Anna Mussi - Powerful People Can Make a Dramatic Difference to Achieve the Change We Want to See (Manager, Rhino Revolution, South Africa)

Anna Mussi

Rhino Revolution is committed to ensuring that any animal that goes through the rehabilitation process can be successfully released back into the wild to live a normal life.

1. Tell us more about yourself and your life.

Originally from the UK, I arrived in South Africa to work with African Dream Horse Safaris combining my love for horses with the African bush. Then followed 4 years working with renowned wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Peter Rogers at his practice, ProVet Wildlife Services, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience of surgical procedures, emergency, and routine healthcare and laboratory testing for various small animals as well as wildlife. 

With a background in Horse Racing, I had been following Rhino Revolution’s Mounted Anti-Poaching Unit closely and jumped at the chance to join the team in 2019. Since joining, I have had the privilege to raise orphaned baby rhinos and watch them grow to be released into the wild. We are also fortunate to monitor on horseback previously released orphans, of which two females are now pregnant. 

I have been lucky to be part of operations dehorning over 150 rhino to protect them in the Greater Kruger area. In the last 2 years, it has been incredibly special working with Pangolin, the world's most trafficked mammal, and as well as rehabilitating and releasing them, we strive to work collaboratively with other organizations to expand research on these elusive animals and help prevent them from being poached.

2. What led you to the creation of the Rhino Revolution?

Rhino Revolution was founded in 2012 by the concerned citizens of Hoedspruit, including respected rhino conservationists and private nature reserve owners, who came together to try and reduce the escalating poaching crisis in this critically important rhino conservation area. What started as a community-based action group, is now an internationally recognized NPO. 

I joined in 2019, and am very proud that we take a holistic approach, through community engagement, anti-poaching, and education through the provision of a world-class Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre. This is run as a closed facility, to keep human contact to a minimum, as it is our aim to release the rescued animals back into the wild, as undomesticated, self-sustaining individuals.

Rhino Revolution has expanded to also be a registered rehabilitation center for Pangolin, working alongside top veterinarians and experts in the field of pangolin research, and focusing on post-release monitoring as non-invasively as possible. 

3. What is that one cause you care deeply about and why?

The one thing I care deeply about is repopulating the wild numbers of endangered species. One of the things Rhino Revolution is committed to being ensuring any animal that goes through the rehabilitation process does so in order to successfully be released back into the wild and live a normal life. We are also committed to community engagement and education, as it is the hope that poaching can be prevented through working with both young and old generations.

4. If one wants to contribute and make a difference in social causes and animal care, how can one do it?

Rhino Revolution has a website, as well as Facebook and Instagram. You can follow us on all platforms, or get in touch with us to find out how to support, fundraise, volunteer, and share awareness of our organization's many efforts!

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has" Margaret Mead (American anthropologist). 

5. Who is your role model and why?

Dr. Ian Player was an inspirational South African conservationist, renowned for saving the southern white rhino, the first time around in the 1950s. When Umfolozi Game Reserve established in 1897, there were only about 50 southern white rhinos left in the world, all of them on the reserve. 

By the time Ian Player began work there, the population had recovered somewhat to under 500, but the animal’s future still looked bleak.  He fought a defensive battle to save the rhinos from extinction and before the most recent poaching onslaught started a few years ago, as a result of his tireless efforts, there were 20,000 in South Africa alone.  

6. What are some of the challenges and roadblocks you have faced along your journey?

There are so many challenges in the conservation world; the biggest would be funding at the moment due to donor fatigue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from that, I have found that many organizations choose to be non-collaborative, which is unhelpful when we all strive to safeguard the future of specific species. In an ideal world, funding, research, protocols, and help would all be shared for the greater good; with the one goal of working together to save a species. 

7. Your opinion about the current condition and situation of Rhino's around the world and how they are being safeguarded? 

Rehabilitating animals, be they endangered or not, is incredibly rewarding. However, I feel rehabilitation and rewilding is just a “band-aid to patch up a greater problem". When looking at the bigger picture, we have to prevent poaching or try, in as many ways as possible, to reduce poaching from happening in the first place. 

Anti-poaching includes a combination of many efforts such as dehorning rhinos and mounted horseback patrols to ward off poachers as implemented by RR. Dehorning rhinos is not a long-term solution but that it does disincentivize poaching in the short term. 

Even though statistically, the number of rhinos being killed may be decreasing, the proportion of the rhino population killed every year is still increasing. 
I truly believe the impossible can happen, and that political parties around the globe should speak out against rhino poaching, make sentences harsher for the crime, and reduce corruption within the various governments involved. "Powerful people can make a dramatic difference to achieve the change we [Rhino Revolution] want to see.”

Anna Mussi

Anna Mussi

Anna Mussi - Orphanage Manager | Rhino Revolution

Interviewed By: Nishad Kinhikar

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