SAB and Boucher Join Forces in Fight against Rhino Poaching
31 October 2012
Mark Boucher and SAB officially launch non-profit company
Johannesburg. 30 October 2012. The South African Breweries (SAB) and former international cricketer, Mark Boucher, today officially launched the SAB-Boucher Conservation Non-Profit Company aimed at raising critical funds needed to assist with saving South Africa’s threatened rhino population.
A passionate conservationist, Boucher made a commitment to use his post-retirement period to contribute to the fight against rhino poaching in his role as SAB’s Castle Lager Rhino Ambassador. The premature end to his international cricket career due to an eye injury has made him even more determined to make a personal contribution to conservation.
“There are so many passionate people out there fighting rhino poaching every day. And yet we don’t seem to be winning the battle. I believe we should each do our share to help protect the rhino. My own contribution will be in partnership with SAB and Castle Lager with whom I have shared many highlights over so many years. This type of partnership can make a positive contribution if we focus on a tangible contribution to the larger rhino conservation effort,” says Boucher.
The non-profit company aims to raise enough money to eventually register all of South Africa’s 18 000 rhinos on a national Rhino DNA database (RhoDIS), established and run by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort. SAB was the first corporate company to sponsor the RhoDIS database in 2011. The database actively supports the South African Police Service, conservation authorities such as SANPARKS and private rhino owners in building a shared asset register of rhino’s in the country.
Mark Boucher and SAB aim to raise R1-million in its first year through its “Rhino in Safe Hands” campaign. SAB will donate R300 000 towards the set-up costs of the NPC to ensure that 100% of money raised is put towards saving the rhino.
Patrons of the non-profit company include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Ali Bacher, Dr Ian Player, former SANParks CEO, Mavuso Msimang and Dr Richard Emslie, Scientific Officer of the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group. “These proven leaders from different sectors are all lending us their credibility and reputations to assist in raising the resources required to meet our objective. Despite the challenges we face today, I am hopeful that by joining forces we can turn the situation around and keep the rhino safe for future generations,” says Boucher.
“Our passion for the country’s natural environment motivated us and Mark Boucher to join forces and single-mindedly focus on the DNA database as one of the key pillars required for a sustainable solution to rhino poaching,” says Dr Vincent Maphai, SAB Executive Director Corporate Affairs and Transformation and patron of the SAB Boucher Conservation NPC.
“There are already so many valuable efforts across the country, with some risking their lives on a daily basis to help protect the rhino. We wanted to be sure that our efforts support the most credible rhino conservation programmes and that we do not waste or duplicate scare resources. SAB believes that an essential part of the solution is an effective rhino management system, based on a comprehensive database of DNA samples,” says Maphai.
The DNA profile will enable poached horns to be returned to rightful owners if recovered and the court case can be watertight in terms of matching horns seized from traders with crime sights. DNA cannot be altered or destroyed, providing a powerful traceable tool.
VGL 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 a number of suspects of rhino poaching.
SAB has a proud record of supporting the conservation of the SA’s white rhino through its environmental protection initiative started in 2004. Since then, 77 rhinos have received microchip insertions to deter poaching and their DNA samples extracted and placed on the RhoDIS database.
While the SAB-Boucher NPC will initially focus the safety of South Africa’s rhinos, it is expected to expand its reach in future to other species under threat, whose DNA could eventually also be included in the database.
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 30th October 2012.