Two European lotteries last night presented the Peace Parks Foundation of South Africa a combined total donation of 232 million rand (just under £13 million). The donation is the largest private sector donation made so far in the fight against the poachers of South Africa.
South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Minister Edna Molewa has welcomed the donations today from the Dutch Postcode Lottery (R217 million) and the Swedish Postcode Lottery (R15.2 million).
Minister Molewa said: “This is the largest single contribution made by the private sector to combat rhino poaching and wildlife crime. We welcome this public-private partnership to help ensure the survival of the species.”
The R217 million (€14.4 million) cheque was received from the Dutch Prime Minister, Mr Mark Rutte and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on behalf of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, by Mr Mavuso Msimang, the government’s Rhino Issue Task
Manager and Peace Parks Foundation board member, Dr David Mabunda, CEO of SANParks, Dr Bandile Mkhize, CEO of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, and Mr Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation.
The money will be spent on making rhino horn less valuable through contamination of the horn and also bringing in new tracking and monitoring of the horn.
The funding will also be used to augment the procedures implemented by SANParks in the Kruger National Park and the Mozambican government in Limpopo National Park, both integral to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. In particular, the emphasis will be on intelligence gathering and on technology applications such as conservation drones and other specialist equipment. It will also include training and capacity building, as well as incentives and rewards for rangers, communities and members of the public who support the conservation of rhino.
The Peace Parks Foundation works closely with the South African government, South Africa National Parks and other regulatory and law enforcement organisations.
Minister Molewa added that: “This very generous donation gives new hope to save our rhino. I believe this grant from the Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries will be the catalyst to turn the tide on rhino poaching and wildlife crime.”
Commenting on the grant, Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Mr Werner Myburgh said: “Peace Parks Foundation was established in 1997 to assist the region’s governments in their development of transfrontier conservation areas. Our biggest supporter in this endeavour has been the Dutch Postcode Lottery and more recently the Swedish Postcode Lottery. We thank the lotteries and their players for this tremendous support to combat wildlife crime and we look forward to working with the southern African governments in ensuring the survival of the region’s rhino.”