Naked skydiver: Rhino fight is urgent

2013-03-26 11:35
Steve Newman is urging South Africans to fight rhino poaching. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Steve Newman is urging South Africans to fight rhino poaching. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Spoofing the camera for rhino

2013-02-25 09:36

Watch as naked skydiver, Steve Newman, 'spoofs the camera' as he runs down Kloof Nek road in Cape Town while naked to raise awareness for rhino poaching.WATCH

Cape Town - Naked skydiver and rhino campaigner Steve Newman is driving to build more exposure for the plight of South Africa's rhino population.

"I'm doing all different events at the moment, trying to create awareness for the rhino foundation I'm working for, which is Project Rhino KZN," Newman told News24.

He will be participating in the upcoming Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon after having completed the 2013 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour on 10 March.

Newman said that participation brings much-needed publicity to his cause.

"I realised that I can piggy back on all the different things that are going on, by unfortunately being naked, or fortunately being naked - it allows you to get a bit of attention."

Naked stunts

White rhino were nearly wiped out early in the 20th century, numbering only between 30 to 50 animals, and through the then Natal Parks Board and other agencies, the species recovered to about 20 000 in Africa.

Conversely, black rhino numbers declined rapidly due to poaching from about 70 000 in 1970, to 2 500 in 1990.

In, 2012, over 630 rhino were killed by poachers and this year has seen more than 150 rhino killed.

Newman is determined to make a difference to the declining numbers of rhino poached by raising money performing stunts naked.

"I think that's one way to get the point across: You have to do extreme things to get noticed to then ultimately make a difference," said the athletic Newman.

He remains fit by playing a variety of sports and said that a few companies have shown a commitment to support efforts to fight rhino poaching.

"I do a fair amount of sports - I play rugby for the False Bay Rugby club; five a side soccer; I run; I manage a gym so it's easier.

"I've had a few companies come to me that maybe now want to help out and the more exposure we've got, the bigger it seems to becoming," said Newman.

Exposure

It hasn't all been plain sailing for Newman though. Some have said that he should not be allowed to participate naked in public events.

He performs stunts wearing his "horn" and said that it was no more exposing than wearing a bikini on the beach.

"The only reason I've been doing it naked is that everyone seems to be really shy, but we've all got the same bits. So it's not that much of a big deal, really, and it gets noticed."

Newman is targeting R21 000 for the marathon on 30 March.

"My goal for the Two Oceans is I want to raise R21 000 for 21km because I’m running the Two Oceans half marathon."


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Read more on:    rhino poaching

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