Rhinos will be extinct in South Africa by 2015. The shock headline reverberated around the social networks on Monday. When one considers that 135 have been killed this year alone, that’s a rate of more than one a day, the alarming words by a woman who raises rhinos don’t sound way off the mark.
The issue of rhino poaching is one that local radio station, Jacaranda 94.2 has taken on, tirelessly raising funds for and awareness of the plight of these extraordinary animals. Now Jacaranda 94.2 has teamed up with M-Net soapie, The Wild, and top rock band, The Parlotones, to take the fight to a whole new level.
On Thursday night [March 22], the script of The Wild will become reality when The Parlotones and Jacaranda’s anti-poaching campaign become part of the storyline. The Parlotones will join characters at Dinaledi Lodge to perform at a function that Marang (Connie Ferguson) organised in memory of her late brother, Tiro Lebone. Tiro died tragically during a rhino poaching stake-out in January and was a passionate conservationist.
It will also herald the launch of a month-long campaign to raise funds for urgently needed tracker dogs that will culminate in a live show at the station’s Montecasino studio on April 18 in which listeners can pledge money for the dogs.
The Parlotones aren’t just performing on the soapie. Drummer Neil Pauw will donate a painting in the story – and in reality – to raise funds for the tracker dogs too.
“I was inspired to create the painting when I was at Sun City,” says Pauw. “It was at the golf challenge and there was a rhino force stand with horrific pictures of slaughtered rhinos. I felt that I needed to do something to try and fight this horrible and unnecessary act of insanity.
“I designed and painted the painting to be auctioned off so that all proceeds can go towards the fight against rhino poaching. It is an abstract acrylic painting of a white and a black rhino. The red horns are sadly red because of the blood and removal of their horns.”
Janina Oberholzer from Jacaranda 94.2 will be the MC and will auction off the painting on teh show. The band will also perform one of their new songs, called Goodbyes are never Easy.
Pauw says that it was a great privilege for him and the band to be on set at The Wild. “It’s awesome to see that they put their hearts out towards the fight against rhino poaching. The people we met were amazing and it was an absolute blast working with them all. Now let’s hope we can get huge support from all the viewers and readers.”
In reality, the painting will be auctioned when The Wild, The Parlotones and Jacaranda 94.2, take part in a campaign to raise awareness and much needed funds for tracker dogs. The dogs will be trained to operate out in the bush on rhino reserves as a pro-active approach to fight rhino poaching.
Not only will the dogs be taught to track human scent, enabling the anti-poaching team to track poachers far more quickly, but they will also be trained to protect team members, detect ammunitions and sniff down rhino horn. The dogs will be trained via the rhino dogs project, a collaboration between StopRhinoPoaching.com and the MECHEM Dog Unit, a subsidiary of Denel.
To train one dog is R40 000.00, and MECHEM will be sponsoring the handler training for the dogs as part of their CSI project, valued at R15 000 per handler. StopRhinoPoaching.com will facilitate the dog placement in rhino reserves.
The campaign kicks off on March 22 and will peak on April 18 at Jacaranda’s Monte Casino studio when the public can pledge live on air and bid for the painting during the Martin Bester Drive from 4 – 7pm. The Parlotones, cast members from The Wild and tracker dogs Russell, Ruby and Jack will be there to meet the public and to encourage potential donors. The project aims to raise enough money to train at least two dogs.