. Another argument: the better this world around animals is preserved, the more attractive the area is for visitors.
For this and similar messages, Moholoholo goes to villages and schools. Through this and initiatives of others, many poachers had become a gamekeeper. And many farmers no longer use the hardest means to defend their existence.

For the care, fostering, and treatment of injured, poisoned, or orphaned animals, Moholoholo runs a zoo-like property with a veterinary clinic in the middle of the bush, away from the small town of Hoedspruit. Almost up close you can experience leopards, lions, hyenas, and wild dogs, but also impressive large birds and heart-rending cute bush babies. Moholoholo is not a petting zoo. Only under strict guidance and very carefully are groups of visitors led through with extensive information and some hands-on experiences with large birds. At the big cats’ outdoor enclosure, we stood face to face with a mighty female lion, only separated by a few centimeters and an electric fence. The animals in Moholoholo include permanent residents who can no longer be released into the wild and continue to live there as representatives of their species. Moholoholo’s commitment extends into the wild. We were allowed to be there. We will never forget the moment when a good three dozen antelopes far outside in front of the property encircle us and the off-road vehicle while feeding. In other external missions, employees free animals from traps, rescue animals injured in accidents and take in cubs who are left behind without a mother. Moholoholo’s commitment also includes rearing programs, research projects, and relocations of undesirable wild animals. Brian Jones, as a spokesman, explains the precarious situation of wild animals in many parts of Africa. He was also heard at lectures in the USA.

Every month, up to 1,000 schoolchildren are made aware of the wildlife and the problem during guided tours for school classes. In so-called student programs, you can experience the work and everyday life in the Wildlife Recreation Center intensively as an active helper. Moholoholo sees itself as an ambassador of a dying nature and hopes through its visitors, educational work, and through the media to promote a greater awareness of it all over the world.
The organization manages the high costs for daily work, special assignments, and projects with the help of donations in kind and money, as well as income from tourist programs, courses, a little on-site gastronomy, accommodation, and as an event location.
  We are convinced that places and institutions like Moholoholo are becoming increasingly important. They vouch for elementary values such as mercy and compassion. And they help to preserve what enriches all of our lives: the beauty and diversity on this unique planet.

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