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Dad killed for poaching

“My dad was shot dead by rangers in South Africa when he was poaching rhinos last year. I miss him every day,” says Ronaldo, 13, in one of the villages at Limpopo National Park in Mozambique with many poachers.

Dad and I were best friends, and it feels very empty without him. At the same time, I’m really angry with him for going to South Africa as a poacher and getting killed. I hate poaching. It’s wrong to kill animals because they’re innocent and can’t speak up for themselves. And it’s against the law to kill animals. I wish my dad had done something different, but he did it because we’re poor.

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Ronaldo’s dad was shot to death when he was hunting for rhinos.

Live alone

“Mum and I live alone now, and nothing is like it used to be anymore. My two younger sisters have moved to my aunt’s in another part of the country, because mum couldn’t take care of all her children herself. Mum goes fishing and sells the catch at the market in town. Sometimes we have enough money, sometimes not, and I often go to bed hungry.

I’m in year 6 now and my uncles help pay my school fees, but we can’t afford a school uniform. Sometimes I get teased because of it. The others say that I’m poor and that makes me sad. But there are lots of other children in school just like me. They don’t have a dad at home anymore either, because they’ve been caught poaching and been shot or put in prison. Men usually earn more than women here, so when the dad disappears it’s really hard for the mum to take care of her family alone."

“I’ll never be a poacher. On the weekends I help grandad with the cattle, but my dream is to be an engineer. And I love playing football, it’s the best thing ever!”

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