WESSA’s rhino poaching interventions recognised at the Mail & Guardian’s 2013 Greening the Future Awards

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The seriousness of poaching and criminality in South Africa has continued to escalate and WESSA believes that it can only be effectively addressed through a more collaborative, informative, and well-networked alliance of agencies and organisations across South Africa. This approach has also been recognised by the Mail & Guardian at their 10 Years of Greening the Future celebration held in Johannesburg last night.

Project Rhino KZN, of which WESSA is a founding member, was the winning project in the awards’ Rhino Rescue Category. Project Rhino is a leading example of how various like-minded stakeholders and supporters are working collaboratively, to conserve and protect the proud rhino conservation history of the province. WESSA would like to congratulate Sheelagh Antrobus, in particular, for her co-ordinating efforts with this project

WESSA’s Game Reserves United (GRU) project received the runner- up award in the same category. This project is working towards lowering the level of rhinos killed in South Africa, with specific focus on the reserves and surrounding landscapes to the west of the Kruger National Park. These reserves and other stakeholders, including SANParks, law enforcement agencies and conservation agencies, are working in a collaborative and co-ordinated manner to gather information which aims to pre-empt and respond proactively to rhino poaching. GRU also aims to serve as a model for other collaborative landscape level conservation efforts in the future.

As a nation that should pride itself on its natural environment and abundant wildlife, it is South Africa’s duty to continue to protect, conserve, and prevent the loss of such a flagship and economically valuable species as the rhino. It is through the hard work and dedication of individuals and organisations that we see the fight being taken to those responsible for the poaching of our rhino.