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Project Update - October 2016

Dear Rhino Lover,

2016 Sculpture by the Sea – a winning partnership

The Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition in Sydney is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The exhibition aims to give the Australian public access to inspiring and thought-provoking art. However, the primary mission is to spread important conservation messages that will spark much-needed environmental change. And it’s the perfect platform to do this. Sculpture by the Sea is touted as the world’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibition. In fact, it’s estimated that a staggering three million people will attend the event this year.

We were thrilled when we were approached by world-renowned artists Gillie and Marc Schattner to join forces to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino. The artists have created the world’s largest rhino sculpture which they have named Shandu – meaning “change”. Shandu is an incredible five meters tall. He is upside down and buried in the sand, working as poignant reminder that rhinos are going belly up and if we don’t change things they will be buried forever.

Needless to say, we were delighted to partner with Gillie and Marc. It is a monumental effort and we are incredibly proud to associate ourselves with these wonderful artists at such a prestigious event. So please head down to stunning Tamarama Beach and visit Shandu between October 20 and November 6— the imagery of this sculpture is very powerful indeed. The exhibition is free.

Please watch the latest episode of Sydney Weekender to meet the artists and hear all about the sculpture - http://www.sydneyweekender.com.au/swe-stories/sculpture-by-the-sea

Buried Rhino to feature in Sculpture by the Sea Exhibition from October 20 to November 6 at Tamarama Beach

 

Dr Ian Player and Gary Player

As many of you would know, Dr Ian Player is considered by many as the father of rhino conservation. His efforts to save the rhinos in the 1960’s and 1970’s involved creating insurance populations and nurturing the rhino back from extinction. Ian was a great supporter of The Australian Rhino Project in that he passionately believed that the risks to the rhino population must be widely spread. He was also a believer that Australia was an ideal destination and said
“It is impossible to overemphasise the importance of having a decent white and black rhino population surviving in Australia, particularly as the habitat in certain parts of Australia, thanks to the African exotic introductions, is just made for the rhino.”

Sadly, Ian passed away two years ago. What many people don’t know is that Gary Player and Ian were brothers. A very talented family. We are pleased, proud and grateful that Gary Player has endorsed The Australian Rhino Project

“… My brother Ian Player and his colleagues are rightfully credited with saving the white rhino from extinction. This was a monumental effort which took persistence and determination, two characteristics that Ian instilled in me as a young boy. It caused Ian great sadness before his passing that the rhinos were, once again, under threat from the scourge of poaching. Ian believed strongly that a key element of saving the species was spreading the risk and, for this reason, he supported moving a group to Australia as envisioned by Ray Dearlove and The Australian Rhino Project”

Ian and Gary Player

 

Poaching

In a meeting that I had with Major General Johan Jooste of SANParks last year, he described the rhino poaching situation as an undeclared war. These two links certainly emphasise that point.

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/3-alleged-poachers-shot-dead-in-game-reserve-20160930?utm_source=news24-am-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletters

http://www.citizen.co.za/1252548/poacher-out-on-bail-sneaks-into-kruger-again-gets-killed/

Another indicator as to why this poaching issue is so complex is the matter of corruption – please see this link where a highly decorated Game Ranger in the Kruger National Park was caught with a rhino that he had shot for its horn. It is tragic.

http://lowvelder.co.za/347412/knp-ranger-allegedly-sent-accomplice-away-to-hide-poached-rhino-horns-during-bakkie-chase/

Whilst official poaching statistics are no longer published for poaching within South Africa, indications are that the kill rate remains around 100 rhinos per month. What is most concerning is that the poachers seem to be spreading their path of destruction to more regions of South Africa beyond the Kruger National Park. Six rhinos were killed in one weekend last month in the Hluhluwe- Imfolozi Parks in Kwazulu Natal.

The situation is desperate and it is also critically urgent that alternative strategies – such as The Australian Rhino Project – are implemented as soon as possible.

This short video provides an interesting insight into the life of a poacher. http://video.dailytelegraph.com.au/v/520366/Confessions-of-a-Rhino-Poacher-by-Paula-Froelich

Rhino after a wallow in the mud. Photo taken on the Endangered Rhino Safari in May 2016. Photo credit: Sarah Dennis

 

Project Update

Many people would have heard me talk about the four pillars in this project being:

  • Ensuring good governance and compliance
  • Obtaining the Australian Government approval to import the rhinos into Australia
  • Obtaining the South African Government approval to export the rhinos to Australia
  • Fundraising

This list is not sequential; all four pillars need to be addressed simultaneously.

As we have mentioned before, the Australian Government’s biosecurity laws are understandably stringent and we have been and will continue to be responsive to and supportive of these requirements. To date we have provided comprehensive scientific detail to the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources regarding rhinos and the risk of disease. We have also provided detailed information about the planned quarantine facility in South Africa. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is currently reviewing and assessing this detail at the time of sending out this newsletter.

We are regularly asked about the ‘physical’ process to get the rhinos to Australia. Simplified, it goes like this.

In South Africa – identify the rhinos, dart, capture, transport to the quarantine facility. In quarantine for a period to be determined by the Australian Department of Agriculture; transport to Johannesburg airport. Fly to Australia.

In Australia – transport to the quarantine facility. In quarantine for a period to be determined by the Australian Department of Agriculture.

You will understand that this really is a highly simplified description of the process – there is a huge amount of planning, paperwork and compliance to go through for each step.

So, in summary, we continue to work daily on planning a future for rhinos in the safe haven of Australia and are currently working with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as to the next steps.

A friendly rhino says "Good Morning" on the Endangered Rhino Safari. Photo credit: Kirsty Talmage

 

Free Rhino Pin Promotion

Buy an item from our SHOP at www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org between now and the end of October and we will throw in a free pin valued at $10 with ANY order. No need to add it to your order - our magic elves will automatically include it in your despatch. Start your Christmas shopping early.

newsletter oct 2016

 

Rhino Heroes

We were really honoured and excited to be included in a list of Rhino Heroes alongside some very distinguished names in the conservation world. Please see this link – we are very proud

http://www.sapeople.com/2016/09/24/thanks-heroes-saving-rhino-south-african-heritage/

 

CITES

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016. The purpose of these meetings is to create agreements between countries that ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants do not threaten their survival

It was a long conference, but some of the key decisions taken were, as follows:

  • The first African Elephant proposals (CoP 17 Proposals 14 & 15) were made by Zimbabwe and Namibia and sought the removal of annotations to the Appendix II listing so as to allow Zimbabwe and Namibia to trade in ivory. The proposals were rejected in a secret ballot.
  • The next proposal by northern African nations (CoP17 Proposal 16) sought to place all African Elephants on Appendix I. It was rejected in an open vote. 62 nations voted for the up-listing, 12 abstained and 72 were against (including the EU and U.S.).
  • Swaziland made a proposal to (CoP17 Proposal 7) to alter annotations to Appendix II listing of Swaziland's White Rhino so as to allow regulated trade in horn collected from natural deaths, seizures and non-lethal harvest. It was rejected (100 voted no, 17 abstained, 27 voted for the proposal).

A young rhino calf with some attitude that was ear notched and DNA swabbed by the guests on the Endangered Rhino Safari 2016

Photo credit: Linda Caroline Lee

 

World Rhino Day - 22nd September

A big thank you to everyone for your support for World Rhino Day. We managed to connect with over 200,000 people during the month of September and share the story of the plight of the world's rhinos.

One of the key highlights was our World Rhino Day display in Martin Place, Sydney. Many people came and asked us questions about the project, made donations and purchased hats. Special thanks to Investec for their support with the event and our friends at Plum Play for helping with the display and donating a business card draw prize.

Rhino Ray makes a journey to the big smoke

 

Upcoming Events

Out of Africa Festival - Perth - 29th October 2016


The inaugural Out Of Africa Festival will take place in Rockingham in Perth from 10am - 6pm on the 29th October. The festival will include stalls of African food, African drumming and dancing demonstrations including International Dance Academy group- INDONI. Plus Perth based African bands, Village Vibes Tribal Dance Band & Soukouss Internationale!!

The event is family friendly and more details including ticketing details can be found at http://www.gcoproductions.com/index.html

 

3 Bay Challenge – Sydney - 13th November 2016

The 3 Bay Challenge was created by one of our Young Rhinos, Vincent Stander, as an annual event that was a biathlon where everyone is welcome. Over the past 3 years, the event has attracted participants from professional athletes to corporate teams to families.

The 3 Bay Challenge is a three stage biathlon where participants run and swim at three of Sydney's iconic harbour beaches: Nielsen Park, Parsley Bay, Watsons Bay. The course comprises three running legs and three swimming legs. Total distance is a 6km run and 750m swims. Marshalls and lifeguards are on the course at all times. The event is designed to be challenging, unique and also good fun set in an idyllic location with the backdrop of the Sydney CBD.

After successfully competing in the 3 Bay Challenge, the tradition is to all meet at the Watson’s Bay Hotel for a celebratory drink and bite to eat. Registration fee includes one drink and food item.

The 3 Bay Challenge is a perfect weekend challenge for professionals, biathlon enthusiasts and those competing for the first time.

​Register today and take the challenge with us on Sunday 13th November.

Details:
Date: Sunday 13th November 2016
Location: Robertson Park, Watsons Bay
Time: 6:45am for registration, 7:15am start
Distance: 6km run, 700m swim
Tickets: $40 per person, all proceeds go to the Australian Rhino Project.

All funds raised from the 3 Bay Challenge go directly to The Australian Rhino Project.

3 Bay Challenge course - great for both professionals and first timers

 

Endangered Rhino Safari - South Africa - 17th - 25th March 2017

Places are still available for this nine day safari to South Africa escorted by Ray Dearlove. This is your chance to travel with Ray to witness first hand the struggle for Rhino conservation in South Africa. The safari will visit two unique eco‐systems all with established rhino conservation projects underway. You will meet and spend time with some of the leaders in the field of rhino conservation.

The journey aims to provide you with an insight into what the real conservation issues are, how they are being tackled, how the Rhino are being protected and the commitment required in order to save the species from extinction. It is also a fabulous safari with plenty of game viewing activities and will appeal to both first‐time travellers to Africa, or those who have a deeper interest in the wildlife.

The safari will provide you with access to rhino experiences that are not available to the general public.

To make an enquiry today visit: http://www.theaustralianrhinoproject.org/index.php/upcoming-events/endangered-rhino-safari-2017

The 2016 Endangered Rhino Safari group with the team from Madikwe Safari Lodge

 

In summary, thank you for your ongoing support, it has been a long journey, but we cannot afford to give up. I’d like to leave you with a poem which is certainly worth reading and considering

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Indian Prophecy

Ray Dearlove
October 2016

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