Mike Wright pledged to raise R1 for every like he got on an Instagram of him in swimwear while kitted out in anti-poaching gear; the post got more likes than he expected!


Hoedspruit, South Africa (31 January 2020) – Mike Wright grew up visiting a game reserve near Hoedspruit. Spending every school holiday day there, his love of wildlife was cemented from a young age. To this day he still visits.

Recently he watched as his friend geared up for an anti-poaching patrol and was weighed down by all the protective gear and weapons. Mike decided to wear the gear for a photo and pledged that for every like he got, he would donate R1.00.

Over 11,000 likes later; Mike realised he was in for more than he could personally afford. He quickly set up a crowdfund to raise the balance to honour his pledge.

“I recently posted a photo on Instagram pledging to pay R1.00 for every like that the post received; the post subsequently received over 11 000 likes, meaning that I am trying to raise R11 000.

The post came about after I watched a friend of mine dressed in full camouflage, wielding an AK-47 with a red-dot sight, and being weighed down by a bulletproof vest, set out on an evening patrol.

For many years I have gone to a game reserve near Hoedspruit. I grew up there during my holidays, pointing my infant-fingers at hyena and lion, unaware of the dangers that the bush presents.”

Mike learned about why poaching is so disastrous not only for the species affected but also the food chain as a whole.

“I got older and became more vested in the bush. As my chiropractor told me today, there is just a brutal honesty in the bush. The brutal honesty is ruled by a natural food chain of which life revolves around. You live or you die, there is no real middle ground.

This brutal honesty stops when the killing occurs outside of the food chain. Poaching, specifically rhino poaching, often occurs due to non-diet related reasons, by non-food chain inhibiting specimens (foreign humans). Demand for rhino horn is leading to the poaching of rhino (naturally), and the animals are being shot ubiquitously.

Not too many years before I watched my friend march into the thick foliage present in the December period, those who lived on the game reserve would have served as game rangers, carrying a hunting rifle for safety, possibly a Leatherman.

It was this sight of a fully militarised game ranger friend that made my head spin, and I realised just how desperately these guys need any help they can get.”

He knew that while the money he is raising won’t make a big difference, it will make a difference.

“Whether the money goes towards training, aeroplane or helicopter scouting flights, or even just extra clean uniforms that will decrease the time pressures that they face in mundane daily routine, it will all go towards the protection of the rhino and, in turn, all other animals that live in the same area.

I know that my R12 000 isn’t a huge sum of money in the larger scheme of things (with regards to the funding that other anti-poaching programs receive), but it is the most that I can personally do with the help of those around me

Every bit of money helps in this war against poaching, whether it goes towards weaponry training, petrol for surveillance flights, or equipment for those o the ground.”

Mike never dreamed that a simple photo in his tight swimwear would cause such a stir and be the catalyst for change!

You can help him reach the goal of R12,000 via his BackaBuddy here. Already he has raised R9,681.00 towards the goal.


View this post on Instagram


Standing in a riverbed looking like a mixture between Faf de Klerk and Rambo, with the sun just glinting off The Snake (the name of the AK-47 in my hands), I simply cannot deny that this is an incredible picture; however, while incredible, I am so very nonchalantly posing with this specific equipment to raise a bit of awareness (and hopefully some funds). I stand with the gun that is normally gripped by a close friend of mine, and the vest that would hang from his shoulders.. a friend who has now committed his life to a mini (not so mini) war against poaching in South Africa. He has chosen to protect the bush and the animals that live in it, specifically rhinos. Sure, I am taking the piss by wearing a Budgy Smuggler (and I realise the irony of the name RE: animal smuggling), but I know that these items are carried by this particular friend everyday, and will one day save his life, and that me wearing his gear in this fashion would truly harpoon a riveting image into the eyes of the beholder. I have decided to support his team, his anti-poaching unit, by sending through R1 for every like this post gets. If the post somehow gets picked up by those outside of my following, leading to me being in a charitable debt of a million ronds, then I’d happily fundraise aggressively to achieve the target (so feel free to share). Additionally, if anyone else would like to donate to his team of whom directly protects the Balule area, and indirectly protects the surrounding Klaserie and greater Kruger areas due to natural animal migration, then please send me through a message and I’ll give you the relevant details needed to make an informed donation (probably through me). 🦁📈🦏 it seems as though it is safer to be known as a poacher amongst civilians in this country than an anti-poacher, so his exact unit and name will he kept private 🤝 the joys of organised crime. Power. 📸: @jessmakesyourday https://www.backabuddy.co.za/mike-wright

A post shared by Mike Wright (@mikeyiswright) on

Sources: Instagram / BackaBuddy (Linked Above)
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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