R70 000 boost to fight rhino poaching

Port Elizabeth rhino campaigner Wayne Bolton has closed his trans-South Africa One Life Live It (Olli) cycling expedition with a handover of R70 000 worth of anti-poaching equipment to the Mokala National Park, near Kimberley.

Mokala – SANParks’ newest park, with a focus on endangered species including rhino – was chosen after a recommendation by the Honorary Rangers of South Africa, Bolton said yesterday.

“We wanted it to go where it would make the biggest difference and Mokala was identified as having the most pressing need.

“Our only insistence was it should go to the rangers as it was their work that inspired my ride,” he said.

“We handed over R70 000 worth of tents, sleeping bags, rifle torches and other equipment.”

Bolton cycled 6 000km from November last year to February this year, linking South Africa’s 19 national parks to raise awareness about rhino poaching.

Some R80 000 – the balance of the R150 000 raised by the inaugural Olli expedition – has already been donated to Care for Wild Africa.

The Nelspruit NGO raises and rehabilitates rhino calves whose mothers have been killed by poachers.

Already hailed as a Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism ambassador, Bolton at the weekend made it to the finals of SANParks’ Kudu Awards in the Individual Contribution category. He was runner-up behind veteran Kalahari meerkat campaigner Dr Anne Rasa.

The recognition was motivating and much appreciated, he said.

Olli is due to set off again in July next year.

Bolton will ride from the Bay to the Mozambique border with the aim of raising awareness about the poachers’ change of focus from the Kruger National Park to rhino reserves in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

There would be a life-size fibreglass rhino accompanying them on the back of an Olli trolley, he said.

“We will also be doing eco-education work with communities and our rhino will help with this.

“Its horn will be ‘cut off’ to start with and at each stop we will add a sliver of fibre glass so it is rebuilt at the end of our expedition.”

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