‘Stop the Slaughter’: Skydiving for rhinos aims to raise funds to stop poaching

2011-06-07 00:00

THIRTY Pietermaritzburg residents will be conquering their fears and jumping out of an aeroplane, skydiving to help save the rhino.

Skydive for Rhinos will see staff members of the African Conservation Trust (ACT) and supporters of the KZN-based non-profit organisation skydiving to raise funds for rhino conservation initiatives.

ACT spokesperson, Sheelagh Antrobus, says that in 2010, poachers slaughtered 333 black and white rhinos for their horns. In the first quarter of 2011, the death toll has reached 168 countrywide.

It is estimated that powdered rhino horn now sells for as much as $60 000 (R405 715) per kilogram on the black market, making it as expensive as street cocaine.

A range of critically needed but underfunded anti-poaching efforts have been identified, and all proceeds from the August skydive will go to these projects.

The money will also be used to buy equipment for anti-poaching patrol units, camera traps, aerial surveillance of game reserves being targeted by poachers, a cyber-tracking programme that uses GPS to monitor rhino movements and micro-chipping of vulnerable rhinos in the province.

ACT has also erected a large signboard in Albert Luthuli Road.

The board, directly opposite Kershaw tennis courts is headlined “Stop the Slaughter”, and every time a rhino is killed by poachers, the numbers will change.

This is to create awareness in Pietermaritzburg of the increasing numbers of rhinos being poached.

To contribute or become involved in the Skydive for Rhinos, contact the ACT team on 033 342 2844 or visit www.projectafrica.com.

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