Luxury experiential travel company &Beyond, along with industry partners, is inviting donors to participate in their planned translocation of up to a hundred black and white rhino from South Africa to Botswana.
Designed as a response to the current rhino poaching crisis, the initiative aims to remove rhino from existing high density populations that are experiencing increased poaching, and release them into the wild in Botswana. In addition to counteracting the immediate threat, the translocation will bolster Botswana’s stated objective to significantly increase the country’s rhino population. In this way, a breeding pool for the species will be reinforced in an area that is not experiencing the same pressure due to poaching.
With an estimated USD 8 million required to carry out the project, &Beyond is collecting donations through its corporate social responsibility partner, Africa Foundation. Africa Foundation was founded in 1992 as an independent non-profit tax-exempt organisation registered in South Africa to facilitate the development of rural communities living in or adjacent to wildlife conservation areas. Africa Foundation is joined in this effort by two independent tax-exempt organisations: Africa Foundation (USA) in the United States, and Africa Foundation (UK) in the United Kingdom.
While all donations are welcome, there are a number of donor packages which offer specific rewards for interested parties. Donors of amounts between USD 5 000 and USD 49 999 will receive a fine art print by Beverly Joubert, signed by the artist. Donations between USD 50 000 and USD 99 999 will be rewarded with a complimentary 2-night stay for two guests at either &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge or &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge in South Africa or at &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp or &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge in Botswana. In addition, donors will have the opportunity to participate in a rhino conservation initiative with the &Beyond land management team, their rhino monitors or the anti-poaching unit. Individual donations of between USD 100 000 and USD 249 999 will entitle the donor to a three-night stay at one of the same four &Beyond lodges or a Great Plains Conservation Camp in Botswana, as well as two one-hour scenic helicopter flights whilst at the camp.
Donors of amounts between USD 250 000 and USD 1 million will enjoy nine complimentary nights on safari for two people, consisting of three nights at &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge or &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, as well as three nights at &Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp or &Beyond Xudum Okavango Delta Lodge and three nights at a Great Plains Conservation Camp in Botswana. In addition to the same benefits as the previous tier, sponsorships of USD 1 million or more will entitle the donor to an advisory position on the &Beyond conservation team, as well as membership of the Great Plains Foundation. Such donors will also be filmed by a National Geographic film crew for a documentary that is to be produced about the translocation.
Corporate sponsors contributing USD 250 000 or more will enjoy branding rights on one rhino relocation container, which will be filmed during the rhino capture and release.
The funding generated through donations will go towards the conservation and protection of rhino. Out of the total collected, 40% will pay for the capture, transport, quarantine and release of the animals, whereas 60% will be dedicated to the continued conservation, protection and monitoring of the species, spread evenly between the rhino populations in South Africa and Botswana.
Fundraising for the project is in full swing and all monies must be received by September 2014. The capture and relocation of the animals will begin in January 2015 and is expected to continue for a number of months. Following the release, assistance will be provided in securing and monitoring the new rhino population. Top experts in technology, security and anti-poaching initiatives will work with the Botswana Defence Force and the Ministry of the Environment as part of the country’s anti-poaching efforts. The final phase of the project will focus on community education and outreach, including incentives for information leading to the arrest of poachers.
“It is our hope that the project will raise awareness that privately-led conservation efforts can have a positive and marked impact. The tourism sector, in particular, can play a meaningful role in identifying needs and solutions and then working with government to achieve their goals,” says Joss Kent, &Beyond CEO.