Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape says UK charity Helping Rhinos has raised over R1,2 million (GBP70,000) for rhino conservation and awareness.
Founder Simon Jones said in a comment posted on Facebook, "It is fair to say that the emotional connection with Thandi and Kariega, having spent 6 weeks there as a volunteer, and the images of her laying in pools of blood as Dr Fowlds worked to try and save her, was the final push for me to do something that could make a tangible difference."
Thandi has become a symbol of hope against the cruelty of Rhino poaching after she was brutally poached and left for dead in 2012. Since then she has made a full recovery and has given birth to a baby rhino recently named Thembi, meaning "hope" in isiXhosa – a fitting name considering her mother’s history.
Kariega is celebrating Thandi’s recovery story by highlighting all those who have made a contribution during the month of March.
Jones said in a post on the Kariega website, “"I was a volunteer at Kariega for 6 weeks in 2010. On returning to the UK I started to work on a conservation project at a big cat breeding centre in the UK. In early 2012 that work was coming to an end and I wanted to get more involved with animals in the wild, and in particular my all time favourite, the rhino.
“At about this time, Kariega suffered the poaching of Thandi and Themba and the 2nd bull. After looking into the possibilities of how I could help and with the maximum impact, and UK charity Helping Rhinos was born.
Now into its 3rd year, Helping Rhinos have given a large number of school, college, university and business talks. We also ran the Rhino Art project in the UK, and through our partner WildAct, in Vietnam. We took students from the UK, China and Vietnam to the first ever World Youth Rhino Summit at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
“We have run a series of fundraising campaigns since the launch of Helping Rhinos, including a South African theme celebration family day with auction in 2014 and the launch of Skydive4Rhinos (UK). We have raised around £70,000 (R1.2 million) since the launch of Helping Rhinos,” said Jones.