Spreading the news

Hannah and Darius at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Hannah and Darius at Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

The Piper’s tragic tale of the South African rhino killed for her horn has gone global, with one Deeside ex-pat living in Australia contacting the game reserve affected after reading our story online.

Last week, we reported how former Aboyne Academy pupil Hannah Mellet, 25, had moved to South Africa to help run the Ubizane Wildlife Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, with husband, Darius.

Tragedy struck, however, following the discovery of a dead female rhino, butchered by poachers. Her five-year-old calf is now seldom seen as it is too scared by the sounds of humans and their vehicles.

After we published the story on our website, Hannah was contacted by Dian Stevenson, from Brisbane, who also attended Aboyne Academy in the years before Hannah was a pupil, and whose father was former Aboyne postmaster Bill Thomson.

She said: “I still try to keep up to date with Scottish news on the internet. Today I was amazed to find an article about rhino poaching at Ubizane on the Piper newspaper website. Your story has now made it to Australia too! I just wanted to express our sorrow at the loss of your white rhinos. They are magnificant animals. The poaching is needless and makes us so very sick and angry. We have been lucky to see white rhino on several occasions during our trips to Botswana, Zambia and three trips to Namibia over the past few years. We are well aware of the problems facing the species. We feel completely helpless. Hopefully your story will help to bring the rhino’s predicament to a much wider audience - such is the power of the internet.”

Hannah replied to Dian: “I am so so thrilled to hear from you. What a great way to reach such a broad audience. It is amazing to think this story has reached Australia already!”