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Christmas Message for the Waterberg Rhino Charity

Dear Friend of the Waterberg

We were all hoping for a better state of affairs as we approach Christmas this year. Sadly, there is a feeling of Groundhog Day with the imposition of travel bans yet again on South Africa.

Waterberg Rhino has enjoyed huge support by you all over the past 12 months and we would like to share some of the good news, despite the difficulties facing everyone.

The charity’s priority is the protection and well-being of rhino in the Waterberg. To this end, we have managed to cover the cost of security patrols throughout the entire year at the Ant’s Nest/Ant’s Hill reserve. Without this funding, it would have been impossible to continue with the necessary level of security, which at times has been under great pressure due to increased poaching activities.

While a decrease in poaching was seen in 2020, unfortunately during the first 6 months of 2021, there has been an increase of 50% in numbers killed in South Africa, with 30 rhino poached over this period in Limpopo Province.

You may also have heard about the amazing treatment of a rhino cow, Cunene, who suffered a broken foot. The rangers were quick to spot her injury and as a result, the vet was able to dart and treat her before the wound worsened. As you can imagine, speed of intervention is vital to bring a positive outcome in such a situation, and the rangers play a crucial role in this.

Our support has also extended to the team of rangers working in Atherstone Nature Reserve, a 23,000 hectare state-run reserve with a significant population of white and black rhino. News reached us that the rangers were working without an operational radio system, an impossible state of affairs in such a remote region. A new fully digital system has now been installed, with repeater, handheld and vehicle radios, transforming the lives of the rangers there.

With funds from our partner, Urban Rhino Gin, we were also able to supply them each with a pair of binoculars, another crucial piece of equipment.

The role of the community is essential for the successful conservation of wildlife and habitat. Waterberg Rhino is proud to fund a Food Garden Scheme, numbering some 15 gardens, in conjunction with the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. Together, we support Daniel Mashasha in his role as organiser and overseer of these school and community gardens, which help feed over 2,500 children a day and help supply fresh vegetables to 7 villages in the Vaalwater area. With advice and guidance from Daniel, the schools and cooperatives plant and grow vegetables, providing extra nutrition through the children’s lunch, while selling any surplus which can then go back into the gardens for more seeds and compost. A truly sustainable project that we hope to expand to more schools over the next year.

Our strong links with the Waterberg region allow us to direct funds to well-established and respected organisations that work hard to improve the lives of the local population. We have been delighted to be able to send funds to the following:

  • Lapalala Wilderness School – an inspirational environmental school which provides on-site courses to children from all backgrounds.
  • The Waterberg Academy Bursary Fund – offers financial assistance to families of children so they can benefit from an education at the well-renowned Waterberg Academy.
  • Security Initiative Group – first-aid equipment to this community-based group which provides life-saving treatment to victims of crime or injury when medical assistance is not at immediate hand.
  • New kitchen at Moepel Secondary School – the school cooks lunch for 250 children every day.

Like most charities this year, our fundraising has had to be online for the most part. In place of annual Ride for Rhinos, which should have taken place in the Waterberg, we organised a ‘virtual’ Ride for Rhinos, whereby riders from the UK, Holland, Germany and South Africa accumulated a distance of 8,000 miles by clocking up miles on horseback via the Equilab app, to ‘get’ to the Waterberg as a team, while raising funds through sponsorship.

Our first ‘live’ event took place in the form of an Art Fair, held in Bucklebury, Berkshire in October. Seventy people attended a preview drinks where they were able to view and purchase works by Ant Baber, Julia Cassels, Stephen Rew, Fred Gordon, Annabel Pope, Emily Thornton, Knox Field , Andrew Yates, Harry Blakey, Nesta Wigan, Catherine Ingleby and Rhino Tears. Many thanks to all the artists who took part.

At the time of writing we are still hoping for a miracle in the reversal of the travel bans, so that the actual Ride for Rhinos can take place at the end of January. Twelve riders are desperate to travel to Ant’s Nest for the 300km ride, while raising funds for what should be one of our flagship events. We will postpone the ride if necessary to ensure that it happens in 2022.

None of this would have been possible without the amazing contributions that you have all made throughout the year. As you can imagine, funding the security patrols is a constant and necessary demand, particularly with the recent news of increased poaching activity and the devastating economic fallout brought about by the restrictions on South Africa. If you are able to make a monthly, annual or single donation, please go to the link

Or to bank account Waterberg Rhino UK, sort code 20-65-20 account 53714071 IBAN GB84BUKB20652053714017

We greatly appreciate your support during these difficult times. Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and best wishes for better times in 2022
Trustees of Waterberg Rhino