The Dutch and Swedish Postcode Lotteries have made a R232.2-million grant to the Peace Parks Foundation to help in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa.
Announcing the donation on Wednesday, South African Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said it was “the largest single contribution made by the private sector to combat rhino poaching and wildlife crime.
The Peace Parks Foundation was founded in 1997 by then South African President Nelson Mandela, billionaire Anton Rupert and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to help governments in southern Africa with the development of transfrontier conservation areas.
Just over a thousand rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2013, the equivalent of nearly three animals a day, making it the worst year ever for rhino poaching in the country.
According to the Department of Environmental Affairs, the majority of the grant will be spent on enhancing existing efforts to protect rhino in South Africa, which hosts 83% of the continent’s wild rhino population, where a special project is currently being implemented.
“All other southern African rhino range states have been consulted during the development of this project, and they will form an integral part of the strategies designed to save the species,” the department said.
The main focus of the project, according to the department, will be on devaluing the horns of live rhino through a combination of methods, including physical devaluation and contamination of the horn, as well as the use of tracking and monitoring technology.