From pensioners giving their precious R10, to donations of luxury accommodation and the gift of a life-size fibre-glass rhino, support for the world-first Skydive for Rhinos is pouring in from the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) public and business communities.The organisers of what ‘should’ have been a staff-based effort to personally raise funds from friends and family for rhinos under threat from organised poaching syndicates, are astonished by the torrent of support this KZN initiative is receiving.
In addition to the cash donations, other gifts of support include: a unique designer ladies ‘wrap’ that incorporates ancient San Rock Art rhino motifs in the design, collectable wines, weekends at five-star game reserves, helicopter flips, donations for camera traps, aerial patrols and basic equipment for anti-poaching units, autographed conservation memorabilia and two table-top bronze sculptures of black and white rhino.
Skydive for Rhinos is the brainchild of a handful of staff from the African Conservation Trust (ACT), an IUCN Member and a KZN-based non-profit organisation that is better known for its work in preserving the Drakensberg’s San Rock Art and pioneering community-based initiatives that include water conservation, preservation of threatened coastal forests and large-scale environmentally-friendly food security and recycling initiatives.
“We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of business owners, game reserves, holiday resorts and tourism operations, artists, published writers, wine estates, film producers, venues, caterers, office suppliers and media houses – to name a few,’ said Sheelagh Antrobus, ACT’s spokesperson. “All we can say is a huge ‘Thank you’. 100% of all donations will go towards stopping the slaughter of our rhinos.”
In celebration of August being Women’s Month, half of the skydiving team are women, who range in age from university students, to new moms, to glamorous grannies. They will be joined by Jabulani Ngubane (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s dedicated Rhino Conservation Officer) and Andrew Zaloumis (CEO of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern KZN). The oldest skydiver is the 65 year-old, aptly named Noreen Courage.