Race for the Rhino
Race for the Rhino logo (File)
Cape Town - Riders from all over the world participate in the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour for any number of reasons. The thrill of competition, to challenge their body’s endurance or simply to take in the magnificence of the Cape Peninsula.
But this year 50 cyclists from all walks of life will be in the saddle with a particular cause in mind, and with the hope of raising awareness and funds to help the plight of the rhino as the battle against poaching of these iconic African animals reaches a critical point.
In 2011, 448 rhino were illegally killed for their horns and this year it appears likely that number will be exceeded. Yet more did not die, but were left in a wounded state as their horns were brutally cut from them. For these fortunate few, there is at least a road to recovery.
‘Race for the Rhino’ hopes to raise in excess of R25 000 that will be donated to the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, which is run under the banner of the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF).
The project seeks to grow a sustainable habitat in KwaZulu-Natal for the critically endangered Black Rhino by building relationships with landowners to increase the roaming area of animals, and in doing so allow them to flourish as a species and grow their numbers.
Ricky Lawrence, one of the organisers of Race for the Rhino, says it was a feeling of helplessness over the killing of these animals that drove the idea of using the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour event as a springboard to raising funds for the cause.
“It has been a year of slaughter for the rhino and as ordinary South Africans there is very little that we can about poaching, other than support the law enforcement agencies where we can,” Lawrence says.
“The brutality that has been meted out on these animals simply for the profit to be made out of their horn is inhumane and any right-minded person would find it repulsive. It is likely that right now there are syndicates who are targeting their next kill, and although there is very little that we as ordinary citizens can do to stop them pulling the trigger, we can do our best to help these animals as a species.
“The target this year as we start out this campaign is R25 000 to be given to the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, but that is a figure we hope to grow substantially in the coming years. We have a team of 50 cyclists competing in the 2012 Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour, who are all riding to raise funds and try and make a difference for these animals.”
Lawrence says they have already received support in the form of cash and prizes from a number of local business, most notably Rhino Africa Safaris, Enjoy Fitness, Arnolds, SpecSavers, Pam Golding Properties, Omnico, as well as the Race for the Rhino team members themselves.
“Our bikes will be decorated and our tops will make us recognisable as the Race for the Rhino team. We have targeted finishing the race inside five hours and hope that people recognise the efforts of the riders and that give generously to this cause so that their grandchildren may have the same privilege as us of seeing these magnificent animals outside of a zoo setting,” Lawrence says.
Individuals or businesses wishing to make donations may do so at www.racefortherhino.givengain.org
. Race for the Rhino is a registered charity.