‘Rhinos’ to climb Mount Everest

2014-09-06 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Ryan O’Connor and Liesel Kaumpek are set to climb Mount Everest for the second time in branded rhino costumes to raise funds to combat poaching.

Following a successful 2013 rhino climb campaign where R150 000 was raised, the duo believe they can play an integral part in fighting the rhino poaching war.

In 2013, they were part of a group that climbed up to Mount Everest Base Camp in full rhino suits, and hope to do so again this year.

Nearly 700 rhino have been poached in South Africa this year.

Kaumpek is hopeful she can make a difference regardless of how small a contribution it is.

“Rhino poaching is robbing our nation of its heritage. We need to fight for our rhinos,” she said. “Watching a rhino have a mud bath is an incredible thing. It makes me sad to imagine that if we don’t win this war against rhino poaching people will be robbed of some of the most moving experiences that they could have in the bush.”

O’Connor said he felt obliged to support the rhino cause because wildlife crime and environmental degradation is a global concern.

“We all must stand together in combating this rhino warfare that we are currently experiencing. We are happy we will be joined by a fellow group of Australia-based conservation scientists.”

He said their goal is to raise over R100 000.

Kaumpek said all funds raised go towards the cause. Each participant will pay their own expenses. “Our sponsor is Msunduzi Build-It. We are looking for more sponsors to have their company logos sewn on the rhino suits which we are trekking in up to Everest Base Camp.”

Anyone who wants to donate can contact them at lieselkaumper@yahoo.com and bigsmile4africa@gmail.com.

• khanyisani.dlomo@witness.co.za

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