PROJECT RHINO KZN & THE 2012 PUT FOOT RALLY
Towards the end of 2011, Project Rhino KZN was approached by the Put Foot Rally organisers offering to adopt the organisation as an official rally charity alongside the Put Foot Foundation in 2012. The organisers are hoping to raise enough funds to support one of our Anti-Poaching Units for one year.
The Put Foot Rally takes participants across six countries to six checkpoints in 17 days using routes and vehicles of the crews’ choice. See more here: www.putfootrally.com
Project Rhino KZN is thrilled to be a part of this epic social rally across southern Africa that takes place between 20 June and 6 July. The Put Foot Rally is an extremely popular event with international reach. The 60 team-slots for the 2012 race were snapped up within 28 minutes of registration opening! This year’s race has been split into two groups; teams will leave from either Cape Town or Johannesburg simultaneously and race through South Africa, Namibia,Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. 17 days later, they will cross the finish line after an epic 17,000Km journey.
The Put Foot Rally organisers have given Project Rhino KZN two free team slots, allowing us to participate in the rally and highlight the rhino poaching crisis to all the crews and media participating, while also raising awareness of our efforts in KZN. You will be able to follow the teams’ progress through their daily Blogs, Tweets and Face-book updates.
Mission of the Project Rhino KZN Put Foot Teams
Our goal and the goal of our eight ambassadors during the 2012 Put Foot Rally is to fly the rhino flag high and generate further awareness and funding for Project Rhino KZN.
A COMMITMENT BY THE RHINO AMBASSADORS
African Geographic’s April 2012 edition (dedicated to the plight of the Rhino) lists 5 ways rhinos use their horns. In the same way, our intrepid Rhino Ambassadors commit to utilizing the Put Foot Rally in the following 5 ways:
– Black rhinos often rub horns as a form of greeting each other. Similarly, the Project Rhino KZN ambassadors commit to rubbing shoulders with all Put Foot participants, bid each participant a warm welcome and big thank you for the efforts they are making to raise funds and awareness for our cause.
– Male rhinos use their horns as weapons when fighting each other for supremacy and these battles can be fatal. Rhinos are also fighting another battle – that of threatened extinction. We commit to sharing all that we know about rhino poaching, the reasons why, the obstacles South Africa’s conservation community is facing and the tools needed to fend of this attack on one of Africa’s most unique animal species.
– Female rhinos typically use their horns to defend themselves and their calves against predators. We will share information on the key initiatives and strategies that help defend our rhinos, including advantages and disadvantages of each, why we believe it is so important to defend the rhino and specifically what Project Rhino KZN is doing.
– An adult rhino female uses her horn to guide her calf. Just the same, we commit to guiding and assisting you if you wish to get involved in our mission to protect rhinos. We definitely do not know all the answers but we can generally point you in the right direction or to someone who can help.
– Black rhinos are browsers and are known to use their horns to break branches to gain access to better browsing. Just like a hungry Black rhino, we don’t tolerate anything between us and a good party! If you think you can handle us, don’t hesitate to share a drink or two – but be warned: rhinos can weigh up to 2 tonnes and their Rhino Ambassadors are also very thirsty!
The two crews need sponsorship to cover the costs of fuel, accommodation, food,border crossing costs, third party, travel and vehicle insurance and allowance for emergencies and breakdowns. If you would like to help in sponsoring equipment and supplies for the Project Rhino KZN crews, please contact Melanie van Biljon on email@example.com
MEET THE TEAMS
Umkhombe is the Zulu name for the Southern White rhino. They will start the Put Foot Rally from Cape Town. They will be travelling in ‘Doris’ – a Landrover Discovery.
Mariette Bredenoord – Thanda Group
Mariette is the Executive Personal Assistant to Pierre Delvaux, CEO of the Thanda Group, and will be joining the second part of this adventure. After building her career in Johannesburg she decided to relocate to KZN where she started working for Thanda in February 2005. She has the pleasure and privilege to assist in overseeing development programmes as well as the various business interests of the Group. She feels very privileged and extremely honoured to have the opportunity to support this amazing cause through Project Rhino KZN’s participation in the Put Foot Rally, one of the many initiatives supported by Thanda Foundation Trust.
Paul Engelbrecht – Our volunteer mechanic
Paul is commonly known as the ‘Mountain Man’ amongst his friends in the KZN Midlands. Paul is a Landrover fixer supremo and has a great love for the outdoors, African travel, beautiful women and V8 engines. His 1953 short wheel base is known as ‘Tick’ he has owned since 1977 and is one of the few motorcars he’ll never sell. When Paul is not diverting and entertaining his PutFoot co-drivers, he will be maintaining the Project Rhino KZN vehicles to ensure the Landrovers make it across the finishing line!
Jens Hiestermann – WESSA Mondi Wetland Programme Research Intern
After obtaining his Honours degree in BSc Environmental Science at University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Jens was offered a research internship with WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society South Africa) under the Mondi Wetland Programme. The internship has helped him gain skills and experience needed in the workplace and also provides the opportunity for Jens to work alongside leaders in the world of conservation. He feels fortunate to be part of WESSA who, for 85 years has proactively engaged with the challenges and opportunities presented by South Africa’s unique natural heritage and the social and economic systems that depend on it. The opportunity to participate in the 2012 Put Foot Rally especially as part of the Project Rhino KZN team is an honour for him.
Vicky Nardell - African Conservation Trust
Vicky is a Research Archaeologist for African Conservation Trust, engaged with the GIS documentation of rock art throughout the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu Natal. Her area of research interest is the conservation and management of these fragile heritage resources. In August 2011 Vicky became involved with fundraising for rhinos and despite suffering from vertigo, she joined 40 others who jumped from 10,000ft in the first Skydive for Rhinos, raising R500,000 for KZN’s rhinos through their efforts.
Etienne Oosthuizen – Thanda Private Game Reserve, Assistant head Guide and Social Media
Etienne is a professional guide with an irrepressible enthusiasm for Wildlife photography and will join the team for the first part of the journey. A born and bred Zimbabwean, he grew up on a tobacco farm and was exposed to the great outdoors from a young age. With more than 10 years’ experience in 5 countries and many hours spent behind a camera, he has realized that photography has the potential of being a great conservation tool. Thanda Private Game Reserve, a Big Five safari destination in northern KwaZulu-Natal – is providing the perfect backdrop for Etienne to fulfil his passion for Wildlife photography and he is very grateful to join the Project Rhino KZN Put Foot teams in support of such an amazing cause.
Ubhejane is the Zulu name for the Black rhino. They will start the Put Foot Rally from Johannesburg. They will be travelling in ‘Kimberly’ – a Landrover Defender.
Kim Carlyon – Phinda Private Game Reserve
Kim, originally from Johannesburg, studied a BSc in Conservation Ecology at Stellenbosch and gained an Honours in sustainability. Thereafter she joined Phinda Private Game Reserve where she managed a small tented camp on the reserve. Phinda Private Game Reserve is part of the &Beyond group and is home to some of &Beyond’s 33 lodges. As a former proud employee of &Beyond, Kim has been witness to &Beyond’s pioneering core ethic of “Care of the Land. Care of the Wildlife. Care of the People”.
Matthew Weaver – Phinda Private Game Reserve
Matthew, from Stellenbosch, studied a BSc in Conservation Ecology and did a research honours. He has been at Phinda Private Game Reserve for the last three years as a ranger, as well as managing a small tented camp for the last year. Matthew can testify to the successful track record of Phinda’s community development efforts and their Africa Foundation’s commitment to conservation and communities, specifically in the areas of healthcare, education and enterprise development. Kim and Matthew (our lovestruck couple) have decided to take a year off work to travel and the Put Foot Rally is just one of the many adventures they are undertaking in the next few months.
Jabulani Ngubane – Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Jabulani is employed by the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as their Rhino Security Coordinator responsible for compliance, liaison and investigations in the Province. Prior to this he was a ranger, conservation Manager, and deputy General Manager, managing parks in KZN including Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Ndumo and Tembe. His primary responsibility is to implement and manage the Rhino security intervention plan in the province. His formal qualifications include Biodiversity Conservation, Tourism Management and law enforcement. He has been in the coalface of rhino poaching for the last 12 years and is thus an invaluable team member!
Melanie van Biljon – Thanda Foundation Trust and Space for Elephants Volunteer
After qualifying as a lawyer and practicing law in South Africa, Melanie went on to obtain her financial qualifications at the University of Cape Town. She moved to New York thereafter, employed by KPMG for five years as an Audit Manager in the Financial Services industry, specialising in Asset Management. Realising she needed to return to her roots, she has been adopted by the Thanda Foundation Trust (TFT) and Space for Elephants Foundation (SEF), proud members of Project Rhino KZN, as a volunteer. TFT and SEF have provided her with the opportunity to work with and learn from a group of amazing people in special conservation and community projects.
Follow the teams’ progress on Twitter & Facebook! (Click on the links above)