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Jozini Dam swim for rhinos a success

Jay Azran, general manager of Swaziland’s Royal Jozini Big 6 Game Development, successfully completed the first-ever attempt to swim 2.5km across the Jozini Dam along the South Africa–Swaziland border on Saturday 28 June 2014, braving hippos, crocodiles and tiger fish in the name of cross-border rhino conservation.

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R75 000 has already been raised for rhino anti-poaching efforts in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa by this Swaziland-based conservationist and Jay is hoping that more pledges will come through for Project Rhino KZN, now that he’s completed this open-water swim challenge.

He completed the distance in less than 40 minutes and was welcomed by his daughter Jordana who was waiting on the far banks for him. “I was worried about the wind-factor on the waters of Jozini Dam, which does create big waves and could turn a reasonably short swim into a marathon-attempt,” he said. “However Saturday morning dawned clear and wind-free and that made my job a lot easier.”

“The swim went well, the support for the event was fantastic and I would like to thank all who attended especially the eight support boats with crew from both Swaziland and South Africa: having them there definitely took my mind off the presence of crocodiles and hippos.”

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Project Rhino KZN representatives who crossed the border last Saturday to show their support to Jay came from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, WESSA, the Game Rangers Association of Africa, the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation, African Conservation Trust, Wildlife ACT and Space for Elephants.

Whilst Jay’s fundraising efforts for rhinos in KwaZulu-Natal deserve every accolade possible according to Sheelagh Antrobus, Project Rhino KZN Coordinator, what is equally important is the forging of cross-border friendships against a common enemy.

“Cross-border cooperation is absolutely crucial if we’re going to turn the tide on rhino poaching in South Africa, and other countries equally affected by ruthless poaching syndicates targeting other endangered species. This pioneering effort by Jay – a single individual who was prepared to do something extraordinary for rhinos in a neighbouring country – is already helping to forge better cooperation between KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland.”

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Jay says his wife Ruth and children Jordana (6) and Kaden (2) were very supportive prior to his Jozini swim. “But we are all relieved that it is over. I must thank our main sponsor SA Fence & Gate who contributed R20 000 towards Project Rhino KZN as well as our sub sponsors CSI International, Barloworld Pinetown, Kulu-Crete, Hazcall 24 and all those individuals who made personal pledges.’’

A guaranteed 100% of all proceeds will be donated to Project Rhino KZN and will be used for direct anti-poaching and rhino conservation strategies that are approved by all 18 member organisations.

What can you do to help?

Make your pledge of support to the following:

Unity Properties (Pty) Ltd

Standard Bank

Account No: 251175138

Branch Code: 042826

Ref: Project Rhino KZN

All donations will be verified by Project Rhino KZN with duplicate acknowledgement that funds have been received.

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