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In a country wracked daily by murder and death, sometimes one is tempted to wonder whether one more killing actually means anything. Yet, when 42-year-old Anton Mzimba died, a little part of South Africa died with him.
The courageous, knowledgeable and likeable game ranger was gunned down on Tuesday after he and others in antipoaching units in the Timbavati reserve, abutting Kruger National Park, had received death threats.
His murder has brought into sharp focus the brutal and unrelenting war on the rhino populations of our country, which are in danger of being pushed to extinction.
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Mzimba and a small brand of brothers – and sisters – are the thin green line which stands between the poachers and the vulnerable wild creatures. No lesser a figure than Prince William has saluted Mzimba, whom he met last year. But all thinking South Africans – those who believe we must ensure our wildlife heritage is protected for the generations yet unborn – will also grieve.
Mzimba’s death will have been in vain unless we all intensify efforts to combat not only the poachers on the ground, but the syndicates behind the war. The users of rhino horn must be shamed into stopping their illogical desire for it.