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Surely everyone against rhino poaching is united by a common goal: to protect and save our rhino species. Surely it’s not about who can make the most money? No one entity is going to ‘save the rhino’ – it is going to be a group effort. The sad reality is that we’ve seen a number of rhino initiatives and organisations jump on the bandwagon over the last few years and yet we’re still seeing an increase in rhino poaching.

There are now more than 270 fundraising organisations for rhino conservation. It’s frightening to think that in this current state of poaching, the recent flurry of rhino organisations are diluting the funds and creating donor fatigue due to a lack of credible feedback and use of these funds.

After observing the crisis evolve and unfold over the last few years here is my advice on how to check if these organisations are credible.

Many fundraising initiatives that sell merchandise and ask for donations support rhino projects of larger conservation organisations.

This means that they hand over the money raised or a percentage of their sales to that organisation. Always ask how much actually goes to that larger organisation and check whether that organisation has endorsed the collaboration.

On the next level, those larger organisations also need to be accountable for donations received. What and how are they contributing to the rhino poaching crisis? What feedback do we get from them? Are there newsletters, facebook posts, blogs, tweets to follow? Make sure you know where your money is going.

There are many passionate members of the public who care so much about the current crisis but aren’t necessarily in touch with what’s happening on the ground.

Always remember to question where your is going and demand to be provided with adequate feedback.

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  • Tim Condon

    It wouldn’t surprise me BUT who are the 270 organisations which seems an excessivel high number – is there a list of them and which of the seven rhino species (4 African & 3 Asian) do they target ?? Also who do recommend should be supported ?? Many thanks, Tim Condon

  • Debs

    Hey Christie

    Thanks for this….it is so needed and it seems there are a number of dodgy organisations out there. I, like Tim, would be interested in knowing who you would recommend we make donations to?



  • I think you make some valid comments which go hand-in-hand…if members of the public are passionate and keen to get involved through donating funds to organisations, they should be doing their homework to ensure their money is being used effectively.

    Over the last 2 years I’ve been too scared to donate funds because I just don’t know if my donations are being used. The sad fact of the matter is that there are sick people out there who have taken advantage of the plight of the rhino species through creating fake organisations that supposedly raise ‘awareness’ and ‘fundraising’ for rhinos…as you say, it’s your duty to follow up and ensure that the organisation you’re donating to is effective in their conservation efforts.

    As far as I’m aware, it’s also our right to request to see a full financial audit report that most of these organisations (registered NGOs) should be armed with, if they don’t have it or have anything to hide, don’t donate your funds to them.

    For me, you’ve touched on the most important point wrt to rhino conservation…we should be one cohesive whole working towards a shared, common goal. It must be very difficult and, I imagine, frustrating to work with so many different characters involved with conservation, but like you say, we all want to save the rhino, let’s just do it and get our hands dirty rather than sit around a table discussing saving the rhino!

    • As a legitimate trust fund who disperse our funds effectively and efficiently ( without admin costs) it is annoying to see how many fly-by-night organisations/ people are riding on the emotions of the well intentioned public. I do hope that in time more of the efforts of the various legitimate groups are co-ordinated so that the man in the street can support them with confidence.
      Your blog is a great forum Christie .
      Kind regards
      Linda Joyce
      Unite against Poaching

      • Hi Linda
        I have an event idea for the whole family, that will raise money to help save our beautiful Rhino’s. Please email me and I can tell you more.
        This event was a great success in the UK and I am positive it will be in SA.

        Kind Regards Louise

  • Christie Fynn

    Thanks for the comments. I wrote a blog a few months ago titled ‘My top 5 rhino charities for 2012’
    Here’s the link:

    There are a few more that I could suggest and possibly that should be my next blog – thanks for the suggestion.

  • Christie Fynn

    I appreciate the feedback Linda. Thanks for all the hard work you’re doing.

  • Christie – some great points. Glad to see that at the top of your list of ‘My top 5 rhino charities for 2012′ is ACT. ACT (African Conservation Trust) is the principle representative of Project Rhino KZN which is made up of legitimate, expert conservation organisations with a common vision and goal. The association’s members work together on the following critically needed interventions including increased intelligence and surveillance, increased field ranger competence, improving legal ability, increased communication sharing, public awareness and education.

    In addition Project Rhino ensures the prevention of duplication of projects and/or fundraising events in KwaZulu-Natal and provides a legitimate fundraising platform for real, urgent needs.

    The member organisations of Project Rhino KZN are:


    WILDSIDE MAGAZINE is the official media partner.

    All donations collected for project rhino kzn are administrated by the African Conservation Trust on behalf of the founding members.

    Keep up the good work and blue skies.

    Rod MacLeod


    After having paid a visit to the Kruger a couple of weeks ago, I came back home knowing that there would not be any rhino around in a couple of years. THE WOULD ALL BE DEAD!
    I was devastated to hear from one of the researchers in the park that 20 rhino had been killed in April
    Someone needs to get all the fund raisers together under one umbrella and start making a difference
    The Chinese also need to be introduced to Viagra – it works way better than any rhino horn
    We need to make a huge noise at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria and get someone to start making a huge noise in China about the disgusting habit that the men have of trying to enhance their sexual prowess by using rhino horn

  • Christie Fynn

    Thanks Marion, we have a serious problem on our hands and Kruger is getting hit hard. The use of rhino horn as an aphrodisiac is a myth. In China it is used for ‘hot’ illnesses, which means that there are a whole lot of uses for it including a cure for cancer and high fevers. In Vietnam, it’s also used to cure cancer and fevers but people use it as a ‘pick-me-up’ after a big night out.

  • Dave

    I find it shocking that every Tom, Dick & Harry can start up a so called fundraising organisation with absolute zero control over where the funds will be channelled, with donors having no clue as to what the money is actually spent on. I have been actively involved in training candidates for Anti-poaching Units and progressively became aware and very suspicious of how people are being scammed out of their donated money. This, to the extent, that I totally withdrew myself from such organisations as not to have any part thereof. It’s no different to the numerous Nigerian scams, only here people are normally lead to believe they are going to gain at the end, so they are taken mainly because of their own greed. With the Rhino campaigns, people are opening their hearts and wallets to give (even I did and encouraged numerous friends and family to do so as well). Donors are led to believe the funds will be used appropriately but if they only knew how much of that money is skimmed off to fund owners reserves and other failing businesses. I believe there are a number of organisations that are ligit but many more are absolute scamsters, knowing there is no control and too many loop holes to misappropriate funds.
    My email is if anyone wishes to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me.

  • Kobus Bisschoff

    The one that can provide me with the correct definition of the term CONSERVATION!