Cameron Pet Foods commits R2 for every bag sold to Stop Rhino Poaching campaign

Dog owners will soon be able show their support for an embattled wild species that has captured the hearts and minds of South Africans through purchases of a popular pet food range and help to protect over 500 rhinos in KwaZulu-Natal at the same time.

Cameron Pet Foods has signed an agreement with Project Rhino KZN that will see R2.00 from every bag of the company’s dog food sold through retailers, pet stores, co-ops and Veterinary clinics nationwide being donated to Project Rhino KZN’s Aerial Surveillance and Security programme. Through this year-long partnership, pet owners around the country will be contributing over R500,000.00 directly to fighting the rhino crisis.

“We are not only lovers of dogs but all animals, especially those that are unique to Africa and on the brink of extinction. Rhinos are a part of our heritage, our country, of us as nation.  Only when we all unite and contribute – big or small – can the efforts of organizations such as Project Rhino KZN save them for our future and for generations to come,” said Aniré van der Walt, Marketing Director for Cameron Pet Foods.

Africa has lost more than 100,000 rhinos in the past 45 years – a US$ trillion loss to the continent, which proves that rhino poaching is one of the most lucrative black market industries. 1,013 have been killed by poachers in South Africa since 2008 – 448 of them last year alone. If each rhino is valued at R500,000, this is a multi-billion Rand loss to the country, excluding tourism income and job creation value.

Half way through 2012, the rhino poaching tally is already at 245. Rhinos have roamed the earth for 50 million years but South Africa is now the last stronghold for the only two rhino species that have a fighting chance of survival, with around 20,000 southern White rhino and 1,900 of the more endangered Black rhino.

However, if poaching trends within South Africa continue at the current rate, conservation experts are vociferously warning that these two rhino species will be extinct within a lifetime.

25% of the country’sBlack rhinos and 20% of White rhinos reside on state, private and community-owned game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal.  Faced by a rapid increase in poaching threats and realising that effectiveness lay in working together, the province’s leading conservation organizations – including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, privately-owned reserves such as Thanda Game Reserve and top conservation NGOs – joined forces last year to form Project Rhino KZN.

The group works cooperatively to improve anti-poaching responses, share information and intelligence across large geographic areas, increase community knowledge of the value of rhinos – tourism value as well as job creation – and raise funds for priority anti-poaching and rhino conservation strategies.

Author: Muzi Mohale

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