Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary founder and manager Petronel Niewoudt is off to the United States this week and she is not going for a holiday! Petronel is embarking on an intense tour to raise awareness for rhino conservation and the plight of rhino poaching in South Africa.
The “rhino crusade” is starting in New York with a talk and fundraising evening on the 23rd January. Petronel will also share her extensive knowledge and expertise in rhino conservation in various interviews with local and national media while in the US. Her involvement with conservation started back in the late 80s, when Petronel worked in the ‘Endangered Wildlife Unit’ of South Africa’s police force. Their sole task was to stop illegal trade in rhino horn, elephant tusks, reptiles and birds. Petronel went on to run two other wildlife rehabilitation centres before founding Care for Wild in 2010.
Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary works closely with South Africa’s National Parks board and experienced wildlife veterinarians. Together they have developed techniques for successful emergency care for rhino calves. This means that if rangers find a rhino calf soon after its mother has been killed by poachers it has a very good chance of surviving, receiving the care at Care for Wild. The centre now works with wildlife researcher Dr Maria Fabregas and the University of Pretoria on the best approach for gradually releasing the older rhino calves into the reserve. The study also assesses the feasibility of reintegrating the captive-reared rhino population at Care for Wild into a ‘wild’ population. You can learn more about this rhino research in an earlier blog post.
The team from the “Disunity – Poaching isn’t black and white” documentary film will join Petronel at the New York event. This documentary is due to be completed at the end of the year and is produced by former ACE volunteer Morgan Pelt. It’s another fantastic effort at educating the world about the plight of rhinos and what can be done to tackle the rhino poaching crisis.
Empowers Africa Foundation, a US based charity that supports human empowerment, wildlife protection and conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa, have arranged the trip. They have been supporters of Care for Wild for several years.
We are very excited for Petronel and are sure that she will inspire many people to support rhino conservation in Africa.