My top 5 rhino charities for 2012

Posted on 6 January 2012

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 [email protected] 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.

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