By Arthi Sanpath
Conservationists fear money donated by the public to help save the endangered rhino, could be lining the pockets of opportunistic fly-by-nights posing as NGOs.
Bandile Mkhize, chief executive of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, said “everyone was jumping on the bandwagon” proclaiming to help rhinos, but not everyone cared about the endangered animal. Conservationists were asking where the money raised from the public to help fight rhino poaching ended up.
Chris Galliers, the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa’s Rhino Initiative co-ordinator, said as there were numerous NGOs and non-profit organisations operating to save the rhino, there was a need to ensure that the public’s money went to the right places.
“A database of this nature is long overdue, and will help see who is doing what,” said Galliers.
He said there were many organisations capitalising on pretending to save the rhino.
There is so much alarm in environmental circles about scams involving fund-raising for rhinos that the government has stepped in and asked all organisations and individuals involved in anti-poaching and conservation projects to register with the Department of Environmental Affairs by the end of this month.
The department said “concerns have been raised by industry role players about the legitimacy of organisations involved in fighting rhino poaching”.
With it being World Rhino Day on Sunday, the move to register rhino projects has been lauded by conservationists as a step in the right direction. More....