#WorldRhinoDay has come and gone, as has CITES CoP17, and as the end of 2016 draws to a close, it seems the world has a serious case of rhino fatigue. But no matter how tired we get of hearing about rhinos, there are some people that can’t afford to tire.
Those people are the rangers that no matter how bleary eyed and weary, lace up their boots, harness their dogs and head out into the bush to track and trail poachers in the blazing heat.
And in an effort to support these heroes, I put together a Dog Food Drive – for the love of dogs and rhinos – to try and get the public to put their money behind the mouths of Kruger National Park’s anti-poaching canines. Through the donation of dog food I thought that we, as the general public, could channel some of our anger, fatigue, and feelings of helplessness into something tangible. By the simple act of providing food for the ‘rhino dogs’ other vital funding can be spent on other necessary and innovative ways of protecting our rhinos.
So on #WorldRhinoDay the Dog Food Drive kicked off and I was overwhelmed by the show of support. People came from around South Africa to lend their hands with drop-off points, transport, collections and monetary donations. In total, over 240 bags were collected and funded through donations, to the equivalent of R140,000 worth of food for the dogs. A fantastic showing that should go towards feeding all the working dogs in the park for over half the year!
Some notable mentions include Yuppiepet for graciously opening up a space on their website as an online donation portal; BKB Louwid for donating a portion of the money raised at their recent auction to the tune of ZAR10,000; Chameleon Books for holding a garden party and book sale in the name of the canine unit; Shinzelle Safaris, Ullman Sails, and Hino Middelburg for transport of the food; MAKRO Nelspruit and their customers whose contributions counted up to a fantastic total of ZAR14,200; Twisted Whiskers Pet Deli & Spa for being the drop-off point with the most bags – a total of 35; Hills Pet Nutrition for their vital and ongoing support of the dogs; the SANParks Honorary Rangers for everything they do to protect our national parks and the species that call them home; and above all every person, vet and business that opened up their arms to serve as drop-off points, spread the word, or got involved with making a donation or dropping off a bag. There are too many of you to mention, but each and every one of you deserves sloppy doggy kisses and enough furry cuddles to last you a lifetime!
To continue to show your support for the anti-poaching canines of Kruger, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Wishlists are available for those wishing to contribute to the needs of the centre, as are the bank details for anyone wishing to make a monetary donation – every little bit goes directly to the activities on the ground and the support of these dogs, their handlers, the rangers and to saving our rhinos.