"Every debate is important because it keeps the issue alive, and right now that is critical if rhinos are to survive." Ian Player
The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative is one of the Wilderness Foundation's advocacy and awareness programmes that was launched in May 2011 in response to the rhino poaching crisis. The initiative is concerned with maintaining populations of free ranging rhino within state and privately managed conservation areas.
The initiative supports conservation agencies and organized private game reserves in protecting their rhino as part of a functioning natural ecosystem. It also aims to focus the attention of politicians and decision-makers and encourage them to apply pressure both nationally and abroad to address the issue of illegal trade in rhino horn and other wildlife products.
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Arrests for rhino poaching this week showed a considerable increase, with 11 alleged poachers being arrested in the eastern half of the country, according to statistics released by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.
The latest arrests bring to 94 the number of people caught for rhino poaching and smuggling rhino horn since 1 January.
Total rhinos poached - 292
The arrests came as the number of rhinos poached since the beginning of the year increased to 292.
The Kruger National park continues to be the worst hit, with the number of rhinos poached since January increasing to 216. In North West province a total of 23 rhinos have been poached, while 20 have been poached in KwaZulu-Natal, 19 in Limpopo and 14 in Mpumalanga.
Ecco Tours and the Shamwari Group recently hosted a golf day at the Milnerton Golf Club, Cape Town, in order to raise further funds for the Wilderness Foundation’s Forever Wild campaign and general awareness for the conservation of the endangered African rhino.
The golf day was supported by the travel and tourism industry that are naturally passionate about conserving Africa’s resources, wildlife and conservation. The event raised an astonishing amount of R135 000 towards this worthy cause.
On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Pilanesberg National Park in the North West Province received a much-welcomed boost from the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative in the form of three vehicles for its anti-poaching unit.
Two of the fully equipped vehicles will be used by anti-poaching teams to patrol the park, while the other will be used by the K9 anti-poaching dog unit. The K9 vehicle has been equipped with two dog transportation crates for the deployment of dogs in any location within the park. With an area of 550km², it is the fourth largest park in South Africa.
The Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative is a project of the Wilderness Foundation. The initiative is concerned with maintaining populations of free ranging rhino within state and privately managed conservation areas.