Conservation: 40 skydivers plan sponsored jump to save rhinos

2011-06-22 00:00

THE African Conservation Trust (ACT) is pulling out all the stops to make sure that it helps fight rhino poaching. On average one rhino has been killed every day so far this year.

To raise funds for rhino conservation in the province, 40 jumpers will take part in a “Skydive for Rhinos” on August 6.

ACT spokesperson Sheelagh Antrobus and the CEO of iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, Andrew Zaloumis, will also make the jump.

Interested community members can help by sponsoring a skydiver like first-time jumper, KZN rhino security co-ordinator Jabulani Ngubane.

He told The Witness, “As a person in charge of the rhino security, I need to … raise awareness. In that, we’re saying we’re prepared to put our lives on the block to save the rhinos so that we can buy the necessary equipment.”

Ngubane said he is not nervous about the challenge but very excited to try something new. He said rhino poaching is no longer a problem for conservation organisations only, but a nationwide issue that needs the same attention that Aids is getting.

ACT is mostly targeting business communities for support. Antrobus said people have already pledged over R50 000 to the skydiving initiative.

Antrobus is optimistic that the initiative will bear fruit that will last. “I think this will work because we’re not just asking for money, but we’ll be addressing specific needs.”

The funds will be used for an anti-poaching patrol unit, camera traps, aerial surveillance, rhino identity and micro-chipping.

Ngubane said poaching affects South Africa’s tourism and that without the rhinos the image of the country is affected and “we should not allow this to happen”.

For more information about the Skydive for Rhinos and how you can help, log on to www.projectafrica.com.

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