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2011 Rhino tombstone
2009: 135 | 2010: 333 | 2011: 443

There are over 270 rhino charities on Facebook asking for donations. This makes it hard to know who the good guys these days are. Having worked with all five of these organisations, I can safely say that if you donate to them, the money will go towards ensuring the future of our rhino populations.

Each of the five organisations that I have listed below have a rhino initiative that form part of the umbrella organisation Project Rhino KZN who are at the forefront of rhino conservation and are endorsed by Dr Ian Player. Let’s hope that 2012 is a year for drastic change in rhino conservation, led by these teams of passionate and real conservationists.


1.ACT’s ‘Skydive for Rhinos’

40 African Conservation Trust (ACT) staff members and supporters leaped out of a plane on 13 August 2011 to raise awareness and funding for anti-poaching activities that are urgently needed to protect South Africa’s black and white rhino populations. The Skydive for Rhinos initiative raised over R500 000 in cash and gift-in-kind donations that were used will be used for under-funded anti-poaching efforts in KZN. In 2012, ACT is going for a huge rhino fund of R10 million via a national Skydive for Rhinos campaign, plus they are also the fundraising resource for the Put Foot Rally’s Project Rhino initiative for their 2012 rally around Southern Africa. Watch out for these adventurous conservationists in 2012! If you want to do your bit and be one of the 400 jumping out of planes for rhinos, or book a seat in an ACT Put Foot vehicle, email for more details.

What they’ve done with the donations

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife received R90,000 worth of equipment for their anti-poaching teams; this included high-tech cyber-tracking units that are already in use in several KZN game reserves. The campaign’s funds also purchased 10 camera traps for the Wildlife ACT Fund, paid fuel costs for 6 months of aerial surveillance of northern KZN reserves by the Bateleurs, created an emergency helicopter anti-poaching response fund, and paid for the micro-chipping of rhino at a northern KZN game reserve.

Check it out: Visit their Facebook page

Brought to you by: African Conservation Trust

* ACT is part of the Project Rhino KZN group that aims to coordinate efforts across all organisations involved in the fight against rhino poachers.


2. Wildlife ACT Fund

Wildlife ACT runs various monitoring projects, encompassing a monitoring area of over 250 000 hectares. The focal species being monitored include black rhino and white rhino. They have the capacity to fund the running costs of reserve monitoring projects, but need help purchasing monitoring equipment and devices for animals and for funding the activities surrounding the fitting (and removing) of these devices.

Wildlife ACT therefore initiated the Wildlife ACT Fund, whose objectives are to purchase and fit sophisticated wildlife monitoring equipment and to assist in the monitoring and capture of endangered species outside of protected areas in Southern Africa. Wildlife ACT is therefore the entity to identify those areas of need that are working, while the FUND helps with the funding required to meet those needs.

What they’ve done with donations

Click here to find out what on-the-ground conservation efforts they’re getting up to.

Check it out: WildlifeACT Fund, Rhino Reality and visit their Facebook page.

Brought to you by: Wildlife ACT  and Wildlife ACT Fund

* Wildlife ACT is part of the Project Rhino KZN group that aims to coordinate efforts across all organisations involved in the fight against rhino poachers.


3. Forever Wild

The Wilderness Foundation was founded by conservation legend, Dr Ian Player. They launched the Forever Wild – Rhino Protection Initiative in May, 2011. The campaign aims to gather support from the public and various stakeholders to help fight against rhino poaching in South Africa. They have also has set up a petition to voice the public’s outcry over the cruelty of rhino poaching – sign their rhino petition now!

‘In June 2011, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles announced its sponsorship of 6 Volkswagen Amarok bakkies to the Rhino Protection Initiative. The Amaroks were handed over to the conservation agencies in high priority areas of Mpumalanga, North West, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. The conservation agencies that will benefit from the partnership are SanParks, North West Parks and Tourism Board, Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, KZN Wildlife and Eastern Cape Private Game Reserves Association (Indalo). The vehicles will be primarily used in proactive rhino protection and anti-poaching activities.’ Andrew Muir

Check it out: Forever Wild and their Facebook page

Brought to you by: Wilderness Foundation

* Wilderness Foundation is part of the Project Rhino KZN group that aims to coordinate efforts across all organisations involved in the fight against rhino poachers.


4. WESSA Rhino Initiative

WESSA is participating in the fight against rhino poaching by raising funds and awareness to help curb the current illegal rhino poaching. They are looking for your support by encouraging donations to be made through their SMS line: SMS ‘Rhino’ to 40706 or go onto their website and make a direct donation to WESSA with the reference ‘Rhino’ for the Rhino Initiative.

WESSA is active in implementing and supporting interventions nationally to try and curb the current rhino poaching crisis at a number of different levels. Their interventions are aimed as far as possible to have lasting solutions that will benefit rhinos and at the same time other wildlife. These efforts are as far as possible focused on being proactive in the fight against rhino poaching.

What they are and what they will be doing

  • WESSA is in the process of standardising the training of field rangers across the country. There are many different training operations out there but the lack of properly trained field staff and managers are proving to be an area of concern. WESSA and other organisations have found that not all conservation staff on both private and public land are being trained correctly and to the right level. This intervention will have benefits for rhino conservation as well as wildlife in general.
  • WESSA will be supporting the implementation of specialised training for field rangers around critical skills. These include; Managing Clandestine Operations, Scene of the Crime Management and Evidence Collection.
  • The Rhino DNA database will prove to be a significant tool in the management of rhino populations and in the prosecution of poachers/syndicates. WESSA will be supporting the development of this database through the collection of as many rhino DNA sample as possible.
  • WESSA is involved in poaching information gathering that is aimed at collecting critical information that will be used by the appropriate authority. This programme has had a significant impact already. We will be looking to develop this into a Wildlife Crimes data base to effectively map and track open source information.
  • WESSA is involved in supporting Mpumalanga parks in the management of their significant rhino populations.
  • WESSA is lobbying with government around the current concerns around the legal hunting of rhinos.
  • WESSA is continually driving this pressing concern through internationals channels (i.e. through the IUCN) to raise the awareness and support
  • WESSA is raising public awareness around the issue of rhino poaching. This is important as it is linked to each South African embracing and respecting our natural heritage
  • WESSA is a founding member – see

* WESSA is part of the Project Rhino KZN group that aims to coordinate efforts across all organisations involved in the fight against rhino poachers.

Check it out: WESSA’s Rhino Initiative and their Facebook page

Brought to you by: WESSA


5. Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme (BRREP)

Security is a critical part of rhino conservation but it is also essential to encourage rapid growth of rhino populations. This is being done through BRREP which creates new black rhino populations. The Black Rhino Range Expansion Programme (BRREP) is an initiative that I covered in my black rhino article in February’s issue of Getaway. To continue this great work, they need the help and support of the public.

Latest developments

The seventh black rhino population established by BRREP, was recently released after a 1500 kilometre trip across South Africa. 19 of the critically endangered animals were moved from the Eastern Cape to an undisclosed location in Limpopo province. The Green Renaissance team released a video of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project’s latest project and called it ‘Flying Rhinos’.

Check it out: BRREP: Help save Africa’s rhinos and visit WWF’s Facebook page

Brought to you by: WWF South Africa

* WWF South Africa is part of the Project Rhino KZN group that aims to coordinate efforts across all organisations involved in the fight against rhino poachers.

9 Responses to “My top 5 rhino charities for 2012”

  1. Linda Joyce

    These are awesome and indeed highly respected anti poaching groups. My only disappointment is that they only address counter poaching in KZN…. the sucess in KZN has been admirable in 2011, but since the majorityof the poaching has taken place in the Kruger National Park, it woudl be good to see groups active in these areas also being mentioned, What about groups in the Western Cape.

    Please do not view this as a criticism of your mentioned organisations, they deserve all the help possible, but for folks not in KZN who would like to make a difference close to home, some other groups to mention woudl be terrific too.

  2. Zahn Du Toit

    Hallo Christie

    Thank you for your article.

    I read that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is one of the founding members of Project Rhino.

    This last week, I saw on the news that Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife “auctioned a black rhino” to be hunted, and that a KZN business man paid over R900 000 too shoot and kill the rhino.

    How can they be a member of “Project Rhino”, and still issue permits to have the rhino (especially black rhino) killed? That just does not make sense to me at all..

    If I got my facts wrong, please do correct me. I would love to get some feedback on this, from Project Rhino, and also get your own views on this too. Thank you.

    Have a lovely day!


  3. Fritz Rossouw

    Wonder why this people are not on list ” SanWild is a registered non-profit animal welfare trust and we rely solely on the goodwill and kind donations received from the public to keep our various wild animal rescue and protection program ”

    Yet an organization like this is on your list ? ” Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife ” and I agree with Christie they and I quote her “auctioned a black rhino” to be hunted, and that a KZN business man paid over R900 000 too shoot and kill the rhino.
    How can they be a member of “Project Rhino”, and still issue permits to have the rhino (especially black rhino) killed? That just does not make sense to me at all..”

    This is not making any sense to me either !!!

  4. Fritz Rossouw

    This is the info posted on Makhasa Community Game Reserve own web page. ” In 1997 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife with assistance from the privately owned Phinda reserve fenced 2,800ha of tribal land on the edge of their reserves and stocked the area with most of the game species found in both Phinda and Mkhuze.

    The objective was to create a community owned reserve with direct income benefits to the local community. In 2007 WEI initiated and facilitated the funding for a number of monitoring projects on the Makhasa Community Game Reserve.”

    Now I can just wonder why these people have not yet seen any benefit, from the parks existence? May be like so many other Government projects in the past 20 years . Have only benefited a few rich people ,in powerful positions ??

    • Christie Fynn

      Hi everyone

      Thanks for all your comments. By omitting certain organisations on my list certainly does not mean that one can’t support the ones that are not mentioned. These are merely MY top 5 organisations who have great rhino initiatives run by super passionate people and that I have worked with over the last year. They are all independent from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife but form part of the larger association Project Rhino KZN.

      The formation of ONE national organisation to battle against these syndicates was tried and is no where near as effective as the formation of small nodes in different regions, with each node calling upon the various organisations at a local level – as shown by Project Rhino KZN.

      If you have more questions please email me –

      Kind regards,


    • Christie Fynn

      Hi Shayne, thanks for the comment. These are my top five – it means I’ve worked with them in some form over the last few years and I trust what they do. I haven’t ever worked with EWT so I don’t want to comment about what they’re doing. Do they have a page where I can see what they’re doing with the funds? As in my last blog post, rhino organisations now need to show what they’re doing with the money they receive.

  5. Natalie Stone

    Please visit our website and watch our two 7 minute films, and let us know what you think. we are fighting for the same cause with our aim to set us a sanctuary. for education and awareness for young children from all around the work to come and visit!

    Rhineo and Juliet- Love and Tragedy in Africa ( viewer discretion is advised)

    The Ark- A Sustainable Solution

    or just visit our website
    appreciate your time
    Kind Reg


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