The fight against Rhino Poaching in South Africa
A Unitrans Volkswagen initiative
It is widely accepted that the overwhelming majority of the South African population, large and small business and a myriad of institutions, are deeply concerned with the current status quo regarding Rhino poaching. Without detracting from the many generous and selfless sponsorships and contributions made to Conservation and to Counter Poaching in particular, the Volkswagen Divisions of Unitrans Automotive felt that there was a need to get closer to the individuals at the coal face and to assist them in delivering a more effective service. These Field Rangers are up against highly sophisticated criminals and the need is for our Rangers to be equipped, at least, to an equivalent level
SANParks and their Honourary Rangers along with the Unitrans Volkswagen Division have entered into an ongoing Sponsorship Agreement to address these imbalances with the belief that by equipping the Field Rangers to the level of sophistication of the Organised Criminals, we would greatly improve the chances of success. Unitrans Volkswagen will contribute an amount per unit retailed monthly to a Trust to be administered by Trustees appointed by all the parties concerned. The Trustees will be voluntary and will not be remunerated in any way. All proceeds will therefore be spent exclusively on Counter Poaching.
Over and above the monetary consideration, Unitrans Volkswagen will initially make 2 x Amarok 4X4‘s available, one of which will be allocated to the soon to be established Dog Unit. It is envisaged that this Dog Unit will make a massive impact in the tracking and apprehension of Poachers. The wish list from the more than 400 Field Rangers is for items such as, one man tents, web belts, water bottles, compass’s etc but could also extend to highly sophisticated and expensive items such as night vision glasses and GPS navigation systems.
In year one the aim is to provide more than R5 million to Anti-Rhino Poaching which will be the biggest single sponsorship for this cause in SANPark’s history. The initiative will provide an opportunity for every South African to participate in the war against Rhino Poaching by supporting and purchasing their next new or used vehicle from Unitrans Volkswagen, without disadvantage to any price negotiations.
The greater the support, the greater the sponsorship, and the greater our chances of winning the war against Rhino Poaching. Each year a few lucky supporters will be guests of the SANParks Honourary Rangers in the Kruger National Park to witness firsthand the capturing of game such as Rhino and Elephant for relocation and/or scientific research.
All South Africans are implored to band together “to make a difference” and we honestly believe that we have devised a vehicle by which we can do just that.
On behalf of SANParks and their Honourary Rangers and Unitrans Volkswagen, and not least of all, the Rhinos themselves, we thank you in anticipation of your ongoing support.
Kevin Gillmer Divisional Chief Executive -Unitrans VW
1st September 2011
One year later - September 2012!!
Unitrans Volkswagen launched the Unite against Poaching trust in September 2011 with the objective of making a difference in the fight against rhino poaching in our country.
There can be no doubt in anyone’s’ mind that this objective was reached. Their initial dramatic and innovative R 500 per vehicle donation to the trust fund has generated an astounding R 5 386 500 in 12 months. You read correctly….over R 5 Million has been pledged and applied to fight rhino poaching. Funds were pledged by ALL the participating dealerships for every vehicle they sold, whether new or used and the funds were effectively and efficiently deployed to help in the war against poaching. What an unbelievable commitment to the welfare of our precious rhinos.
The dealerships based in Gauteng, NW Province, Free State, KZN and the Western Cape have made a significant contribution to the war on rhino poaching. The funds generated have been swiftly channelled to areas most in need in co-operation with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, all volunteers, which means no funds generated are wasted for administrative purposes.
The Unite against Poaching trust has been able to realise the dream of equipping the Field Rangers, who come face to face with the poachers, with the appropriate gear to allow them to operate covertly within the National Parks to prevent poaching and successfully apprehend poachers. At least R 2 million has been allocated towards providing equipment to the field rangers across the various reserves within SANParks. Advanced covert and counter poaching training is essential and the Unite against Poaching trust is proud to have been instrumental in funding specialist training for many of the field rangers.
It is widely recognised that tracker dogs have a pivotal role to play in the apprehension of poachers and the Unitrans Volkswagen Unite against Poaching trust is thrilled to be the benefactor of the first specialist dog tracking unit within the Kruger National Park. The first 3 dogs, aptly names Chico, Jetta and Kombi are about to complete their training and we are looking forward to the impact they will have in the war against rhino poaching.
Unitrans Volkswagen have also supported scientific and investigative Rhino DNA profiling. The Unite against Poaching trust has helped maintain the RhODIS project (Rhino DNA Profiling) at Onderstepoort to the tune of R 500 000. This donation has allowed the project to sustain its development as a key investigative tool in the successful prosecution of rhino poachers.
Unitrans Volkswagen is justifiably proud of the difference it has made to the fight against rhino poaching in the first year of the initiative and after its initial first year injection of R 5 386 500 into the Unite against Poaching trust, they are committed to continue supporting the Trust fund moving forwards.
PLEASE HELP US TO HELP COUNTER POACHING BY SUPPORTING THE DEALERSHIPS IN THE UNITRANS VOLKSWAGEN GROUP!!