Running for the Rhinos

Posted on: September 18, 2018

You have to be a bit crazy to do that. 22 km up and down the mountains as fast as possible, 1 200 vertical meters, howling winds and tough conditions. That´s the Rhino Peak Challenge in the Southern Drakensberg in South Africa. A challenge to raise funds for Rhino and Vulture conservation, 2 areas in which Bayer has been active with various sponsorship activities in recent years. Sep 22 is World Rhino Day.

Since 1960, the black rhino population has declined by 97.6% in the Kruger National Park. Poachers remain the biggest threat to this species and Kruger is the most important target for poachers. As Head of Clinical Development & Regulatory Affairs at Bayer Animal Health in South Africa I am leading Bayer´s aid program for Rhino Poaching Dogs in South Africa. We provide all the canine members of the anti-poaching dog unit with various parasiticide medications which enable them to concentrate better on their real task: hunting poachers.

However, the protection of these endangered species is an important and costly job, so I did not hesitate when I was asked to join the challenge this year. The Rhino Peak Challenge started 2016 with the aim of raising funds for the Endangered Wildlife Trust by having two select groups of people (Elite runners and Persons of Influence) run up and down the iconic Rhino Peak in the Southern Drakensberg on World Rhino Day.

All funds raised will go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and Wildlife ACT (WACT) and will be used on projects focused on Rhino and Vulture conservation. The runners raise funds through a pledge system. Each runner will have his/ her own profile uploaded to the website and their pledges will be visible on their own Pledge page. 2017 the day was very successful and collected more than 300 000 Rands.

Although the Rhino Peak Run is very challenging and not for beginners, any person who is moderately running fit should be able to complete it, even if slowly. As and outdoor enthusiast and fitness freak I have taken part in similar challenges multiple times. It is a unique opportunity to test my personal limits and strength whilst helping to protect these beautiful creatures.

In 2016, 702 rhinos were poached – virtually two every day. Fortunately, the White Rhino population is starting to recover, due to anti-poaching and protection strate¬gies throughout South Africa, in which the dogs we support and their handlers play a very important role.

Find out more about the Rhino Peak Challenge.

 

Facts:

  • Black Rhino has a total- rapidly diminishing- population of about 5000 in the whole of Southern and Eastern Africa
  • White Rhino are recovering from the threat of extinction; from only 50 left in the wild, to 20,405 now roaming the grasslands

 

Published:

September 18, 2018

Author:

Clint Austin