iSimangaliso celebrates World Rhino Day

2015-09-23 09:17
Andrew Zaloumis, Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson and pupils from local schools participating in the ‘My Rhino, Our Future’ carrying banners that were presented to the minister.

Andrew Zaloumis, Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson and pupils from local schools participating in the ‘My Rhino, Our Future’ carrying banners that were presented to the minister. (Supplied)

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ISIMANGALISO Wetland Park celebrated World Rhino Day yesterday with over 1 200 people from all over KwaZulu-Natal attending the event.

World Rhino Day was first announced and celebrated in South Africa in 2010 by the World Wide Fund in South Africa (WWF) as part of an international effort to save the world’s rhinos.

Yesterday, iSimangaliso hosted the World Rhino Day event attended by local schools, community leaders, NGO’s and the Environmental Affairs Department’s Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson.

The park’s CEO Andrew Zaloumis said the day was a great success.

“I was very impressed with the children from the schools who walked the length of the park for the campaign carrying banners for the cause.

“At the end of the walk, the banners were presented to the deputy minister and the children’s art was put up.”

Zaloumis said the spirit and energy the pupils displayed at the event showed a bright future for the country and its rhinos.

In a press release by iSimangaliso, Thompson said the youth were key in the battle being fought against the poaching of rhino.

“They are the future conservation leaders and the generation that will influence the continued existence of legal and illegal wildlife markets, this contributing to a decline in the consumption, and demand for rhino horn.

“We can blow the whistle on wildlife criminals,” she said.

Zaloumis said in the statement that iSimangaliso takes their role with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as custodians of “our heritage very seriously” and would continue to do so.

A statement sent by WWF yesterday said the Department of Environmental Affairs had reported that 749 rhinos had been poached by August this year in the country.

“There is no single solution to the poaching scourge which is why we work strategically to combat rhino poaching and operate on numerous fronts.

“A key part of our approach is to work collaboratively with rural communities living near game reserves and to provide people there with the skills to manage their natural resources — including rhinos,” said the release.

“In return, they reap the benefits of wildlife tourism while continuing to be custodians of rhinos for future generations.”

Read more on:    isimangaliso wetland park  |  rhino

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