Rocking and riding for rhinos

2013-06-08 00:00

BIKE riding and rock ’n roll have come together to save the rhino.

“Rock ’n Ride 4 Rhino”, is the brainchild of 2009 Idols winner Jason Hartman and former professional superbike racer and wildlife photographer Dave Estment.

The aim is to raise R20 million to help fund the extensive equipment, manpower resources and communication channels required to effectively combat the poaching of rhino and other wildlife.

They have partnered with Damien Mander, a former Australian army special operations sniper and founding director of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation.

Hartman told Weekend Witness that the project started in April and already there was an overwhelming response. It will run until September.

He said the initiative will involve an epic motorcycle adventure around southern Africa, covering over 10 000 km. During this ride there will be concerts, band gigs, visits to schools and communities, mass rides as well as conservation activities.

Hartman explained how it will all work. He said they planned to visit 90 privileged schools, reaching up to 70 000 pupils, and engaging them in a 10-week philanthropy challenge. Funds raised by the pupils will go to Rock ’n Ride 4 Rhino, with a percentage of the funds being given back to support local outreach initiatives. There is also a corporate challenge, encouraging the sacrifice of a cup of coffee or a chocolate bar and the money going into the rhino kitty.

Since the project started on April 21, the team has visited 41 schools and interacted with 18 000 pupils.

“Some pupils have completely humbled us with their actions.

“Eleven-year-old Finn Ratcliffe from Hout Bay International School got together with his friend Luke Glass and raised R18 550 since we saw him a few weeks ago. He has set himself a goal of raising R50 000,” Hartman said.

The KZN Midlands, Hartman’s home base, has come to the party. There will be a mass motorcycle ride starting at 2.30 pm today from the Autobahn garage in Pietermaritzburg to the Midlands and a fundraising concert at the Pot and Barrel in Hilton tonight.

For more information on the project, go to: www.rnr4r.org.

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