Caption: Louis Lemmer, Dr David Mabunda and Kevin Gillmer at the handover of 1 051 720 million to the SANParks Honorary Rangers at Groenkloof National Park Pretoria.
Unitrans Volkswagen Divisional Chief Executive Kevin Gillmer handed a cheque of R1 051 720 million to the SANParks Honorary Rangers, celebrating the Unitrans Volkswagen financial contribution for 2013 to the Unite Against Poaching effort.
Accepting the cheque on behalf of SANParks and the Honorary Rangers, SANParks Chief Executive Dr. David Mabunda said the on-going scourge of rhino poaching in our country is an area of concern to government and ordinary people in villages and cities including corporate South Africa. “It is therefore with great humility and sense of pride that SANParks accepts the generosity presented by UNITRANS Volkswagen – this is proof that together we can do more to win the fight against rhino poaching.”
He said rhino poaching is a crime that is undoubtedly fuelled by a thriving black market trade in rhino horn. Since January this year, a total of 166 Rhinos have been poached, with 111 of them in the Kruger National Park. “It is worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos throughout the country. However the most encouraging area in this whole saga is the increasing number of arrests, which stood at 343 for the country by end last year of which 133 were arrests made in the Kruger National Park.”
South Africa is home to approximately 20 000 white and black rhinoceros of which 10 000 are found in the Kruger National Park. This represents over 80% of the world’s total rhino population. The South African population is one of the last viable rhino populations in the world which makes it vulnerable. South Africa is therefore the remaining hope for the world in terms of rhino conservation.
To help sustain the effort against poaching SANParks has requested the Honorary Rangers to prioritise fundraising in support of the counter poaching effort. Unitrans Volkswagen’s Unite against Poaching initiative has contributed R6 781 250 million to the SANParks’ counter poaching effort over the past three years, in partnership with the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
“Unlike many fundraising initiatives the SANParks Honorary Rangers utilise 100% of all money raised for counter poaching to help our rangers. We do not use donor money to fund our activities. As we are the South African National Parks preferred channel for counter poaching support in our National Parks, and as our parks are home to the majority of the world’s rhino population, this donation is important in the fight to save our rhinos”, says Louis Lemmer, Deputy Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers National Executive Committee.
Kevin Gillmer added, “This pledge of over a million Rand has been made possible through the support of our customers. Each vehicle sold within the group attracts a pledge directly to the Unite Against Poaching fund. In this way members of the public can help make a sustainable contribution to the fight against poaching at the coal face. Unitrans Volkswagen is proud to be associated with both the financial as well as vehicle support of the war against poaching in SANParks. We continue to work in partnership with the SANParks Honorary Rangers to ensure that the pledged funds are used effectively and efficiently in approved counter poaching projects within SANParks.”
SANParks has called on corporates and individuals for extra support for the Honorary Rangers counter poaching effort in order to assist its rangers in the field. The partnership with Unitrans Volkswagen is a great example of what can be done. Through the sale of vehicles by the 10 Unitrans Volkswagen dealerships the company is able to sustain its support and make a major contribution.