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Rhino Parade takes off at King Shaka International Airport

Categories: HEADLINES, Animal Welfare
Recently a large group of people gathered at Newscafe at King Shaka Airport for a unique rhino unveiling event.

There were there to support two local sports celebrities, Pat Lambie and Shaun Pollock, as they pledged their commitment to the fight against rhino poaching. Pat and Shaun were the first two celebrities to raise their hands to become involved in the Durban leg of the Wildlands’ Rhino Parade, an innovative fundraising campaign based on the internationally renowned Cow Parade concept.

The initiative seeks to raise funding for the war on rhino poaching by getting South African Ambassadors to adopt and help design a ¾ life size black rhino sculpture, which is then auctioned at a high profile Gala Dinner, set to be held on the 29th of November at Durban City Hall.

The Rhino Parade concept caught the attention of avid wildlife fan and International rugby player, Pat Lambie. “I have grown up visiting Nature Reserves around the country and my family and I have always been passionate about the conservation of wildlife,” says Lambie. Pat is fairly soft-spoken off the field, but very outspoken about the rhino poaching crisis we currently face. “The butchering of rhino for their horn is something that makes me very angry and sad. It is a selfish and senseless act, especially considering that it’s based on a misconception that the horn has medicinal advantages,” he says.

Shaun Pollock is a retired South African cricketer said to be one of the best bowling all-rounders in the world. He is the leading wicket taker among South Africans, taking over 400 test wickets and scoring over 3,700 test runs in his 108 Test matches. Having travelled the world, Shaun still stands by the fact that there truly is no place like home. “It is fantastic to be part of something that is trying to protect our country’s heritage, and what makes us unique – our wildlife,” says Pollock. “I hope that my children’s children will be able to see a real live rhino and for this reason saw the need to get involved with the Rhino Parade. I have been blessed with success in my life, but now I am focused on making my life significant.”

The 2.5m long and 1.8m high rhino sculpture that is used to tell each celebrity’s individual story is made from a water-based resin, originated by Peter Hall, and then cast following a mould-making process by Kim Goodwin of the hugely respected Goodwin Foundry in Lidgetton.

DUT (Durban University of Technology) enthusiastically agreed to support the Rhino Parade by tasking their third year Graphic Design students to turn the blank rhino sculptures into true works of art, which they did above and beyond.

Vahenee Heeramun & Dean Irving are the bright young minds behind the Shaun Pollock rhino, in all its green and gold, patriotic beauty. Pat Lambie’s rhino, incorporating his passion for the environment and rugby, was the brainchild of Bradley Bhramadu, with one element inspired by Justine Barry. The students got to meet and interact with some of the celebrities, and this formed part of the artistic process that ultimately inspired their designs, which the students also implemented.

The Durban Rhino Parade includes four celebrity rhino, with the first two having been adopted by Shaun and Pat and the second two by legendary musician Ray Phiri and Olympic Gold Medallist Chad le Clos. These rhino will ultimately help fund the below mentioned conservation initiatives, with a vision to curb the poaching statistics.

• Supporting the establishment of a network of NGO’s working together to stop the poaching (Project Rhino KZN www.projectrhinokzn.org)
• Project Rhino Tracker – Piloting innovative GSM based tracking technology.
• Project Rhino Aerial Support – Complementary helicopter surveillance.
• Project Rhino Investigation & Prosecution Support

“We are honoured to be a part of this campaign as part of our Corporate Social Investment and assist by hosting these beautiful rhino artworks,” explains Communications and Brand Manager at ACSA, Colin Naidoo. “The rhino poaching crisis is directly linked to the tourism and travel industry and is therefore obviously a concern for us, however I believe this is EVERY South African’s problem – we need to all value and protect our heritage, and hope that through this parade we can inspire people to do just that. We are very confident that by having the rhinos displayed at King Shaka International Airport we will be reaching out more to the public and that each rhino will fetch a decent price at the auction in November to ultimately contribute funding to Wildlands’ conservation efforts.”

Images: (All images: Emma Gatland)
(Top) Shaun Pollock talking about his passion for our countries heritage and how he wants his children’s' children to be able to see live rhino.

(Centre) Pat Lambie talking about how rhino poaching is something that makes him very angry and sad. "It is a selfish and senseless act, especially considering that it's based on a misconception that the horn has medicinal advantages," he said.

(Bottom) Dr Bandile Mkhize (CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) talking to the fact that this year alone we have lost 381 rhino.

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