Every year on 16 November, our Chipembere Rhino Foundation team, and the guides and guests at Amakhala Game Reserve, gather at ‘’God’s Window’’ for a moment of solemn silence around three Remembrance Crosses. These three white crosses – bearing the names of Chippy, Isipho and Geza – pay tribute to and remind us of these three magnificent Rhinos, as well as the 7,000 other Rhinos lost in South Africa since 2010, and renew our commitment to ensure the survival of this iconic species for generations to come.
Race4Rhino has again raised a substantial financial contribution for its beneficiaries, including our local Chipembere Rhino Foundation, which has in turn applied the funds to support the Care for Wild initiative to rescue and rehabilitate rhino calves orphaned by poachers.
Eastern Cape’s rhinos enjoy enhanced protection from the poaching crisis, with the deployment of Ziggy, a cold scent tracking dog. Ziggy’s deployment was made possible through an international partnership between Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA) and Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF), as part of the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative. The project is solely supported by Medivet and the Medivet Save the Rhino campaign.
World Ranger Day is marked annually on July 31st to acknowledge and honour the hard work, passion and dedication of our rangers who spend day and night making sure our wildlife are safe and protected. World Ranger Day is also a day to commemorate and pay tribute to rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty fighting to protect iconic and endangered species like the rhino and elephant – animals widely targeted by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade.
CRF is delighted to have received a R60,000 donation from The Rhino Ride, a unique conservation initiative supported by Springbok Atlas Tours and Safaris, which will bolster CRF’s ongoing projects to create rhino conservation awareness and fund critical anti-poaching interventions.
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... read more
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... read more
From the left: Stephanie DeLaGarza; Sandra Turner; Bill Gersonde; Paige Rudasics; Roy Greer; Joy Harsh; John Black; Jessica Scherry. The Abilene Zoo is a small 16-acre (6.5 ha) zoo in Abilene, Texas that is making a big difference to conservation efforts around the world. Recently, it donated $5,000 to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation to support its efforts in protecting the rhinos in Southern Africa. The Abilene Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals, representing 250 species. Primarily funded by the City of Abilene and the Abilene Zoological Society, the zoo has been an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1985. The Abilene Zoo participates in and supports a variety of conservation programs including the AZA Species Survival Plan. The mission of an AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) is to manage and conserve a select and typically threatened or endangered captive population of a certain species. AZA institutions currently manage more than 115 SSP Programs, each of which is responsible for developing a Master Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendation to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population. Through the Abilene Zoo Conservation Fund, financial support is provided to reputable organizations that perform a variety of conservation-based activities, research and support. One such project is the Abilene Zoo Quarters for Conservation initiative. Abilene Zoo Quarters for Conservation Since October 2015, $.025 of each admission to the Zoo is donated to the Abilene Zoo Conservation Fund. Each year, three organizations are selected as beneficiaries of the funding raised. Zoo guests vote for one of the three featured organizations... read more
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... read more
The Barney’s Charity Golf Day 2017, held on 2 November at the Humewood Golf Club, was a resounding success, proudly attended by OLLI, a life-sized fibreglass rhino. “Thanks to all the participants, we were able to raise R26,625.00 for this year’s charity recipient, the Chipembere Rhino Foundation, a local registered non-profit and public benefit organisation working to protect and preserve the diminishing number of rhino in Southern Africa,” says Craig Mittens, co-owner of Barney’s. After a very successful first Charity Golf Day held last year in May in aid of the Walmer Angel Project, Barney’s Tavern, one of Port Elizabeth’s longest-running landmark pubs – known for its good food and vibes – decided to make it an annual event. “The aim of the golf day is to support a different charity each year, thus giving back to the community that we live in,” adds Mittens. “A friend of ours, Greg Harvey from the local Wildschutsberg Game Reserve, recently lost five precious rhinos, which really brought home the need for aggressive and active rhino conservation. We are thrilled to be able to raise this donation for Chipembere.” Barney’s Tavern was founded at Gold Reef City in 1985 by Gus Ferguson. Barney’s opened its beachfront tavern in 1991, and a year ago also opened in the suburb of Lorraine, Port Elizabeth. At the recent handover event held on 10 November at the new Barney’s Tavern store on the corner of Willow Road and Circular Drive, Lorraine, the monies collected for the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF) were officially handed over to Richard Pearse, a lifelong CRF volunteer, committed and trained nature conservationist... read more
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... read more
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... read more
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... read more
Riley Devan, a 13-year-old boy in Grade 8 at Selborne Primary School in East London, has already helped to raise more than R25,000 for organisations that work to save his favourite animals: the critically endangered rhino. Riley’s Rally for Rhinos started in 2014 after a Rooting For Rhino campaign at his school. “My Dad and I both chose the rhino as our favourite animal. We wondered how sad it would be if they were extinct by the time I became a dad. I wanted to do something to help save the rhinos, so I started thinking about ways to raise money for the organisations who work to save these wonderful creatures.” Riley, with lots of help from mom, Meg, began selling cookies and popcorn at school to raise funds. Soon Riley had a great idea: creating a dice-type game called Rolling Rhinos. The game is played by rolling two little resin rhinos and scoring points depending on how the rhinos land, with the first player to score 100 points winning the game. Every part of the game is made locally in East London, creating local economic benefits too. The polyester resin rhinos are made in a local family-owned décor factory. The game inserts and labels are printed locally and even the bags are sewed by a local NPO using Shweshwe fabric, synonymous with the Eastern Cape. The games are sold for R100 each at markets and via the Rolling Rhinos Facebook Page, and for each game sold, R25 goes to rhino protection efforts. To date, Riley’s Rally For Rhinos has donated R8,300 to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and R6,000... read more
To salute and support our brave conservation soldiers and show appreciation of their crucial role in the battle to save our rhino, the Chipembere Rhino Foundation in collaboration with RAGES (Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species), undertook a mission to collect bonus rations for the men of the Eastern Cape Rhino Anti-Poaching Units (APU).
Jules Murray, a South African-born young lady has been living in Hong Kong for over nine years and recently returned to South Africa, attending DSG School in Grahamstown. Jules’ Save the Rhino journey started after hearing about the plight of the rhino, and deciding to do what she could to make a difference. When Jules Murray recently addressed the World Youth Rhino Summit, the most amazing thing was not the R160, 000 she has raised to date for rhino conservation. The most amazing thing is that Jules was just 13 years old! So, on her 11th birthday, Jules skipped the traditional birthday party and instead asked her friends to join her in painting Save the Rhino pictures, which were auctioned, raising R30, 000. Jules donated the money to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF), a local NGO dedicated to protecting and preserving the diminishing number of rhino in South Africa. CRF bought three radio tracking collars for rhinos in the Eastern Cape reserves. When Jules and her family later visited South Africa, the CRF team invited Jules to join them in the helicopter and to help collar the rhino. “The day had a huge impact on me. To be up close, and to see and touch these gentle giants was a truly humbling experience,” says Jules. “Meeting the CRF team was so inspiring; I knew I had to carry on doing what I could to raise money and awareness to save these beautiful creatures. So I started the JuMu Rhino Fund, determined to raise more money.”
Excerpt from Dereck Joubert, Chairman, Great Plains Foundation: It was very much like a blood moon as Beverly and I drove towards Duba Plains Camp and my mind toyed with the fact that for some rhinos it would literally be a blood moon. The red full moon was, in this case, setting before dawn as we mobilized; and somewhere in South Africa poachers were washing their hands after a hard night’s work, as they do most full moons now.
This is exactly what happened in the second week of September this year shortly after a friend of mine, Markus Jenson, who owns land in South Africa, contacted me about his rhinos. We’d been debating whether he should sell his rhinos and fund some anti-poaching on his land or give them to us (you no doubt know my feelings on this). A few days after our discussion he called me and said that the night before on a wonderful full moon, he’d heard gunshots. Four of his rhinos were dead.
In December 2015, ex-England cricketer and icon, Sir Ian Botham aka Beefy will walk across South Africa to raise money for four charities. Botham, his crew and supporters will cover a distance of 160 kilometres over eight stages, commencing on December 10 in the Western Cape (Llandudno, Cape Town and Stellenbosch), before passing through Port Elizabeth and Durban en route to Gauteng (Soweto and Johannesburg), with the last leg ending in Pretoria on December 17.