Kosta’s 250th summit of Lions Head: Reaching the Lion 500 Halfway Milestone

Kosta’s 250th summit of Lions Head: Reaching the Lion 500 Halfway Milestone

Just before sunrise on 24 May, Kosta Papageorgiou summited Lions Head Mountain in Cape Town for the 250th time since 11 September 2017, reaching the half way mark of an inspiring goal to complete 500 summits by the end of 2018 for the Lion 500 Fund Raising Challenge. Kosta has been climbing Lions Head Mountain daily, and sometimes even two or three times a day -braving extreme heat, rain showers, thick mist and slippery trails – in support of the Lion 500 Fund Raising Challenge. And for his milestone 250th summit, he was surrounded by supporters, friends and some of Cape town’s most experienced hikers, to make a positive difference and to remember fallen fellow hiker, Jennifer Harlow. Another 250 summits lie ahead, begging the question: “What motivates Kosta and his supporters?” “I used to climb the mountain frequently, just for the love of it,” says Kosta, who is a Cape Town tour guide and hosts teambuilding for corporate companies. “However, after I lost a friend to suicide caused by depression, and another very dear friend of mine survived rape, I felt very helpless. Being in nature seemed to ease the pain. I began to feel as if I were avenging my friends by climbing the mountain and reaching the top in their honour. Then I started to think about how I could make a positive difference, bringing hope and inspiration to others who face similar ordeals as my friends did. And that is how the Lion 500 Fund Raising Challenge was born. “I started with two causes, Rape Crisis and South African Depression and Anxiety Organisation, to honour...
Eastern Cape Senior APU teams trained for night operations

Eastern Cape Senior APU teams trained for night operations

On the frontline of local rhino counter poaching efforts are a brave core of field rangers, working in harsh and hostile environments – day and night – often facing poachers who are armed, organised and ruthless. Ten highly skilled APU rangers attended a 5 day/night Advanced Marksmen and Tactics for Night Operations training programme, funded by the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF) and facilitated in conjunction with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA). “Our rangers are on the frontline of conservation, protecting our wildlife. They need to be well-trained, well-equipped and well-supported,” says Brent Cook, founder of CRF, which specialises in providing anti-poaching teams with vital equipment and advanced training; as well as sourcing, testing and funding technology for rhino monitoring; and funding tracking and apprehension dogs. “The Advanced Marksmen and Night Operations training programme is vital to ensure APU rangers are prepared, trained and upskilled to do their jobs ethically, effectively and safely. These intensive training programmes also improve the rangers’ confidence, boosts morale and provides a platform for rangers to get familiar working in joint operations between different reserves. It creates a sense of camaraderie, pride and trust, which is critical to successful anti-poaching efforts.” Ten senior APU rangers from two bordering Eastern Cape wildlife reserves, Shamwari and Amakhala, were selected based on strict criteria to attend the training course at Amakhala. It covered advanced application of weapon skill set training, weapon safety, maintenance, latest technology, tactical movement and use of cover training. The night operations training covered the use of weapons at night, tactical use of flashlights for shooting in low light and darkness, and tactical...
Capturing Wildlife Moments For A Cause

Capturing Wildlife Moments For A Cause

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it captures an unforgettable experience like a close encounter with one of our planet’s most ancient, iconic and endangered species. And this is exactly what guests at HillsNek Safari Camp, one of the lodges on Amakhala Game Reserve close to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, are discovering, thanks to an innovative initiative started by Sebastian van Breemen, a junior field guide at the Reserve. Sebastian, a 25-year-old from Finland in his final year of studies, started taking photographs during a three-day game drive with the guests of HillsNek Safari Camp. Back at the lodge, Sebastian uploaded the photos onto the electronic screen in the lodge lounge, so guests could purchase the photographs as a picture memory of their trip. The response was enthusiastic! The first pictures were sold on 5 August 2017 and raised almost R35, 000. 100% of the profits is donated to Chipembere Rhino Foundation to assist with the funding of VHF tracking collars, training and equipping K9 units and APUs (Anti-Poaching Units) with field equipment. The photographs are printed on either photographic print paper or canvas in four sizes: extra small, small, medium and large, and can easily be rolled up and transported in a tube. They can also be purchased on a USB stick or be delivered via email. The images capture a real-life experience for the guests, many whom have never been so close to the African wild. “Our guests come to Amakhala to enjoy the African bush, to see our stunning wildlife with their own eyes and to experience the environment first-hand and...
Project Protect Rhino – Raising Funds For Rhino Conservation

Project Protect Rhino – Raising Funds For Rhino Conservation

Marina Berkett is a 22-year-old final year vet student at the Royal Veterinary College. She is the founder of Project Protect Rhino and has already raised £1000 for the foundation.  Here is her story. My mum grew up in Durban and I am forever indebted to her for my love of Africa and its wildlife. Our family have always had a passion for conservation. After my brother, Christopher, came home from a three-month veterinary internship with Dr William Fowlds in April 2016, he was so shaken by witnessing poaching scenes first-hand that we decided to take a more active role. I started by designing the logo, had it printed on a few t-shirts and I just went from there. Our family and friends were all so keen to listen and help, and this support has grown over the last 18 months. I have now developed a strong support base at the Royal Veterinary College and hope to expand this.   Working with rhino first-hand on the Vets Go Wild trip made me even more passionate. My main aim has always been to raise awareness in the UK, educating anyone who will listen about rhino – not only the imminent threat of extinction but, most importantly, the extreme suffering of each individual animal. I now sell a whole range of Project Protect Rhino merchandise and have already raised £1000 for the Chipembere Rhino Foundation. My next step is to make an awareness video at my university. Please visit my Facebook page called Project Protect Rhino where I post updates on where the money goes (last year it was for a...
EC Rhinos now under Ella’s protection

EC Rhinos now under Ella’s protection

The growing threat of rhino poaching in the Eastern Cape has sparked a remarkable international collaboration which has resulted in the first ‘cold scent’ tracker dog funded for use throughout the Eastern Cape. A dog so unique that her presence and skill set will be feared by poachers and advance rhino protection in the Eastern Cape to new strengths. Her name is Ella. Ella has been recently deployed and is based on a local game reserve in the Eastern Cape. She has been carefully selected by the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF) to be part of the Forever Wild Rhino Protection initiative. This project represents a partnership between Wilderness Foundation Africa, Medivet Saving the Rhino (UK) and the Chipembere Rhino Foundation, in support of rhino protection. This international collaboration between South Africa and the UK has facilitated the deployment of Ella.  Medivet also provides funds which support other tracker dogs, but shares such sponsorship with other corporate and individual donors. ‘We are excited to introduce Medivet’s first ever fully funded tracker dog, Ella, who will play a key role in our fight to save the rhino. Ella will use her amazing sense of smell to track down poachers and she will be a vital tool during poaching incidents. Thanks to the continued support of our clients and colleagues, we look forward to a future where Ella can help save rhino from poachers’, says John Smithers, Medivet Senior Partner and coordinator of the Medivet Saving the Rhino campaign Ella is a beautiful Bloodhound Doberman cross with an amazing sense of smell which gives her the ability to track poachers long after...
Chipembere Takes to the Catwalk

Chipembere Takes to the Catwalk

Rhino conservation efforts took a glamourous turn recently when Chipembere took to the catwalk at the Fairview Horse Racing Derby in Port Elizabeth on 13 May 2017. Chipembere is both a special All African Arabica coffee blend, roasted for a cause by Port Elizabeth-based Mastertons Coffee & Tea Specialists, and a local registered non-profit organisation committed to the protection and conservation of Africa’s rhino, the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF). For every 250 grams of Chipembere coffee purchased, Mastertons donates R5 to CRF to aid their rhino conservation efforts. As a result, CRF has already funded a successful anti-poaching K9 team in the Eastern Cape and continues to train anti-poaching K9s to track and apprehend suspected poachers, and to provide invaluable assistance on poaching crime scenes. Responsible for placing Chipembere on the catwalk was Samantha Cunningham, a Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) designing student who participated in this year’s NMMU fashion show. The fashion show is hosted annually at the Derby Day by the university’s Fashion and Textile Department to showcase garments designed by their second-year students. This year, Masterton’s Coffee added a touch of “coffee flair” to the Derby Day fashion show with the theme “Out of Africa”. The participating students were briefed to create a garment around a Masterton’s coffee blend, incorporating an African feel as well as elements of coffee inspiration ranging from the beans to hessian packaging bags. “I knew as soon as I walked into Mastertons and saw the printed and framed Chipembere Coffee Blend hessian bag on the wall that I wanted to use this package in my design!” says Samantha. “I care deeply...

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