By Adele du Toit
A seven-year-old Johannesburg schoolgirl has raised over R17 000 in under a year to support the SANParks Honorary Rangers in their fight against rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP). By selling chocolates and stickers, Alyssa Carter, the youngest ever winner of a prestigious SANParks Kudu award, aims to raise enough money to help the KNP buy a trained sniffer dog and all the necessary supplies the dog will need.
“After we learnt about endangered animals at school and I heard about the rhinos being killed, I actually cried. They are such beautiful animals and I just don’t want them to be killed,” said Alyssa. With the help of her parents, Alyssa started making and selling chocolates in May 2013. Each chocolate has a hand-drawn picture of a rhino created by Alyssa on it. She sells her sweets at market days and at school every Friday for R10 each, and is often invited to other schools to share her cause.
“We are exceptionally proud of her. This was all her own idea and all we have done is to support her where she needs it,” said Alyssa’s father, Brian Carter. Buying and taking care of a sniffer dog normally costs in the region of R100 000.
“The funds have been put into an account specifically earmarked for Alyssa’s goal. Once the target has been achieved, we will purchase the dog,” explained Louis Lemmer, Deputy Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
Through her efforts, Alyssa won the SANParks Kudu Award for Corporate Contribution to Conservation in 2013, and is also the youngest ever person to be named a SANParks Rhino Champion. “Her award is in recognition of her entrepreneurial spirit and acknowledging that the fight against rhino poaching requires funding,” said SANParks Honorary Rangers National Chairperson Janssen Davies.
“What she is doing is a triumph for her generation and we are proud to have her as a supporter,” Davies added. SANParks Honorary Rangers is a volunteer organisation of 1200 members, functioning according to an official agreement between SANParks and the Honorary Rangers. The non-profit organisation is SANParks’ preferred counter poaching partner and has provided R17 million in counter poaching support over the past four years. To find out more about Alyssa’s Save the Rhinos campaign, visit www.savetherhinos.co.za or www.sanparksvolunteers.org, or call Brian Carter on 082 855 3281.