The remarkable story of Grant Fowlds, who has dedicated his life to saving the imperiled rhinos, vividly told with Graham Spence, co-author of the bestselling The Elephant Whisperer.
What would drive a man to ‘smuggle’ rhino horn back into Africa at great risk to himself? This is just one of the situations Fowlds has put himself in as part of his ongoing fight against poaching, in order to prove a link between southern Africa and the illicit, lucrative trade in rhino horn in Vietnam.
Shavings of rhino horn are sold as a snake-oil “cures,” but a rhino’s horn has no magical, medicinal properties whatsoever. Yet it is for this that rhinoceroses are being killed at an escalating rate that puts the survival of the species in jeopardy. This corrupt, illegal war on wildlife has brought an iconic animal to the brink of extinction.
Growing up on a farm in the eastern Cape of South Africa, Grant developed a deep love of nature, turning his back on hunting to focus on saving wildlife of all kinds and the environment that sustains both them and us. He is a passionate conservationist who puts himself on the front line of protecting rhinos in the wild—right now, against armed poachers—and in the long term, through his work with schoolchildren, communities, and policymakers.
Fowlds's straightforward and winning memoir, cowritten with journalist Spence (The Elephant Whisperer), recounts his career in wildlife conservation, focusing on the battle against rhinoceros poaching. Providing brief but helpful context, Fowlds describes his childhood on his family's sheep and cattle ranch in South Africa, where he developed his love for animals. Subsequent sections deal with Fowlds's experiences moving the family business from farming to game ranching and then preservation and tourism. Initially holding "a couple of giraffes, 12 zebras and a herd of impala and blesbok," Amakhala Game Reserve eventually grew to include lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffalos. Fowlds forcefully rails against the "killers... with dart guns and chemicals" who would sneak onto the reserve "under cover of darkness" to hack off the rhinos' horns. He also describes fighting back, with measures that have included extensive rehab for injured rhinos, horse patrols through the bush, and a fact-finding mission to Vietnam, a major destination for the stolen horns, due to their supposed medicinal qualities. With this appealing book, Fowlds issues a stirring call to action and shines a revealing light on the "horrible, howling reality of wildlife crime at the front line." With color photos.