RhinoThe Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries have given a R232.2 million grant to Peace Parks Foundation to combat rhino poaching in Southern Africa.

The majority of the funding would be spent on enhancing existing efforts to protect rhino in South Africa, which hosts 83% of the continent’s wild rhino population, the department said. The main focus will be the devaluation of the horns of live rhino, through a combination of methods, including the physical devaluation and contamination of the horn, as well as the use of tracking and monitoring technology.

In September 2012, Ezemvelo became the first state conservation agency in Africa to trial the treatment of rhino horn in KwaZulu Natal to deter the rampant poaching of this species. Not a single rhino has been lost in the reserves where the treatment was piloted.

The project will include intelligence gathering and technology applications, such as conservation drones and other specialist equipment, as well as training and capacity building.

“This is the largest single contribution made by the private sector to combat rhino poaching and wildlife crime. We welcome this public-private partnership to help ensure the survival of the species,” said Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa. “This very generous donation gives new hope to save our rhino. I believe this grant from the Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries will be the catalyst to turn the tide on rhino poaching and wildlife crime.”

“Peace Parks Foundation was established in 1997 to assist the region’s governments in their development of transfrontier conservation areas. Our biggest supporter in this endeavour has been the Dutch Postcode Lottery and more recently the Swedish Postcode Lottery,” said Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Werner Myburgh. “We thank the lotteries and their players for this tremendous support to combat wildlife crime and we look forward to working with the southern African governments in ensuring the survival of the region’s rhino.”

From : Tourismupdate

6 February 2014