Kruger shuns rhino gift, says donor

Cape Town – A man from Hazyview in Mpumalanga is upset after SANParks seems to have shunned an expensive rhino sculpture he had donated to the Kruger National Park.

Netwerk24 reports that John Morgan said he bought the sculpture in question for R10 000 from an artist in White River and decided to donate it to the park for rhino poaching awareness purposes.

While the sculpture was on display at Skukuza Airport for a while, a friend informed him that it had been removed.

When Morgan inquired about its whereabouts, he was told that the rhino had been removed because a child had climbed on it and it posed a safety threat.

After further investigation it was found in storage in Skukuza. Apparently Morgan was told that they could not find a spot for it in the entire park.

Morgan posted the following to his Facebook page on Tuesday along with a few photographs of the sculpture: 

"While I was told that it would be used at the new Airport and was placed there it was soon removed. I now get the following mail from SANParks. Seems to me that raising awareness and getting funds for the anti Rhino poaching fund is not a priority.

Ike thanks for the call and I know it is not your decision but SANParks managers have certainly given a strong indication that they don't need individuals assisting in raining funds."

(John Morgan / Facebook)

Morgan's status was shared 47 times, with many people expressing what a pity they felt it was. 

According to SANParks spokesperson Ike Phaala, they have very strict criteria for what is allowed to be displayed in the park and what is not. The sculpture donated by Morgan apparently does not fit the criteria.

Rey Thakhuli, General Manager: Media, Events & Stakeholder relations, added that since the statue was made from steel it did pose a safety risk anywhere it would be displayed. 

"In every organisation there are rules about donations that have to be kept strictly," Thakhuli explained. 

He has made arrangements for it to be removed and will donate it to a coffee shop in Hazyview instead.

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