ISUZU RHINO DEHORNING PROJECT
The Isuzu Rhino Dehorning Project sponsored by General Motors and Isuzu, took place at Blue Canyon Conservancy near Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province, during last week.
Amongst other attendees, including media representatives, Johan van der Walt CEO of Safari Link & Wildlife South Africa® was privileged to have been invited by Saatchi & Saatchi, who co-ordinated the event.
South Africa’s Rhinos are being wiped out by criminals and warlords. During the last 6 years more than 5000 Rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa and predictions are that this year alone more than 1500 Rhinos will be slaughtered. These figures do not include the number of orphaned Rhino calves dying due to their mothers being killed. The way Rhino poaching is escalating in South Africa will bring about that we will have no Rhinos left in the wild within 15 to 20 years, maybe sooner, unless we can find a solution to this catastrophe to slow down and hopefully stop the slaughter.
This Rhino Dehorning Project (an anti-poaching initiative) sponsored by Isuzu (General Motors) in partnership with Nkombe Rhino (NkombeRhino.org), a non-profit organisation dedicated to wild life conservation, was done to help ensure the safety of the White Rhinoceros in the Blue Canyon Conservancy, near Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province.
To involve the local community by making them aware of the plight of the Rhino, a group of school children from the neighbouring community were also invited to attend the dehorning operation.
Rugby star Joe Pietersen, co-founder of Nkombe Rhino showed his dedication to wildlife conservation and Rhino preservation with his hands-on approach during the few days of the Project. Also showing their dedication and leadership during the few days of the project, was the rest of the Nkombe Rhino Team including Martin Meyer (co-founder of Nkombe Rhino), Tim Parker (dedicated conservationist and Ranger, with more than 30 years’ experience) and Chris Prinsloo.
Top wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Pete Rogers and Janelle Goodrich, from ProVet Wildlife Services were instrumental in ensuring the Rhino dehorning operation went smoothly.
Participating hands-on was also a Government official from Limpopo Province to observe the entire operation as well as to ensure that everything was done legally and above board.
A fleet of Isuzu KB 300 4x4 Double Cab bakkies were provided by Isuzu as support vehicles in the operation to track and dart the rhinos. Marius van Vuuren and his team from the Isuzu Off-Road Academy and Driving Dynamics were also present to assist.
Gishma Abrahams Johnson (Corporate Communications Manager at General Motors South Africa), Lunga Ntsendwana (Product Communications Manager General Motors South Africa), Isuzu Brand Manager Mlungisi Nonkonya and other representatives of Isuzu and General Motors were present at the event.
The superb canvas en-suite tented accommodation and scrumptious meals were provided by Chiefs Luxury Safari Tented Camps (a fully inclusive mobile “safari” styled canvas tented camp operator in South Africa), whose manager (Chad) and staff looked after even the smallest details such as electric blankets on the beds.
Wi-Fi was supplied at the tented camp during the course of the Project.
General Motors South Africa and Isuzu were the sponsors of this Rhino Dehorning Project, which was very efficiently and smoothly co-ordinated by Heidi Nelson and the dedicated Team from Saatchi & Saatchi.
Get involved and help save South Africa’s Rhinos. Do what you can – even the smallest gesture will help.
Johan van der Walt
Safari Link & Wildlife South Africa®
All photos copyright Johan van der Walt.