Lockdown lifts in South Africa so I link up with a friend of mine whose older brother is part of one of the anti-poaching outfits patrolling game reserves in the NorthWest province. We'll call friend Mike and Mike's bro Sam.
Mike tells me that Sam has crazy stories. Sam goes on 'deployment' for months at a time in the bush. Poachers are armed with rifles, pistols and scrounged kak so anti-poachers have semi-auto weapons. 3 guns in a 6 man patrol. Sam worked as part of a quick reaction force. Sam tells Mike that he had 7 contacts in 6 months, 3 of those contacts had fatalities.
South African government never releases figures of dead poachers but estimates say 200 poachers are killed in Kruger in 2010-2015 . Kruger has 250-300 active anti-poaching personnel. Sam says that it's like a warzone near the Mozambique border part of Kruger. Sam knows guys who have gone off the deep end due to 20 hour shifts and getting shot at in the bush.
Sam told Mike that his park has an air element (some light planes) and they regularly spot folk cutting fences and scouting. Anti-poach can't do shit if the threat isn't on the reserve and they operate under all sorts of engagement rules. Older guys tell Sam that what happens in the bush stays in the bush, advise him to shoot first. Mike thinks Sam has at least 2 kills but isn't sure.
Met Sam once in 2018. Man sports a huge beard and seems really chill. Talks passionately about his job but never goes into specifics. Says watching Rhino's graze safely is it's own reward.
So what I'm saying /b/ is that Rhino and Rhodesia both start with an "Rh" and have 4+ letters. Sometimes a bush conflict is fought to protect the bush.