Anti-Poaching Campaigns & Initiatives

Sun May 20, 2012 8:52 am

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Fundraising blitz to save rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:00 am

2012-05-07 12:02

Johannesburg - The battle against rhino poaching is at a fever pitch in South Africa, the country hardest hit by the scourge, spawning scores of fundraising campaigns running from glamorous to gory.

Carrying a trendy shopping bag or sporting a brightly beaded bracelet have become fashionable ways of flagging awareness of the plight of the rhino, whose horn is used in traditional Asian medicine in the false belief that it has powerful healing properties.

Meanwhile some online campaigns seek donations with visceral images of a hacked rhino lying dead with blood and froth oozing from its eyes and mouth.

The slaughter has reached record levels in South Africa, with more than 200 of the animals killed so far this year after a record 450 in 2011.

Fraudsters

But not everyone is impressed by the seemingly good gestures, with worries about fraudsters and whether donations reach the intended organisations.

"A lot of campaigns have recently surfaced from every direction. Donors should be careful which cause they support," said Pelham Jones, chairperson of the Private Rhino Owners Association, which represents private game reserves.

He said 272 fundraising organisations are now linked to rhino conservation, but he rates only 15% of them as credible.

"Some major corporates have made significant contributions towards various campaigns aimed at saving the rhino," he said. "Other people are just collecting money for their own benefit."

Wildlife organisations and parks are in dire need of resources to improve security and training of anti-poaching personnel and tracker dogs.

Rhino Force - the company founded last year to distribute merchandise like bracelets, scarves, beaded baby rhinos and music CDs - said proceeds of the sales are donated to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, an established charity.

With their heart-tugging slogan, "It's Not a Bracelet... It's Our Heritage," Rhino Force aims to sell one million bracelets throughout the country.

"We can't stand back and allow our heritage to disappear. I believe that each and every one of us can make a difference," Rhino Force founder Joanne Lapin told AFP.

"Each donation matters. I am not doing this for myself," she added. So far, her group has sold 150 000 bracelets, raising about R1.1m ($140 000) for the trust.

Olympic mascot

Highlighting the country's devotion to rhinos, South Africa voted the animal as the official mascot for the national Olympic team.

The tubby beast named Ckukuru, clad in green shorts and a matching T-shirt, has a horn adorned with beads resembling the colours of the Olympic rings and the national flag.

"The fact that the public voted for the rhino as the official mascot shows the level of awareness they have developed around the threat of poaching and the need to stop it," said Vinesh Maharaj, chief financial officer for the national Olympic committee.

Rhino poaching has been woven into the story line of a major soap opera.

A prominent radio station held an on-air public auction for a painting by a member of the Parlotones rock band, fetching R570 000, which organisers say will be used to train tracker dogs.

And one of the country's major banks, Nedbank, offers services that make donations to World Wildlife Fund-South Africa based on a client's financial activity. Since the scheme began in 1990, the bank has donated R115m. The rhino has become the programme's new poster image.

Overall donations to WWF-South Africa jumped nearly 20% last year, to almost R694 000.

Aside from worries about how the money is being used, some are concerned that the campaign might be pushing the price of rhino horns even higher, making the illicit trade even more lucrative.

"We're caught in the spiral of having to take action but then that action is in turn increasing the price of rhino horn and therefore making it more attractive," said Simon Gear of the Lead SA campaign, run by major media.

"In addition to that, I think a lot of the publicity around it has actually publicised quite how valuable these animals are and so criminals before who never thought of poaching are now starting to realise that there is money to be made."


- AFP

Anti-Poaching Campains

Sun May 20, 2012 9:02 am

Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Wild Card Blog
March 5, 2012, 9:32 AM

Rene and Dante Burdych will be trekking to Mount Everest base camp to raise awareness about rhino poaching.
This autumn father-and-son team Rene and Dante Burdych will set off for the Mount Everest base camp. Their mission? To tell the world about the terrible rhino poaching and save our wildlife for the next generation.

Rene Burdych (41) and his son Dante (12) are passionate nature lovers. Living in Henley-on-Klip in the Vaal Triangle, they often travel to Kruger over the holidays. But this year they are going much further – all the way to Nepal to climb up to Everest base camp. Wild asked Rene what inspired them to take on this challenge.

What does nature mean to you?
We have a deep passion for nature and wildlife, any free time we have we try to spend in the mountains or in game reserves like the Kruger National Park. We have been visiting Kruger for years now and our love for this place is just growing. Every trip is different and full of new experiences and memories – that's what makes being in the wild so exiting, so unpredictable and so memorable.

Do you have any favourite memories from Kruger?
We have many great memories that will be with us forever but there are some special ones that stand out. We were very fortunate to witness a zebra giving birth and once we saw a young leopard chasing a squirrel around a tree, Then there was the time we spent two hours next to a pack of wild dogs resting in the shade. And the first time we saw a black mamba!

There are so many great memories that it's difficult to mention them all. Of course seeing a kill for the first time is special but it’s just as fascinating to see the smaller things that nature has to offer. Watching a dung beetle hard at work, seeing a chameleon cross the road or a snake in a tree, and even bumping into a honey badger while going for a walk in the camp.

Next month you will be leaving for Everest and as part of your trip you will be raising awareness around rhino poaching. What motivated you to do so?
Over time we have had many encounters with rhinos. These are always exciting because rhinos are big, magnificent creatures and fascinating to watch.

On our last visit to Kruger in January we saw something we had never seen before and which we found very disturbing. The board for animal sightings in the camp displayed a sign that stated: "In the interest of conservation, rhino sightings will no longer be indicated." It sent out a clear message as to how serious the situation around the rhino poaching really is.

We can't just stand by anymore and that's why we decided to dedicate our trip to creating more awareness of the rhino poaching problem. We have joined forces with Unite Against Poaching and will be carrying their banner and flag to the Mount Everest base camp.

How does Dante feel about your mission?


We are proud that Dante has taken a stand and is passionate about the cause. Because of his age we believe he can be a driving force behind the fight against poaching and will encourage others to do the same and take initiative.

Since childhood I’ve had a deep passion for the mountains and I'm fortunate that Dante shares this passion. He started camping and hiking with me when he was about six years old. For us the mountains are our second home – a great chance to escape and be really close to nature.

Re: Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:04 am

Rene and Dante Burdych have arrived safely in Nepal and have started their trek to Everest Base Camp.

Their itinerary:

They will be leaving South Africa for Kathmandu, Nepal, on 26 April 2012. Situated about 1 400m above sea level, Kathmandu is the gateway to the Himalayas.
On 29 April a short flight will take them to Lukla, from where they will trek to Phakding, 2 640m above sea level. The following day they will take on the steep ascent to Namche Bazaar. Here Rene and Dante will spend two days acclimatising to the altitude of 3 450m.

Their next stop will be Tengboche, situated at 3 860m above sea level, followed by Pheriche (4 280m) and a further two days spent acclimatising. These rest days are essential to help prevent altitude sickness, a reaction of the body to lower amounts of oxygen at high altitudes.

From Pheriche Rene and Dante will trek to Thukla (4 600m) and then Lobuche (4 940m), followed by two rest days for acclimatisation. Their next stop will be Gorak Shep (5 170m) and from here they will summit to Kala Pattar (5 554m). The following day they should reach Mount Everest base camp, situated at 5 400m above sea level – a full 4 000m higher than their starting point in Kathmandu.

“The plan is very flexible and depends on weather conditions and how we acclimatise,” Rene says. “But the goal remains the same: to reach base camp of the highest mountain in the world.”

From their FB page:

26 April:

At the airport about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The Everest trek for rhinos begins in earnest. THANK YOU so much to all the supporters, family, friends and unknown followers, we are so grateful for your encouragement and enthusiasm. We hope to make you proud and we look forward to making a difference. Hopefully we will be able to spread the word about the plight of our rhinos to many more people out there. Next stop Katmandu!!!

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1 May:

Namche bazar 3450m.What a great place.Hard walk to get here but Dante going strong.Tomorrow we will be acclimatizing here.First view of Everest and Lhotse today.Amazing

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2 May:

Here is some more pics from our adventure. Not easy here to get on internet.Tomorrow we will be leaving Namche.Dante is doing well.We very sad about the 199 rhinos poached.We all have to do more.

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Re: Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:06 am

14h31 SA time... 03/05/2012.

We have just got to Dibuche, we have passed Tengboche and we will be sleeping here. The trek from Namche Bazar was very tough and now it is snowing heavily. We are not sure about what progress we will make tomorrow. We have had some amazing views of Everest and Amadablam. This place is amazing! Dante is doing very well so far. Regards from Everest trek for rhinos....

Re: Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:07 am

6 May

Dante and Rene have arrived at Thukla 4600m today and will be spending the night there. They will be leaving for Lobuche tomorrow so far everything has been going according to plan. There has been a lot of snowfalls but they have pushed on. When speaking to Dante he sounded very good and still confident about the trek. Signal is quite bad so messages are short and sweet but if not for a very nice American that they have met there he allowed them to use his satelite to contact the family. So for that i am extremeley grateful. Thank you kind sir!

Re: Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:09 am

7 May

We just got to Lobuche. Dante not feeling great. We may have to retrace back to Thukla. We will see what transpires in the next hour. . Up till now all has been great and Dante is strong. We do have a problem with cell phone signal, Great difficulty getting cell phone signal. Hopefully better signal once we reach Gorak Shep. :) Regards from Team Everest trek for rhinos...Dante says HI to all !!

8 May

Weather not looking good, but fortunately Dante is feeling better

‎9 May

We are now at Gorak Shep. 5003 m!!!! We can see Base Camp and Khumbu Icefall from here. If all goes well tomorrow we will be at Base Camp. Dante is doing so well now and getting lots of admiration, also for his dedication to the rhinos. Regards from Everest trek for Rhinos team

Dante and Rene at Gorak Shep flying the flag for Unite against Poaching!
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5003 metres above sea level
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Re: Climbing Everest for the sake of the Rhino

Sun May 20, 2012 9:13 am

10 May

Dante, his Dad Rene and his uncle from Czech republic reach their destination Everest Base Camp

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Memorial to South African Bruce Herrod who lost his life after summiting Everest in 1996

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Re: Rhino Poaching

Sun May 20, 2012 9:58 am

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GOOD CAUSE: An artwork of a life-size rhino is displayed in a Johannesburg art gallery before it is due to be auctioned in aid of the "Save The Rhino" campaign. (Denis Farrell, AP)

International Year of the Rhino Declared

Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:55 pm

Kim Helfrich

Concern over increased illegal hunting of rhino and the fate of the world’s two rarest rhino species, plus rising demand for rhino horn, has prompted the International Year of the Rhino to be declared.

The call was made by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang in light of the extinction threat facing two rhino species occurring only in his country. His call follows a request from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), supported by other conservation organisations, including the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

“The future survival of both the Javan and Sumatran rhino is dependent on effective conservation action in Indonesia,” said John Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species.

“The announcement by the Indonesian president and related commitments are welcomed. Strong and clear political messages from the highest levels are required to combat the illegal killing and trade in rhino. We hope this initiative by Indonesia will be a catalyst for more high-level political support and commitment to protect rhino in the wild across all countries concerned,” he said.

Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, under whose jurisdiction protection of endangered species falls, said local rhino species were the closest to extinction of all animals in Indonesia.

WWF headquarters in Switzerland said it “hoped” all rhino range countries in Africa and Asia would join Indonesia in giving priority to securing rhino populations.

This year’s IUCN world congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea, in September will also investigate measures encouraging growth in rhino populations, translocation of rhino to protected areas and improving rhino habitat by removing alien plants and providing additional water sources.

The International Year of the Rhino has also been welcomed in South Africa, where poaching continues unabated, with more than 230 killed to date this year.

“The poaching crisis demonstrates there is no single solution to addressing illegal wildlife trade, an increasing global phenomenon,” said Endangered Wildlife Trust CEO Yolan Friedmann.

“It is estimated to be the world’s third largest form of illegal trade and often has its roots in organised, transnational crime.”

kimh@thenewage.co.za