Answer by Rory Young:
Please look carefully at how the men in this picture are dressed and equipped.
Everything is rudimentary, worn and broken. One of the AK47s didn't even have a stock. The scout carrying it would only be able to fire it without raising it to his shoulder and sighting it. When I took the photo a few weeks ago, these men were tired, sore and hungry after covering long distances daily for twenty days.
Now turn your eyes to their faces.
They are smiling genuinely and their heads are held high.
These men are humble people but proud of what they do. They are also resigned to the possibility that they may very well die defending the animals that they have dedicated their lives to protecting.
These men do not receive medals, decent salaries, awards or even public recognition for the work they do, without the necessary training, equipment and other reseources to do it well.
I will not say in which country or park this picture was taken, just that it was in a wildlife area of the Middle Zambezi.
There are wildlife areas and all along the river and in all the countries that border it. They are all in need of assistance. Sometimes it is training. Sometimes it is transport. Sometimes it is communications equipment. Sometimes they just need someone to look after their wives and children and find them clean water or try somehow to improve their futures.
The Tashinga Initiative tries to help fill these needs so that the rangers are able to better do their work.
In just a few days $8k was raised by Quorans eager to help. This was all started by Lisa Groeneweg, a person I had never heard of until a couple of weeks ago. She now looms large in my life, along with all the others who have so generously given in work and money to try and help win this war. I am extremely grateful. Behind the sceneshas been working non-stop to get the word out and has been lending his time and expertise to assist in fund-raising.
I have had long discussions with Lynne Taylor, the head of the Tashinga Initiative about how the money should be spent so as to have the greatest impact. We have agreed that it will be used to provide expert support, training and operational capacity to assist in wildlife protection and management activities in the Zambezi River Basin Area".
A plan for a project to support and enhance wildlife protection operations has been sitting gathering dust for a long time. With the recent sharp escalation of ivory poaching this project has become urgent. TTI has managed to secure a boat and vehicle and this money will enable specialists to train, guide, support, deploy teams in the field wherever the situation is most serious and the need greatest for a period of one month.
I have agreed to run the project for two to three weeks of that time, alternating with another specialist.
There have been many remarks of disappointed that not more money was raised. Please understand that one month of this activity will have a clear and a large impact. Just today I received news of two more elephants killed in Matusadona. Please seeThis is just one of many wildlife areas. Some areas are losing many elephants every single day.
In addition to her donations and tireless efforts,has also donated a GoPro camera. I will be using this to show people what happens on the ground. Some work will be sensitive and cannot be filmed but I can assure you that the footage released will be variouslyeye-popping, sad, exhilarating and beautiful. Thank you Lisa.
Some people have complained that no celebrities have rallied to support the efforts here and that governments should be funding the work. To hell with them! This will never be won by celebrities or politicians. It will be won by all the "little people". Politicians don't care and will only jump around when they see all the "little people" want this to end. As for the celebrities, I don't care if they are not interested. We will do it without them.
My heroes are the people here who help and the people on the ground.