On Saturday, 23rd January at the Sea Point Promenade, under the banner of Awesome South Africans, multiple Rhino and Wildlife activists got together to discuss the rhino war and to share ideas. The event was named Rhino Indaba in the Park.
‘Awesome South Africans’ was started by Patrick Cromwell and highlights South Africans who have done extraordinary things while making a difference.
Anton Fouche walked a life-sized fibre glass rhino from the Limpopo province to Cape Town last year and covered a distance of 1,500km. His mission was to educate the local communities about the rhino poaching situation. “I wanted to show people that this magnificent animal gets killed just because of its horn. This false belief that the horn has power to cure a variety of diseases needs to change,” said Fouche.
Vanessa Wiesenmaeir and her sister Vicky cycled over 6,000km from Hong Kong to Singapore in their Buy No Rhino demand reduction campaign last year. “Our focus was Vietnam because 80% of rhino horn is used there. We spoke to 6,500 children, especially in international schools, getting the message out that rhino horn is not medicine, nor should be used as a status symbol. Often the people in the Far East don’t even know that there is a dead animal behind the rhino horn,” explained Wiesenmaeir.
Wayne Bolton is currently on his nationwide 6,000km adventure cycling to all 19 SANParks gates on a conservation drive to show appreciation and raise money for the park rangers. He is also raising money for Care for Wild Africa, a rhino calf orphanage near Nelspruit. Wayne believes that the ordinary South African has a role to play in protecting the rhinos and that it is not only up to the rangers. “We would like all South Africans to get involved and give a thought to the role they have in conservation and protecting the environment,” said Bolton.
Braam Malherbe, MyPlanet Ambassador and the founder of the MyPlanet Rhino Fund, just got back from anti-poaching training at the Southern African Wildlife College, where he learned more about the anti-poaching units and gained a lot of skills in anti-poaching techniques. “To see ordinary people that become activists, showing their support by actions, really warms my heart and gives me hope for our planet. As I say in my motivational talks, the difference between extraordinary and ordinary is the word extra,” said Malherbe. Braam and his campaign, Do One Thing (DOT), continues to inspire people to take action and do more for our Earth.
The four activists took pictures together, did some interviews and walked behind George the rhino. That caught the attention of the walkers on the promenade and people stopped to ask questions.
After the four discussed the rhino issues, they made plans as to how George the rhino could get to Vietnam to do an educational tour. Anton would like to walk around communities there and spread the message of demand reduction. “I want to visit schools where Vanessa and Vicky visited a year back, and get them to see a life-size rhino,” said Fouche.
“Our planet is just a dot in the universe. We are just dots on our planet, but if we all Do One Thing (DOT), we can reshape Earth’s destiny,” said Malherbe. “I encourage all of you to do one thing by signing up for a free MyPlanet card; we will make sure your donation goes to best practices to win the rhino war,” concluded Malherbe.
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