African Conservation Trust (ACT) and Project Rhino are working together with a new approach to counteract rhino poaching by establishing food gardens in communities bordering rhino reserves. Poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity place these vulnerable communities at high risk of wildlife crime involvement. The focus of this campaign is to supply families with non-GMO heirloom seedlings, equipment, guidance and mentorship. Each mentor or Rhino Ambassador lives in the community supervising up to 50 gardens whilst simultaneously serving as a link to the neighbouring rhino reserve and imparting environmental conservation knowledge. They are highly trained, passionate and the most promising students from the Future Farmers Foundation Trust, an organization which nurtures young emerging farmers. Should a gardener grow more food than his or her requirements, ACT will facilitate access to markets, enabling families to enjoy a well-deserved income from their homestead garden. And as these communities thrive, the temptation of involvement in wildlife crime decreases.
How can you be involved?
Become an ACTivist and support ACT and Project Rhino’s Make a Difference Campaign with a single donation or by signing a debit order form. For every R150 donation or monthly debit order, your name will be entered into a lucky draw to win this fabulous Toyota Aygo in March 2018. So what are you waiting for? Use the donate button, zapper or download a debit order form today! Or find our activation team at a KZN mall close to you. See the Events page on our website for more information.
Who is ACT?
The African Conservation Trust is a not for profit, public benefit and BBBEE Level 1 rated organization that was established in 2000. The head office is in central Hillcrest on the sunny East Coast of South Africa in KwaZulu-Natal. Our dedicated team of 27 is passionate about the conservation of our country’s environment and heritage and we are driven to make a difference on a daily basis. We are very proud of our many and varied projects and of our role as a member and nominated Secretariat of Project Rhino.
Who is Project Rhino?
Project Rhino is an association launched in 2011, comprising of 21 organisations all with the primary focus on rhino conservation.
Their vision, as stated on their website, is for black and white rhino populations to be “forever free, forever secure from poaching, well managed and protected.” Project Rhino’s multi-pronged strategy makes community engagement and rhino security priority.
The Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing (ZAP-Wing) is a vitally important aspect of providing security for our rhino population and are at the fore front in the fight against poaching. The Hluhluwe Airfield Anti-Poaching Ops Centre (the well -equipped ZAP-Wing base) is the command centre where both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft provide reaction support and aerial surveillance to 26 game reserves, including state and private. From here the dedicated ZAP-Wing staff participate in daily aerial patrols; assist rangers and APU teams when in hot pursuit; airlift SAPS, K9 Units and APU teams into inaccessible locations in conjunction with surveillance of suspicious vehicles and activities on rhino reserve boundaries.
Project Rhino also provides skills training for field rangers and Anti-Poaching Units. These accredited courses include Counter Insurgency Tracker Training; Use of Force (combat/arrest techniques, armed engagements and legal requirements for arresting poachers); Counter Poaching Awareness Training (fence patrols and fence incursions); Field Ranger Mentorship and finally Ranger Well-Being Psycho-social Support (for rangers with PTSD).
The Project Rhino/ACT Make a Difference food garden campaign is the latest example of how this dedicated and committed association is looking at the rhino poaching issue from a fresh perspective.
Project Rhino Members:
African Conservation Trust
AndBeyond (Phinda Private Game Reserve)
Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (WWF)
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
Game Rangers Association of Africa
Hawks Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation
Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation
Magqubu Ntombela Foundation
Midlands Wildlife Security Initiative
Spaces for Elephants Foundation
Wilderness Action Group
Wilderness Leadership School
Wildlands Conservation Trust
Wildlife ACT Fund
Zululand Rhino Reserve
Zululand Wildlife Security Initiative