trec1000

Day one of Trec1000

2 Rangers - Fritz and Rudi are doing a part of a 600 mile(1,000km) trec through some of the most incredible parts of South Africa to raise awareness for the epidemic that is destroying Africa’s Rhinos.

This is their trip, on YouTube, on facebook, on twitter and their blog -
Please follow, share and comment on their expedition, they are great guys, I know Fritz from working with him last year.

Give them some serious waves as they need your support.

Follow them using #trec1000 and their experiences will also be on
https://www.facebook.com/groups/OSCAP/

Please reshare this blog and trec as the 2 rangers are incredible people and will share some amazing experiences with you as they highlight the plight of the Rhino.

PLEASE RESHARE to save our Rhino from the mindless poaching

Trec1000 - Just over a year ago I joined the TREC1000 team on the last days of their 1000km walk. Bringing home the poignant fact that every step matters, Fritz Breytenbach and team added spiritual meaning and hope to the fight for the rhino in Southern Africa. A dynamic and inspired group of people that ‘had to do something’, and did.  

Fritz was joined by filmmaker Steven Lyon as he captured the experience for the Something that Matters documentary. This is the trailer to it, which brings back strong memories and renewed purpose. Because of security issues it can’t be viewed here, but click on this link to watch and learn more. I cannot wait for the whole production.

Read about TREC1000 involvement here.

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Trec1000 - As Fritz reached his 1000’s km - he was greeted by the crew, family and friends. Celebrations and a strong sense of achievement. Bubbly too. We stood back and revelled in the glow.

The guys stripped down and ran into the hippo and croc invested water - an effective touch of madness and reminder of life. Words were shared. Emotions set free. Moments were captured. It was an honour to be there. Fritz and Ronel have much to feel proud of!

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Trec1000 - We were there to support the Trec1000 anti-rhino poaching initiative, but never expected to be face the harsh reality. This beautiful male rhino had been filmed in his prime a few days earlier, and now he lay dead and stripped of his horn. Poached.

As the team filmed and documented the loss, tears ran down our faces. The loss felt in our core. This beautiful boy should be alive and free. He should have been saved from man’s indiscriminate greed. If not him, then please, the rest.

Fritz, forever philosophical and strong, reminded us of the importance of staying positive. To not focus on the sad cruelty, but rather on the work being done by many to change the situation.

He of course, being one of those making a difference. 

This was difficult to see, and I can’t get the image out of my mind.

Trec1000. Every step matters.

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The privilege of joining the Trec1000 team on the last day of their 1000km landmark walk, has altered me. I know I say this about numerous campaigns and projects that have inspiring people following their hearts and putting action to their hope of making a difference in this world.

But something about this crew, and the actual physical act of walking, one step after the other, has a metaphoric value that penetrates beyond an awareness campaign. To a place that has spiritual meaning. One that embraces the greater significance. The community. The hope.

An initiative of Tintswalo Safari Lodge Head Ranger Fritz Breytenbach and his wife Ronel; the idea that Fritz would walk 1000km for the Tintswalo Rhino Extreme Campaign was born out of a deep desire to create awareness of our Rhinos' plight.

Fritz was accompanied by US documentary maker Steven Lyon of Lyon Heart Love Productions, as well as planet loving Frenchman Hugo Pietos for the duration of Trec, as they captured the walk and took a deeper look into the world of Rhino poaching for their Something That Matters film.

They were supported by a talented team of producers and photographers throughout, namely Joey Skibel and Alexandra Clista from the States, Anna Dabrowska from Paris and well known South Africa wildlife photographer Werner Maritz of Painted Dog Films. Steven’s girlfriend Edita had flown out to join the group on this significant landmark day.

For Dax and I, the gift of sharing the last day began when we joined the group in the early morning. Together they welcomed us and we walked towards their last 25km.

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Me with Hugo, Dax, Fritz, Edita  and Steven.

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Personally I love to walk. I would go so far as to say that I am a walker. There is something wonderfully cathartic about putting one foot after the other. The action. Movement. The free thinking that comes with it. Its the act of doing.

Joining Fritz and team for the last stretch through the beautiful African bush, coming across the occasional game and unimpressed buffalo. Stepping on the game tracks. Avoiding the thornbushes and burrows. Breathing in the highveld air. A gift of nature and I can only imagine how the full six week duration of Trec transported them to a place of inspired believe.

It was infectious. And it was for the Rhino.

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On an apple, trail mix and catchup break.

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With Joey of the production team, who met up with us to capture some footage along the way.

You will note from some of these these pics that Hugo was walking with crutches. About 400km into the hike he twisted an ankle, but continued to the end despite this. Fritz too took a fall that set him back by a couple of days. But sometimes, the passion and the purpose speak louder than the physical pain.

These are men with souls that extend beyond the realms of normal. Not because they walked 1000km, but because they evolved and influenced with each step. Touching the lives of those who joined them. The villagers that they visited. The conservation groups that they collaborated with. The community leaders, children and even poachers that they met along the way as they spread the Rhino love and captured on film a journey.

They reached their 1000km mark on Thursday 4 July, but the work that they are doing continues as Fritz retraces his steps and builds relationships, creating awareness with fellow rangers working to protect the African rhino.

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I love this photo of Fritz by Dax, a man and his environment, in true harmony.

If you’d like to support the Trec Community, all funds raised are going directly to pre-empting the poaching of the Rhino in the Manyeleti and Western Kruger. They work in partnership with WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), and the GRU (Game Reserves United), ‘in their war against the wholesale slaughter of these gentle beasts.’ Mail them to learn how.

Note - All pics are mine, except for those that were taken by Relax With Dax - who was there with me to share in the wonder.

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Some Interesting Facts on the Rhino - By TREC1000.

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Things I learnt about Rhinos from the Trec1000 team. The facts and figures are staggering and I can understand why they are driven to do something that will really make a difference. I quote:

"In just over 4 years, South Africa has lost 1632 (and rising) rhino to poaching, totalling a staggering approximate R1.2 billion in rhino.

“2012 will go down as the worst year SO FAR for the rhino” in the modern era of conservation. A total of 668 animals were recorded to have been poached in South Africa last year, a 50% increase from the previous year of 448. Of this total, 63% were poached in the Kruger National Park.

In 2013, the situation seems to be no different and we are still experiencing close to two rhino deaths per day (59 recorded deaths in January 2013) with the Kruger National Park again losing the bulk of them (71%).

  • There used to be four subspecies of Black Rhino, only 3 survive today:
  • The western Black Rhino was declared extinct in 2011.
  • The combined population of the 3 remaining Black Rhino species account to a mere few thousand.
  • There are two subspecies of White Rhino.
  • Only 4 Northern White Rhino are left and they are guarded very closely.
  • 1000’s of Southern White Rhino have been poached in the past few years with statistics increasing.
  • Less than 220 Sumatran Rhino are left and their numbers are declining.
  • Less than 45 Javan Rhino are remaining, with their numbers also declining.
  • Less than 3000 Indian Rhino survive today.

They include a quote from Simon Stuart “You have to imagine an animal walking around with a golden horn – that is what you are looking at and that is why you need such high security”

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I have just checked figures today and at least 448 rhinos have been illegally killed in South Africa this year to date. The situation is critical, and campaigns such as Trec1000 are essential in making a difference.

Trec1000 list their objective as follows: 'To gather sponsorship to help ensure that their extinction is averted by pre-empting the poaching of the Rhino in the Manyeleti and Western Kruger, in partnership with WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) and the GRU (Game Reserves United), in their war against the wholesale slaughter of these gentle beasts.’

Lets support this initiative and the inspiring people behind them.

Arriving at Tintswalo Safari Lodge for Trec1000.

Recently I was invited together with Dax of Relax with Dax, to fly up to the Tintswalo Safari Lodge in the Manyeleti Reserve concession. The purpose of our trip was to join Fritz Breytenbach and his team as they reached their 1000km target for TREC1000. A fundraising campaign to create awareness of the plight of the Rhino.

We flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg, where we joined beautiful Edita for a shared charter flight to the Tintswalo Airstrip with Odie Air.

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I do enjoy the view from a light aircraft, especially towards the bushveld.  Which is what we had as our 50 minute flight came to an end and we neared our destination. Always fun to do a fly by over the landing strip, just in case game is lurking, before making the landing. 

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As we touched down we saw a group of people there to meet us. Among them Fritz himself, with world renowned Photographer and Film Maker Steven Lyon and his crew who were documenting the walk. They captured Edita’s disembarkment as part of the ‘women behind the men’ segment, whilst Dax and I were warmly welcomed.

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Receiving the best kind of bush welcome, our Tintswalo guide had a bottle of bubbly to pop - we were here!

Conversation with Fritz was instant, his energy captivating as he launched into the details of the walk, the final stage that was nearing, how far they had come, how necessary it was for the Rhino. The future plans for TREC1000. 

They were making a difference and I was humbled by their work, very aware of how privileged I was to be there to share in this special moment and learn from him.

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Fritz, sharing a glass of bubbly with us.