South Africa’s world renowned Kruger National Park is home to the majority of the planet’s rhino population.
Our Horn is NOT Medicine (OHNM) is a project of the Southern African Wildlife College, located within the Greater Kruger National Park (KNP) area.
OHNM’s main aim is to create awareness about the rhino poaching crisis and to raise funds in support of the College’s work. In doing so, it helps raise funds for aerial surveillance and K-9 support, which serves high incursion areas of the southern and central Kruger.
Through the generosity of many, we have been able to keep these projects running at great success.
Lee-Anne Yammin (nee Davis) was working as a safari guide for AndBeyond Travel, where she was based at Ngala Private Nature Reserve, which lies within the Greater Kruger.
In 2012 Lee-Anne was directly affected by rhino poaching after she found her first carcass while on safari with her guests. It was at this time that Lee-Anne felt that she had to “do something”. Since her job as a guide allowed her to have daily interaction with travellers from all over the world, she realised that she could create a direct link from her guests to the people doing the work on the ground.
Lee-Anne soon got her team of Ngala guides involved in the cause and together they created awareness, and eventually funding for local projects that they found effective to their area of work. This led to the development of the OHNM campaign with its own distinct identity and logo.
OHNM became a large supporter of the aerial surveillance project (then known as the Bathawk Project) as well as the K-9 Unit which was developed with the support of WWF-SA at the end of 2015. Because of the relationship that OHNM created with the Southern African Wildlife College over the years, it only seemed fit that they merge these awareness and fundraising efforts. Thus in March 2019, Lee-Anne announced that she would be taking a sabbatical to travel and continue with her quest to raise funds. After discussions with the SAWC it was agreed that she should join their team.
After joining the College full time at the outset of 2020, Lee-Anne continues her work as the campaign manager for Our Horn is not Medicine.
OHNM’s approach to creating awareness and funding is based on the SAWC’s four-tiered approach to counter poaching, especially poaching of targeted species such as rhino:
The SAWC has its own light sports aircraft and trains rangers in ground to air communication so the rangers can communicate with the plane which can monitor rhino movements as well as have a birds eye-view of the poachers on the ground (when operational). The plane can guide rangers into the location of either a rhino carcass or poachers hiding/running from the rangers. The SAWC’s pilot conducts training in support of wildlife pilots and ground to air patrol training at the College. In addition, the plane is also used to: Monitor animal movements thereby supporting research being conducted by the SAWC’s applied learning unit, assist in rescue operations of orphaned rhino and to support de-horning projects for the clients it helps support.Learn more about our aerial support
The dogs are trained in human tracking and rangers are trained to be dog handlers. Adding the K9 asset to the ranger team has enabled the rangers on the ground to be more effective and have more successes. The addition of free tracking and apprehension dogs has proved to be a game changer.
The dogs have done tracks from two kilometre to 28 kilometres. Their average speed is 12 km/h and we have recorded top speeds of 41km/h. As part of the College’s learning by doing approach, the K9 teams are involved in live operations which have helped prevent rhinos from being poached by either tracking down the poachers or disrupting them.Learn more about our K9 Unit
Ensuring conservation is people-centred, environmentally sound, and economically viable is essential. Not only do our training programmes include this inclusive understanding of conservation, but the College itself showcases this in its vision and mission by promoting diversity of people and thought. One of the key strategies being implemented is the development of the biodiversity economy to secure people’s livelihoods, which in turn will ensure the continuation, development and expansion of wildlife areas.
This requires innovative approaches, buoyed by our Rural Initiatives for a Sustainable Environment Unit (RISE) unit. Furthermore, sponsored training and skills development within communities as well as support for community initiatives helps create opportunities for people whilst breaking down barriers and building a better understanding of conservation.Learn more about our community
Through testing and ensuring best practice for conservation organisations, the SAWC remains abreast of current conservation challenges, and has expanded the SAWC field ranger training base, to include both aerial surveillance and a canine capability. These two units are seen as foundational building blocks of the College’s four-tiered approach to counter poaching. Without these aspects, our rangers will not be able to be trained to the level they need in order to be fully effective in the field and achieve the successes they are currently having.
In 2019 Lee-Anne and her husband Scott, travelled to the USA for a third year to attend the fundraisers that her guests had so graciously put together in Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles. The events of 2019 raised enough funding to purchase an additional Savanna aircraft that now patrols a large part of the KNP.
OHNM has become a successful campaign due to the relationships that Lee-Anne was able to form through her years as a guide at Ngala and she continues to maintain those relationships. ‘It has been wonderful to have so many of you ride along with us on this journey as this project has grown so much since 2012. I am so grateful to have the continued support of so many people from all over the world and we hope that everyone feels as proud of this work as we do’, says Lee-Anne.
Lee-Anne believes that the joy of the safaris she experienced alongside her guests is what sparked that primal bond of wanting to protect the natural world even more for these visitors. It is these gracious and valued people who have become OHNM’s biggest supporters.
Account name: SAWC Our Horn is Not Medicine
Account number: 2729 870 18
Account type: Standard Bank – Business current account
Branch name: Hoedspruit
Branch code: 05 27 52