Medivet’s Saving the Rhino campaign has received a timely double boost with news of a special new arrival and the sentencing of a notorious poaching gang.
Our valued charity partner, Wilderness Foundation Africa – which Medivet clients support through their generous donations in our practices – recently reported that a baby rhino was recently born at Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
The male calf, named Mthetho, was born to Thandi who - after being left for dead after a vicious poaching attack in 2012 - was nursed back to health in a story of survival that touched hearts across the world, and which was the catalyst for Medivet’s involvement in the plight of the rhino.
The welcome news coincided with the sentencing of the infamous Ndlovu poaching gang, who recently received 25-year prison sentences at the Grahamstown High Court. The gang had been convicted of 55 criminal counts involving the poaching of 13 rhinos over four years in the province. Wilderness Foundation Africa, supported directly by Medivet and others, played a significant part in the outcome of this case.
Former Medivet colleague, Dr William Fowlds, Medivet Project Co-ordinator for Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Forever Wild Rhino Programme, lead the efforts to save Thandi after the attack in 2012 in which two other rhinos were killed and appeared on news channels across the world in the weeks and months that followed, spreading the message about the suffering and threat this iconic species was facing.
Dr Fowlds said: “Mthetho’s safe arrival was fantastic news and was a milestone in our battle to conserve this wonderful species. Mthetho, which means “Justice” in isiXhosa, is a beacon of hope in our fight to save this species. Congratulations Thandi.”
We launched our Saving the Rhino campaign back in 2015 in partnership with Wilderness Foundation Africa. Donations made by clients using the Pennies portal installed in Medivet’s practices have so far exceeded the £450,000 mark, which brings the total amount raised by Medivet Saving the Rhino to more than £600,000 since the project’s inception. The additional monies have been raised through staff, client and supplier donations and through a variety of staff fund-raising initiatives.
John Smithers, Medivet Senior Partner and project lead for Medivet Saving the Rhino, was delighted at the news of the conviction and Mthetho’s birth.
“We congratulate all those involved in securing a conviction for their fortitude and determination to see justice done. How ironic is it that on the very day the poachers were sentenced, a baby rhino was born to a rhino cow which was herself a victim of a poaching attack,” he said.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Medivet clients, staff and our many suppliers, who have contributed funding and equipment to the project.
The Wilderness Foundation is part of a global alliance of charities that aims to protect and connect wilderness, wildlife and people. Funds raised by Medivet have played a key role in helping to protect the rhino in the Eastern Province of South Africa, which is being driven close to extinction by poachers in response to rocketing demand for rhino horn in some Asian countries.
Every eight hours, another rhino is killed for their horn in South Africa. In partnership with wildlife vet Dr William Fowlds and the Wilderness Foundation Africa, we’re on a mission to combat the rhino poaching crisis.