Mark Boucher And SAB To Help Save SA's Rhino
8 August 2012
Cape Town. 8 August 2012. Former SA wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, today announced that despite his retirement from international cricket, he will continue to be visible on the international stage with a new and personal project - helping to save South Africa's Rhino population from extinction.
Speaking at his first public appearance after announcing his retirement, Boucher, together with The South African Breweries (SAB), today launched the SAB-Boucher Non-Profit Company. The NPC aims to raise enough money to register South Africa's 18 000 rhinos on the DNA database established and run by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort. The initial target is to raise R1-million.
Since the escalation in poaching of South Africa's rhinos, there have been numerous organisations set up to combat the problem. However, the poaching of rhinos continues at an alarming rate. In 2011, a total of 448 rhinos were poached and the figure for 2012 currently stands at more than 240. While a number of arrests have been made in connection with this illegal activity, the problem persists.
"We are fast approaching the tipping point where the number of rhinos poached exceeds the number of new births. At that point the extinction of our rhinos will be a very real threat. There are many options on the table on how to address the issue but the one that underlies all scenarios is the need for a robust DNA database. Such a system will not only manage the population that we have but will also assist in the prosecution of offenders by linking the crime scene to the recovered horn," said Boucher.
The DNA lab, established in 2010, assists law enforcement in tracking down poachers and syndicates which are preying on the country's precious wildlife. To date, the system has been used to successfully prosecute suspects of rhino poaching.
Appointed by SAB as its Castle Lager Rhino Ambassador, Boucher hopes to raise funds both locally and abroad through the 'Our Rhinos in Safe Hands' campaign, which will be launched in the next few weeks.
"It's a great privilege for South Africa to be home to some of the world's most remarkable wildlife species and we all need to take our responsibility as their custodians very seriously and contribute our voices and our muscle towards protecting them," said Boucher.
"Wildlife has always been a passion of mine and for a long time I have been working on the idea of dedicating my retirement to making a difference in this regard. I now have the opportunity to contribute something meaningful towards a cause that is close to the hearts of my fellow South Africans."
While the SAB-Boucher NPC will initially focus on its most pressing concern, namely the safety of South Africa's rhino, it is expected to expand its reach in future to other species under threat, whose DNA will be included in the database.
"SAB has a long history of investing in wildlife conservation in the country. This specific project aims to put in place a sound management system to protect the vulnerable rhino population. For SAB it makes sense to combine the broad popularity of the Castle Lager brand and the personal passion and integrity of Mark Boucher in the fight against rhino poaching," says Andre Fourie, SAB Head Sustainable Development.
Donations to the NPC can be made to:
Account name: SAB Boucher
Bank: Standard Bank
Account type: Current
Account number: 273377671
Branch code: 01 46 45 00
Swift code: SB ZA ZA JJ
For further information, please contact:
Head of Media and Communications, SAB
Tel: 011 881 8679
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This is a SABMiller subsidiary news release, it was first published in its local market on 8 August 2012.