As the year draws to a close, Waterberg Rhino UK is pleased to report that during its second year of operation, we have managed to double our fundraising, allowing us to widen our remit within the Waterberg. This is thanks to the incredible support from all of you and here we would like to highlight some of the successes of 2022.
The run-up to our annual fundraiser, Ride for Rhinos, had been a rollercoaster with travel bans imposed and then lifted on South Africa during the last months of 2021. Thankfully 12 riders made it out to Ant’s Nest Safari Lodge in late January and over the week rode 250km through the Waterberg, raising over £17,000. The Ride is always about the people taking part and this year had a special dynamic given the effort taken to reach South Africa in uncertain times. The weather was also a challenge with torrential rain on the last day but all completed the trek with huge smiles and a sense of achievement. Ride 2023 is fully booked and 2024 is already receiving lots of interest.
Our priority during the pandemic had been to keep the security patrols going to protect the rhino population mainly at Ant Africa Safaris. With guests returning to the lodges and income streams reinstalled, we were able to turn our attention to other projects aligned with our aims of protecting rhino throughout the Waterberg.
The Waterberg is now home to the second largest population of rhino on the planet, given the terrible toll poaching has taken in the Kruger and Kwa-Zulu-Natal. During the first 6 months of 2022, 133 rhino were poached in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park, more than 3 times the year before. Figures for the whole of 2022 are still to be released but it is evident that poaching is still a daily dread for those who own rhino. 80% of rhino in the Waterberg are in private ownership and it falls on these individuals to bear the brunt of costly security.
Waterberg Rhino is working in alliance with organisations in the region that together provide security across combined areas of interest. Strength is in numbers and it is evident that through the combination of technology, boots on the ground, and the various law-enforcement agencies, that the best results can be achieved.
IN 2022, WATERBERG RHINO UK
- Donated equipment in the form of boots, binoculars and search lights to wildlife rangers working throughout the Waterberg.
- Funded the installation of a new LPR camera point under the aegis of the national security initiative Project Southern Cross
- Provided the funds for the updating of technology for camera points run by the Waterberg Security Initiative
SUPPORT FOR THE COMMUNITY is vital in ensuring that the benefit the rhino and other wildlife can bring in terms of tourism and employment is widely recognised. Waterberg Rhino works in collaboration with Waterberg Biosphere Reserve in running a Food Garden Scheme across 16 schools, a clinic and a village co-operative. The result is fresh vegetables on a daily basis for over 3,000 children, bringing extra nutrition and income from surplus produce.
Very sadly, community liaison officer, DANIEL MASHASHA, the driving force behind the scheme, lost his life suddenly in September. Daniel was the inspiration behind the gardens. His visits to the schools were always hugely anticipated and appreciated. The best garden prize in WATERBERG RHINO FOOD GARDENS COMPETITION will be presented in his memory in January. The competition was his idea and is a lasting legacy to his dedication to the local community. The photographs of we have received over the last few months demonstrate the passion and hard work put into each garden and we look forward to culmination of the competition in January 2023.
WRUK is delighted to continue in donating to 2 excellent educatIonal establishments in the region:
- The Waterberg Academy Bursary Fund which gives bursaries to local children who would otherwise be able to attend this outstanding fee-paying school in Vaalwater.
- Lapalala Wilderness School, a groundbreaking environmental school, now in inspirational new premises, where teaching centres on the natural world in important life lessons and in creating conservation champions of the future
The trustees of Waterberg Rhino would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have donated to the charity and so given the ability for us to help in this vital work to save the rhino and support the community who work so tirelessly to protect this magnificent animal.
Here are some of the fundraising highlights of 2022:
- Fun ride in Nottinghamshire organised by Ginny Cressey
- Ride for Rhinos 2022
- Wilderness Ball in Berkshire organised by Alex Bartlam.
- Waterberg Rhino team clay-pigeon shoot at E.J. Churchill’s, West Wycombe
- Evening for Waterberg Rhino in London, attended by Ant Baber
Sales of Waterberg Rhino glass have provided a consistent income stream and there is still time to order our stunning cards designed by Annabel Pope, which come without Christmas message so can be used all year round!
If you haven’t already done so please do watch ’The Rhino Guardians’ by Harry Hough, a talented filmmaker who came out to the Waterberg in May 2022.
The film gives an overview of the charity’s work and has been invaluable in spreading the word. Harry is returning to the Waterberg to film Ride for Rhinos so watch this space!
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
SAVE THE DATE:
Waterberg Rhino team clay-pigeon shoot at E.J. Churchill’s Thursday 20 July
Ride for Rhinos 2024 20-28 January from Ant’s Nest Safari Lodge
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