COMPANIES UNITE TO SAVE RHINOS


WILDLIFE

Wildlife on the African continent is constantly under threat from poachers and big game hunters.  The dwindling numbers mean many creatures have joined the endangered species list and are threatened with extinction.

Sydney’s current Wild in Art event by Taronga Zoo raises awareness of the critical plight facing rhinos. Colourful rhino sculptures painted by artists and their small calves decorated by local schools, are scattered around Sydney from February to April. This spectacular sculpture trail of 125 colourful rhino sculptures highlights the prospect that these magnificent creatures could be wiped out.

Phinda / Munyawana / Zuka Game ReserveRhino poaching in South Africa is at an all time high. In order to protect and save the species, two of Africa’s leading conservation companies, Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond, have joined forces to safely translocate up to 100 rhino from South Africa to the safe haven of Botswana.

“There is a battle for Africa’s wildlife raging as we speak. Rhinos are being poached at a rate of one every nine hours and the official number is 1,004 dead in 2013 alone. The unofficial number, because we simply do not find them all, is well over 1,000. Like everyone, I’ve been watching this desperate situation worsen, which is why Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond have decided to take action” said Dereck Joubert, Great Plains CEO.

Phinda PhotographJoss Kent, &Beyond CEO said “Botswana has an excellent security system in place to protect these endangered animals and will be a safe haven for the relocated rhino. Translocations are fundamental to secure the ongoing survival of endangered species and this ground-breaking project aims to protect the species for future generations to enjoy. A project this size requires a strong partnership and a huge resource pool to pull it off.”

Having successfully translocated six rhino from South Africa to Botswana last year, &Beyond’s conservation team will lend its expertise to the project. Up to 100 rhino will be captured and safely transported from South Africa and released in Botswana’s remote wilderness. Each rhino will be tagged and microchipped for research and monitoring purposes. A dedicated anti-poaching team using the latest technology will work in conjunction with Botswana government agencies to monitor the animals.

This operation will cost US$8 million and both Great Plains Conservation and &Beyond will announce fundraising initiatives to enable tourism stakeholders, travel partners, tour operators and guests to help save this iconic species and ensure Africa’s Big Five remain for future generations to enjoy.

&Beyond is one of the world’s leading luxury experiential travel companies, designing personalised luxury safaris in 15 African countries, as well as India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Great Plains Conservation uses tourism to support the economics of conservation and is continually recognised for its role in harmonising the needs of local communities and wildlife, providing havens for Africa’s wildlife and the ultimate in guest experience. Their seven camps in Botswana and Kenya are leaders in environmental sustainability and community partnership.

The battle to save the rhino from extinction will go on.

Sandra Tiltman 

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