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PureWild Fund Projects

Rhino Refuge Project 

Rhino Refuge Project

In a bid to fight wildlife crime and the senseless slaughtering of rhinos in South Africa, PureWild Fund initiated the Rhino Refuge Project to raise USD10 million to protect South Africa’s most vulnerable rhino populations.
All funds raised for the Rhino Refuge Project will be allocated to wildlife crime prevention and anti-poaching projects/initiatives on a priority basis wherever the need is the greatest.

The challenge
There is consensus amongst local and international NGOs and conservation authorities that the most effective way to prevent rhino poaching is to make sure rhino poachers are detected and apprehended before killing a rhino to harvest the horn. This is only possible through the effective use and deployment of state-of-the-art technology that enables rangers to detect human incursion early and to respond immediately with a well-trained ground force to apprehend poachers and, most importantly, save a rhino.
Presently the cost to acquire, implement and manage early detection and immediate response technology combined with training rangers and support staff is prohibitive. But the cost of losing more rhinos coupled with the risk of ultimate extinction far outweighs this challenge. We are obligated to future generations in Africa and the rest of the world to do whatever it takes to ensure rhinos in South Africa are kept safe.

The solution
To meet this critical challenge head-on, it is essential to unlock the immense potential that evolving technology affords us in providing safe refuge for rhinos in South Africa. Conservation in partnership with state-of-the-art technology to fight wildlife crime and the senseless slaughtering of rhinos in South Africa is not only possible but essential for the future survival of rhino and other vulnerable wildlife species in protected areas. Involvement of key stakeholders is an important imperative for success. Rangers, law enforcement agencies as well as local communities will be encouraged and trained, where necessary, to be active participants in early detection and immediate response operations in collaboration with local and international suppliers of technology.
Examples of effective high-tech apparatus now includes arming wildlife fences with innovative detection devices, unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with aerial night vision capabilities; helicopters and/or fixed wing aircraft fitted with FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed); thermal energy detection technology for recognising distant objects in the dark; radar detection as well as custom-made telecommunication systems.
Collaboration with law enforcement authorities and agencies is paramount in the prevention of wildlife crime. For this purpose and where possible, initiatives to effectively prosecute and convict perpetrators will also serve as part of our mandate.  

The difference this will make
Early detection and immediate response capabilities to help secure vulnerable rhino populations in South Africa changes everything – for the poacher, the rangers, the reserve, the community and, especially, for rhinos. A hi-tech secure solution does more than just keep the rhinos safe, it will help rebuild a part of the global ecosystem, bolster a local economy, enable the park’s rangers to make considerable progress towards the prevention of poaching and even go so far as to transform local communities into custodians of the protected areas and the rhinos.
Wildlife is South Africa’s most important natural asset and a significant contributor to South Africa’s tourism industry. The Rhino Refuge Project gives all involved a better chance of protecting rhinos, our heritage and indeed, South Africa’s highest-earning industry.

Empowering local communities
Local community engagement and participation along the peripheral of rhino refuge areas is of paramount importance. Impoverished communities bordering protected areas are often lured into poaching through the financial gain made available to them by criminal organisations.
If incentivised to protect the rhinos rather than support the poachers, these communities could become our greatest allies – an exceptional prospect to empower members of the community with direct employment, business and welfare opportunities during the installation and maintenance of technology used as well as the monitoring of any incursion of a perimeter, long after the area has been secured.  

To raise USD10 million is a big ask. Over the past two years PureWild Fund has managed to secure promising support and commitments from potential local and international donors. We are confident that this will provide a springboard for the Rhino Refuge Project to achieve its objective.
Every donation, no matter how modest, makes a difference. You will contribute directly to the prevention of wildlife crime and the senseless slaughtering of rhinos – with a singular goal – to provide a safe refuge in South Africa for this magnificent and much treasured African species.

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