By Michael Graham Richard
Good Guys Netherlands & Sweden
Now that's generosity! The Dutch Postcode Lottery and the Swedish Postcode Lottery together gave 232 million rands to the Peace Parks Foundation of South Africa to fight rhino poaching in the region. If you convert it to US dollars, that's over 21 million! Peace Parks wants to create a network of protected areas that links ecosystems across international borders.
South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa, said: “This is the largest single contribution made by the private sector to combat rhino poaching and wildlife crime. We welcome this public-private partnership to help ensure the survival of the species. This very generous donation gives new hope to save our rhino. I believe this grant from the Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries will be the catalyst to turn the tide on rhino poaching and wildlife crime.”
The majority of this funding will be spent on enhancing the existing efforts to protect rhino in South Africa, which hosts 83% of the continent’s wild rhino population.
All other southern African rhino range states have been consulted during the development of this project and they will form an integral part of the strategies designed to save the species.
The main focus will be the devaluation of the horns of live rhino, through a combination of methods, including the physical devaluation and contamination of the horn, as well as the use of tracking and monitoring technology.
This special project has been designed to augment the procedures implemented by SANParks in the Kruger National Park and the Mozambican government in Limpopo National Park, both integral to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. In particular, the emphasis will be on intelligence gathering and on technology applications such as conservation drones and other specialist equipment. It will also include training and capacity building, as well as incentives and rewards for rangers, communities and members of the public who support the conservation of rhino.
That's not all. WWF Netherlands is establishing an independent Wildlife Justice Commission in The Hague. The commission will collect evidence, prepare legal cases, and coordinate political lobbying and public pressure to stop wildlife crime. A portion of the Dream Fund and prize will go towards WWF Netherlands, who was a co-applicant, to support the establishment of this commission. Photos and video.