Part of Shamwari Group, Shamwari Game Reserve, situated in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth, proudly opened ‘The Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre’ yesterday, 7 June 2012, which has been initiated as part of the Forever Wild campaign and due to the rhino devastation that South Africa is presently facing.
Also at the launch a cheque for R182, 800.00 was presented by the Shamwari Group, as a result of the Forever Wild campaign, to the Wilderness Foundation. The money will be used by the Wilderness Foundation to raise public awareness of the rhino poaching crisis including information boards, displays, leaflets, radio and media campaigns, to support law enforcement agencies with equipment required to enhance their capabilities, for logistical and operational support for conservation agencies responsible for rhino security and for facilitation of rhino security workshops.
Earlier this year, Shamwari Group joined forces with the Wilderness Foundation to create the Forever Wild campaign which offers a reduced rate at any of the Shamwari Group properties, when guests donate R100.00 or more per person to the Forever Wild campaign and Shamwari then donates R500.00 for each booking.
At the launch Dr Ian Player, founder of the Wilderness Foundation, and who was the guest of honour, presented a short talk expressing his heartfelt life passion for the conservation of rhinos. Andrew Muir who heads up the Wilderness Foundation, Joe Cloete the Group General Manager of Shamwari Group, John O’Brien, Shamwari Group Ecologist and Dr Johan Joubert, Shamwari Group Wildlife Manager and Veterinarian were all present at the launch.
Volkswagen has also come on board and has donated 6 VW Amarok bakkies to the Wilderness Foundation and one was given to Indalo, an Eastern Cape Private Nature Reserve Association, which helps fight against rhino poaching.
The Wilderness Foundation has created 9 unique rhino displays, which was unveiled at the launch and each has been designed for the purpose of educating guests on rhino conservation and the poaching issues facing South Africa and South Africans. Each display has a powerful message along with photographs, statistics and general facts to emphasise the effect poaching has on conservation, the country, tourism and indeed future generations.
The Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre, initially only open for Shamwari guests, can be found at the Shamwari offices and has been created as a place of information and education for guests to educate and inform themselves about rhinos and the frightening growing epidemic of rhino poaching in South Africa. It has also been created to complement the Born Free Foundation and Rehabilitation Centre at Shamwari Game Reserve. Guests will have the opportunity to visit The Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre as an added educational experience during their stay.
A donation box will be placed on site for anyone who wishes to contribute towards the Forever Wild Campaign and all proceeds will go to the Wilderness Foundation. Rhino merchandise, which will also go towards raising funds, will also be available for purchase in due course.
In the near future Shamwari will expand The Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre to include a comprehensive paleontological section.