George TheRhino contentFrom living in a tent on top of a tower to a campaign in Vietnam, find out how wildlife activist Anton Fouche aims to reduce demand for rhino horn in Asia.

On Tuesday 22 March 2016 at 12:00, wildlife activist Anton Fouche begins his one-month-long scaffold tower endurance stunt as a fundraising exercise for George2Vietnam….

George2Vietnam is a three-phase campaign to send Anton and ‘George the Rhino’ to Vietnam on a powerful visual Wildlife Demand Reduction Campaign - with a simple message to the people of Vietnam: “You Buy – They Die”. It has been suggested that Vietnam is currently purchasing 80% of all illegal Rhino horn, and is the reason behind the targeted campaign to reduce demand in Asia.

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‘George the Rhino’ is a life-sized fibreglass replica of a white rhino set on a wheeled trolley, and has 1213 red dots painted on him to represent the number of Rhinos officially poached in 2014. Anton has already pulled ‘George the Rhino’ over 2000 km across South Africa over the past two years for his original campaign: “Walking for Rhinos and Rangers”. Stopping at schools and public events, his awareness campaign aims to show how many Rhinos are being poached in a simple and visual way.

Fouche’s inspiration for the Vietnamese project came from Vicky & Vanessa Wiesenmaeir’s cycling expedition from Hong Kong to Singapore in 2015 called “Buy No Rhino”. They were, in turn, inspired by none other than our own MyPlanet Ambassador, Braam Malherbe and his DOT (Do One Thing) campaign.

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Building on their success in educating people in Vietnam, Anton decided to follow in their footsteps by taking ‘George the Rhino’ as an additional visual educational aid. Respected conservationist, motivational speaker and founder of the DOT Foundation, Braam Malherbe is a strong supporter of the initiative: “The Foundation recognises applicants that are actively protecting threatened and endangered species. It aims to fund these initiatives to ensure long term results”. He explains that he founded the DOT Foundation because of the vital need to fund best practices in the conservation of biodiversity, “What Anton is about to do is a big DOT and hopefully each one of us will do his or her own DOT and support him. Together we can raise the money and help to save our rhinos.”

12:00 On Tuesday 22 March at 12:00, at Monte casino, Anton will be climbing up a scaffold tower to live in a tent at the top for one month. His fundraising goal is R1 000 000. While living at the top of the tower, he will invite and host celebrities to spend a night on the tower, participate in radio talk shows, telethons and television interviews and interact with public visitors. Everyone is invited to visit Anton at the tower in Montecasino, and meet ‘George the Rhino’ at the base of the scaffold tower to take photographs, and Braam will be joining Anton on the tower for a night. Supporting Anton before and during this endurance stunt are extreme conservationist Braam Malherbe and Patrick Cromwell from Awesome South Africans.

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A two-month road show across nine provinces will see Anton and ‘George the Rhino’ travelling around South Africa to schools, malls and public events. The aim is for South Africans to meet and take ownership of the campaign, to add their support for his claim that ‘South Africans are sending George 2 Vietnam’

Anton and ‘George the Rhino’ arrive in Vietnam to begin their visual educational campaign. In Vietnam, Anton will target schools for educational promotion, and international embassies to build support for the campaign.

‘We believe this will ultimately be key in reducing the demand to nothing in Asia, as this is the only way poaching will ever end.