the rhino crash
a memoir of conservation, unlikely friendships and self-discovery
Catapulted into the grim world of rhino poaching, Nick Newman trades life in London for a humble, yet adventurous existence in South Africa. Tasked with monitoring and protecting critically endangered black rhinos, Nick soon cultivates an understanding of their different individual personalities and temperamental behaviour by studying them in their natural environment. Under constant threat of being poached for their horns, the rhinos become the pivot around which Nick and the Anti-Poaching Unit’s lives revolve.
Towards the end of his time in South Africa, the pressures of the job catch up with Nick and he soon finds himself in a care facility in Spain where he is forced to go on a journey of self-discovery to confront his mental health. It is also here where he learns to understand his affinity with the rhinos which he had come to love more than life itself.
meet the AUTHORS
Nick is from the UK and spent a number of
years monitoring rhinos in South Africa
"After being afforded the opportunity to work so closely with black rhinos in Africa, my life changed in unimaginable ways and this was the driving force behind the publication of this memoir - I simply owe it to the rhinos for everything they gave me. Maybe the one and only positive thing to have come out of the current poaching crisis, is how much conservationists have learnt about these majestic animals whilst in the process of monitoring and protecting them. Finding ourselves in such a privileged position, I feel we have a responsibility to champion the cause by sharing our stories with nature lovers around the world - I can only hope that it has been possible, at least in part, to convey just how magical rhinos are and why so many people feel such an incredible connection with them."
Karin is a former journalist from South Africa, now living in Hoedspruit as a full-time writer.
"When a story comes to me, the excitement of what the recollections will turn into once it becomes a book leaves me awake for hours at night. This story kept my mind occupied slightly longer, as it had important layers that needed to be conveyed in an accurate and sensitive manner - the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa and the rawness in which Nick was willing to speak of his mental health to bring awareness to the importance of mental wellbeing in general, but also in a high-pressure working environment. My hope is that this book will encourage interest in endangered rhinos once readers learn more about their behaviour and personalities, but also, that those who risk their lives to protect them do not go forgotten."
"The fight to protect our environment will not be like the
Battle of Waterloo, with one decisive victory, and it’s all over.
It will be a battle which we will have to fight daily.
And so will our children, our grandchildren, and their children.
We must never quit."
DR IAN PLAYER
“The wild things of this earth are not ours to do with as we please.
They have been given to us in trust, and we must account for them to
the generation which will come after us and audit our accounts.”
WILLIAM TEMPLE HORNADAY
THE RHINOs' PLIGHT
Rhinos have walked the planet for 50 million years, during which time they have migrated across continents, faced prehistoric hyenas and giant crocodiles, and endured the frigid wilderness of the ice age. The combination of unstable climates and hunting by humans put an end to many rhino species throughout history - now, it is rampant poaching that threatens the five that remain.
In Asia, the greater one-horned rhino is listed as vulnerable, while critically endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos could both be lost in our lifetime with fewer than a hundred of each species remaining. It is a similar story in Africa where black rhinos are critically endangered and the most common species, the white rhino, is near threatened.
Rhino poaching has escalated in recent years, driven by a continued demand for their horns across Asian countries. Rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but the surge in demand throughout the past decade is even more disturbing due to the fact it has now become a status symbol, particularly in Vietnam where anyone who can afford it is considered to be wealthy, successful and influential.
Alarmingly, rhino horn has also been purported as a cure for hangovers and even a miracle cure for cancer, as was claimed by a former Vietnamese Prime Minister. No scientific evidence has been found to support any of these claims, nor will it be, as rhino horn is made of keratin just like our fingernails. Rhino horn trafficking is transnational crime, run by sophisticated, organised crime networks that have far reaching global connections.
At the turn of the 20th century half a million rhinos roamed the earth. Today there are about 28 300 and four of the five species are already threatened and three critically endangered - were it not for a colossal protection effort, the numbers and the rhinos' plight would be considerably worse. The rhinos that remain in the wild are no longer safe without protection and their custodians are largely unable to recover the mounting cost of safeguarding them. Rhino horn is more valuable by weight than gold or diamonds, but that valuation and is only for the poachers and game reserves only spend huge amounts of money protecting rhinos because it's the right thing to do. The "real" value of these iconic animals actually lies in what we and future generations will lose if they were to go extinct, and if we don't stand up for the rhinos and act now, history will surely not reflect kindly on our inaction.
"Here is a book about a young man finding himself in the wilds of Africa, without any previous experience but with a healthy dose of the spirit of adventure many seek but fail to find"
Dr Jacques FLAMAND WWF-SA