Three cheers to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles on extending its rhino protection partnership with the Wilderness Foundation for another year with the sponsorship of six new Amarok double cabs.
The R2-million sponsorship is Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ contribution to the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative pioneered by the Wilderness Foundation. This partnership started in June 2011 with the sponsorship of six Amaroks for use in proactive rhino protection and anti-poaching activities in game reserves in Mpumalanga, North West, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal.
The conservation agencies that benefit from the continued partnership are Sanparks, North West Parks & Tourism Board, Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency, KZN Wildlife and Eastern Cape Private Game Reserves Association (Indalo).
David Powels, MD, Volkswagen Group South Africa, says: “The extension of our partnership reaffirms our commitment to helping the Wilderness Foundation to fight the scourge of rhino poaching in our country. The Forever Wild initiative is in line with Volkswagen’s ‘Think Blue’ philosophy which promotes cooperation with organisations that are environmentally conscious and work towards the sustainability of endangered species such as rhinos.”
The Forever Wild Initiative is concerned with maintaining populations of free-ranging rhino within state and privately managed conservation areas. It supports conservation agencies and organised private game reserves to protect their rhino populations as part of functioning natural ecosystems.
The campaign also aims to focus the attention of politicians and decision makers and to encourage them to apply pressure both nationally and abroad to address the issue of the illegal trade in rhino horn and other wildlife products.
“We are very grateful to Volkswagen’s continued support with the Amaroks which we have placed in game reserves across the country. The vehicles are making a significant contribution in our fight against the poaching of rhinos and other wildlife related crimes,” says Matthew Norval, Director: Conservation at the Wilderness Foundation.
Over 550 rhinos have been killed in South Africa since the beginning of 2014.