In the minds of animal lovers across the world, South Africa is synonymous with ‘The Big Five’.
Tourists from all over the world continue to flock to the country, mainly because they want to see the lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard roaming around freely in their natural habitat. In doing so, these tourists create job opportunities for many South Africans.
Unfortunately, it seems that in the foreseeable future South Africa might only be able to boast with its ‘Big Four’.
The number of rhinos that are being poached in South Africa increases monthly despite all the government and other attempts to curb it.
It has been reported that a total of 367 rhinos have been killed during the first five months of this year.
With only about 20 000 rhinos remaining, the extinction of the South African Rhino is looming.
Last year 668 rhinos were killed, compared to 448 in 2011.
With the black market price of rhino horn, now reportedly in the region of $30,000 per pound ($65,000 per kg), which is more than the price of gold, trafficking has become a huge global business.
Despite the tightening of security measures and a range of strategies devised to counter the gruesome trend, there is no sign of the onslaught letting up.
According to a worst case scenario prediction, up to 911 rhinos could be killed in South Africa this year.
Fortunately, there are many people who are not prepared to give up the fight to save the South African rhino.
Two such people are Sonja and Hano Otto from TriSport. They have approached Nedbank with proposals for a two-day trail run event (20 and 21 July) and a two-day mountain-bike event in October, both at the Legend Entabeni Safari Lodge in Limpopo.
Because these events will be sponsored by Nedbank, all entry fees will be donated directly to the WWF Nedbank Green Trust Rhino Programme’s Rhinos and Community Project, which is running outside the Kruger National Park and working with the communities outside major rhino areas to reduce rhino poaching. The majority of rhinos in South Africa are in the Kruger Park and that’s where most of the poaching has happened.
The Otto’s hope that more than R1 million will be donated towards the conservation of the rhino during the first year of these two events.
“We are planning to turn these two races into international events next year, to make people from all over the world aware of the plight of the rhino,” said Sonja Otto.
“The Nedbank Green Trust Logo is: ‘Make save the Rhino happen’. We are striving to make this logo a reality.”
“When you keep on hearing about rhinos that are being poached, you realize that a part of South Africa’s heritage is in danger of being lost forever.
“There is a real danger that, if this tendency is not reversed, there will soon be only a ‘Big Four’ left for South Africans to talk about. This will certainly not be fair to the generations to come. It is their right also to see rhinos in their natural habitat.”
The Otto’s could not have selected a more beautiful venue for their trail-running and mountain-biking events.
Nowadays it is no longer strangefor trail runners and mountain bikers to encounter all sorts of wild life during races, but the chance of a race having to be stopped to allow elephantsto walk past, or for lions do their thing, is certainly not a common experience.
However, during the Nedbank Save the Rhino events chances are very good that this will happen.
That is why not just anybody will be allowed to be a marshal during the event.
Only qualified game rangers with a thorough knowledge of the habits of Africa’s Big Five will be appointed.
Game rangers will be monitoring the movement of the lions for 24 hours a day for the full duration of the event to make sure that the runners will be safe while running.
Therefore, to make a long story short, if you are a runner, a nature lover and an adrenaline junkie, the Nedbank Save the Rhino is a must-do for you.
The Legend Golf and Safari Resort, Entabeni Conserve, Limpopo, is situated in the World Heritage ‘Waterberg Biosphere’ of the Waterberg Mountain Region.
The Entabeni Conservancy offers a 22 000 ha malaria free, big five game reserve and boasts with five eco-systems.
The upper escarpment offers breath-taking rock formations and wide open grass plains. The 1 900 ft cliffs separate the lower from the upper escarpment and comprises of wet and savannah grasslands.
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