"Every debate is important because it keeps the issue alive, and right now that is critical if rhinos are to survive." Ian Player
The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Conservation Programme was developed by the Wilderness Foundation in 2011 as a response to the rhino poaching crisis and is active through the Rhino Protection Initiative.
The programme is now in the process of being expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant and great white shark conservation initiatives as they represent key species symptomatic of the challenges facing the environments in which they live. By using iconic wildlife species as the flagship to draw attention to challenges facing conservation and wilderness areas across Africa, conservation initiatives can be directed towards these species resulting in the protection of landscapes and the associated wildlife including all the biological components which drive these systems.
The Forever Wild Conservation Programme will continue to work with both state and privately owned protected areas to promote effective management, expansion and innovative means to involve and benefit local communities.
Click here to find out how you can SUPPORT the Forever Wild Conservation Programme...
The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative has deployed six VW Amarok vehicles to various reserves across the Eastern Cape and South Africa to assist in anti-poaching activities.
Due to security constraints, exact details of the vehicles cannot be given to the public, but here are some of our most recent highlights:
In June, one of the VW Amaroks was used at the MkhuzeAirshow in a live simulation of a rhino poaching reaction sequence. This included both the VW Amarok and a helicopter.
The Amaroks have also been used in the deployment of special ops members and tracker dogs following tip-offs, and investigations. A number of suspects have been arrested and poaching equipment confiscated – including many weapons.
The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative received a donation of R41,000 from Mandi Sagorin's Kids Kingdom art school. The funds were raised through an art exhibition fundraiser event. We would like to thank Mandi for her dedication and passion. The funds received will be earmarked to support sniffer dogs in the Eastern and Western Cape. Please read Mandi's story below:
"I am a designer and an Art teacher. I have an art school and I teach kids and adults of various ages. I was sent a very touching mail last year which really had an impact on me. It was written by a Vet - Dr William Fowlds. In it he describes how one of his Rhino's had been poached, had its horn hacked off and was left to die.
The story really touched me and I thought about it for a long time. I asked myself - What can I do? How can I possibly stop the poaching? How can I make a difference? I decided to educate my students in a positive, fun way. I have got all my students to paint, paper-mache and draw Rhino's. We spoke about all the terrible things that humans are doing to the Rhinos, as well as how beautiful they are and how we want them around for many years to come. When I saw the amazing work the kids started producing I decided to hold an Art Exhibition Fundraiser event. All proceeds were to go directly into Rhino Conservation and specifically, Forever Wild – associated with Dr Fowlds.www.foreverwild.co.za.
With assistance from many generous sponsors, the event took place on the 24th November 2013. We had raffle tickets with amazing prizes, entertainment for the kids, an art auction and a speaker. Approximately 350 people attended and we raised just over R41,000-00! Two months later and everyone is still talking about the Exhibition.
This experience taught me to be persistent and fight for what I believe in. Doing something to give back was more rewarding than I ever imagined. A little hard work and passion goes a long way.
Good luck Forever Wild, I hope that we can save these beautiful animals."
The Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative will be able to launch additional aerial support and patrols for anti-poaching activities following the donation of an Aquila Trike on Friday, October 18, 2013 at Shamwari Private Game Reserve.
After hearing about the Foundation’s successful anti-poaching efforts in the Eastern Cape, Andrew Woollon from DemcoTECH Engineering contacted the Foundation and offered to donate this aircraft towards conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
“We selected the Wilderness Foundation because they serve both private and national parks without any particular bias. We thought that the aircraft would be useful for overhead surveillance and monitoring of large areas,” says Woollon.