Formed 10 years ago to help wage war on rhino poaching, MyPlanet Rhino Fund and its supporters are helping preserve the future of this iconic species.
Home to the largest population of Africa’s iconic rhinos, South Africa is engaged in a war on poaching. Around 10 years ago, private and public rhino sanctuaries were locked in a dangerous battle with organised crime for their survival.
When MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet heard the outcry from its loyal supporters, the community loyalty programme stepped up. In April 2011, the MyPlanet Rhino Fund was born — to help raise funds to protect our magnificent rhinos for generations to come.
With over 50 000 people supporting the fund (and more joining each year), its goal is to support projects in rhino conservation to build capacity and conservation capabilities across southern Africa.
As rhinos remain threatened with extinction in the wild, it’s one of the biggest supporter-driven fundraising initiatives focused on rhino protection. As MyPlanet Rhino Fund Chairman and co-creator Pieter Twine explains, the impact of this collective effort is incredible.
“South Africans want to play an active role in helping tackle the rhino poaching crisis but aren’t always sure how. By combining our fundraising efforts, and creating a platform for rhino conservation, we’re able to ensure that the funds are used in the best possible way, through best practice initiatives and good governance.”
Over a decade, the MyPlanet Rhino Fund has invested in many projects. Highlights include establishing K9 anti-poaching units, LPR camera networks, air surveillance capability, investments in mobile radar capability, night vision equipment, all-terrain vehicles, training of rangers, security technology, orphaned rhino care, dehorning of high-risk animals in key locations and much more.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, rangers were kept employed (and families supported) to retain conservation skills. With many reserves down on their knees financially, this funding was a lifeline for many rhino populations, rangers and their families who depended on wildlife tourism.
Every project is independently assessed with the help of experts, identifying best-practice initiatives, proven innovation in technology and day-to-day conservation needs. With every cent carefully managed and accounted for, MyPlanet Rhino Fund is set to grow in strength as it protects and preserves this iconic species.
Success story: Eyes in the sky.
Thanks to a new FOXBAT light aircraft, SANParks’ anti-poaching teams in Kruger National Park have an ‘eye in the sky’ in the fight against poaching. The cost-effective FOXBAT plays an essential role in monitoring rhinos, identifying and responding to threats. It also ensures that Kruger’s anti-poaching unit is better equipped when it comes to combatting increasingly sophisticated gangs of rhino poachers.
“Over the past few years, we have had great success due to our deployment of aircraft piloted by rangers over the vastness of Kruger,” says Steven Whitfield, Marula North Regional Ranger in the Kruger National Park and pilot of the new aircraft. “Aircraft have become irreplaceable assets enabling quick response and support to poaching incidents. They are vital in improving monitoring identifying high risk areas, patrolling remote areas inaccessible by vehicle and foot, and enhancing our rapid detection and response capabilities as poaching trends shift.”