Diving deep, climbing high to help rhinos

2014-05-10 00:00

DURBAN resident Steven Ent­wistle is planning to climb to the top of the Moses Mabhida Stadium on May 21 to raise money for the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation and the Thula Thula Rhino Fund.

He also hopes to highlight the increasing levels of poaching of rhinos and elephants in South Africa and encourage people to get involved in the fight to protect the animals.

But this climb will not be a simple ascent because Entwistle will be wearing 70 kg of diver’s equipment dating back to the 1900s.

Money raised from the fundraiser will go towards the new rhino rehabilitation centre being built at Thula Thula Game Reserve.

Asked why he had created the Tusks and Horns fundraiser, Ent­wistle, who immigrated to Durban, seven years ago from Coventry in the United Kingdom, said, “I proposed to my wife, Ellysa, in December 2008, and we started planning our wedding, but we couldn’t agree on a venue.

“By chance, while returning from an offshore diving job, I saw the Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony in the airport lounge.

“I read the book … then planned a visit to Thula Thula thinking it would be a great break and a good opportunity to check it out as a wedding venue.

“My wife and I were not disappointed. Francoise [Malby, Lawrence Anthony’s widow] and her staff gave us a five-star welcome and we were treated like royalty … After that weekend we decided to have the wedding at Thula Thula, by far the best decision we ever made.

“Having read the book and experienced Thula Thula, I decided to do more to help raise funds and awareness for our endangered wildlife here in South Africa.”

As for choosing to don heavy diving gear, it was the logical choice for a man who works as a saturation deep sea diver, doing underwater construction of pipe lines between oil rigs.

This is not his first fundraiser for Thula Thula and the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation.

Last year he ran 46 km along the beach, from Durban harbour to Beach Bums in Tongaat. His six hours running on the sand raised over R10 000, which was used to distribute an information leaflet to communities living around game reserves regarding the importance of elephants and rhinos to their communities and South Africa’s wildlife heritage.

• Follow Entwistle’s efforts via the Facebook page “Tusks and Horns”.

• To donate go to http://www.earthorganization.org/donate.aspx and enter the reference “Diver” or go to www.thulathula.com/links.aspx and also use the “Diver” reference.

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