Howick rallies for rhino survival

2013-04-25 00:00

STAFF at the Village Talk newspaper in Howick have presented East Coast Radio’s KZN Rhino Watch with a R34 000 cheque.

Mandy Steel and Colleen Villiger made the presentation to Darren Maule of The Breakfast Stack to the delight of the organisers of Rhino Watch. Steel said they were inspired to act after the spate of poaching incidents last year and wanted to help in some way.

“We realised that everyone can do something, so we thought, let’s get our Howick community together and raise funds as a community thing. From there we sold T-shirts and everyone got together; everyone was very supportive — and within a few months we had raised the R34 000!”

Villiger said the campaign kicked off with an advertising campaign for which they sold advertising space to local businesses as part of a four-page pullout on the issue of rhino poaching.

“The money from that kick-started the fund. The schools got involved, private individuals came and just donated money.

“We want to make a special mention of the Sunfield Home for Handicapped Adults. They held a number of fundraising projects for Rhino Watch and our hearts go out to them; they did a wonderful job.”

Villiger said the results speak for themselves and she thanked the Howick community. “It was a wonderful, heartwarming project.”

A massive thank-you to Howick’s Village Talk newspaper and to the Howick community for stepping up and getting involved.

This money will keep the KZN Rhino Watch helicopter in the air for another six weeks at least.

At Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, this past week has once again been quiet with no further poaching incidents.

King Shaka Aviation pilot Kyle Shuttleworth said he had been flying in the Wilderness area, making sure that the fences were still in good repair and checking where the rangers cannot get to.

“I’ve been patrolling a lot at quite a low level, checking that everything’s still quiet and sound on the Wilderness front.”

Outside the park, Shuttleworth has been flying over inhabited areas near the boundary fence to show local residents that the chopper is still operational and to keep the pressure on.

The toll for KZN is 18 rhinos lost so far this year, while nationally it stands at 232 — reminders of why we are all doing whatever we can to keep the chopper in the air.

Thank you to Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife for supplying all the fuel to keep the chopper airborne and to Acumen Capital for giving us the first R300 000 donation back in September last year to kick-start this project.

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