RHINO PEAKRHINO PEAK

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17 SEPTEMBER 202217 SEPTEMBER 2022
Grand Total Raised: ZAR

Beneficiaries

Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) +

Who we are

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has worked tirelessly since 1973 to save wildlife and habitats, with our vision being a world in which both humans and wildlife prosper in harmony with nature. The EWT’s team of field-based specialists works across southern and East Africa, where committed conservation action is needed the most. Working with our partners, including businesses and governments, the EWT is at the forefront of conducting applied research, supporting community conservation and livelihoods, training and building capacity, addressing human wildlife conflict, monitoring threatened species and establishing safe spaces for wildlife range expansion. Vision

The Vision of the EWT is a healthy planet and an equitable world that values and sustains the diversity of all life. Mission

The EWT is dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in East and southern Africa to the benefit of all people.

Niche

As a leading high-profile player amongst the large number and variety of conservation organisations in South Africa (both governmental and civil society), the EWT fills the key niche of conservation action through applied research, fieldwork and direct engagement with stakeholders. With specialist programmes and a large team of skilled field staff deployed throughout southern Africa, the EWT’s work supports the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems. Priority interventions focus on identifying the key factors threatening biodiversity and adopting measures to reduce risks and reverse the drivers of species extinction and ecosystem degradation. Through a broad spectrum of partnerships and networks, the EWT responds to the key threats driving species and ecosystem loss by developing innovative methodologies and best practice guidelines that support reduced impact, harmonious coexistence, and sustainable living for all. Status The EWT is a registered Trust governed in accordance with the Trust Property Control Act No. 57 of 1988, under Master’s reference number IT 6247. The EWT is also registered in South Africa as a Non-Profit Organisation, registration number 015- 502 NPO and Public Benefit Organisation, registration number 930 001 777.

Maloti Drakensberg Vulture Project +

The Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project, Project Vulture, is dedicated to actively taking a stand to ensure the protection and conservation of our vulnerable and critically endangered vulture species.

In 2013, more than 1440 vultures were poisoned in southern Africa. This alarming rate combined with other threats has forced many vulture populations down to critical levels. So much so, that if this high mortality rate continues, we may see these majestic birds disappear from South African skies forever.

The southern African Bearded Vulture population has been reduced to just 350 birds, and is listed as critically endangered. The entire population resides in the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain range, and this is the only viable population remaining in the southern Hemisphere.

There are currently approximately 1450 Cape Vultures inhabiting the Maloti-Drakensberg region. A shocking 7% of the local population was killed in poisoning incidents in 2013.

Both of these species of vultures face many growing threats which continue to encroach on their shrinking breeding and foraging territories. These threats include human persecution, poisoning, powerline collisions and electrocutions as well as collisions with wind turbines.

Vultures are an important ecological component, occurring at the top of the food chain. Healthy vulture population numbers are a clear indication of a well balanced environment. Vultures also play an important cultural, economic and aesthetic role, and are a symbol of our national heritage.

The vulture performs a number of important tasks which are vitally beneficial to humans, as well as the environment at large. These tasks include their “clean-up” properties; ridding the environment of decomposing carcasses. This prevents the spread of diseases such as anthrax, brucellosis and rabies. In India, the eradication of vultures through poisoning has been responsible for the ongoing rabies epidemic.

The Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project is a long term recovery project, requiring dedicated monitoring programs, the implementation of conservation actions, as well as public awareness and support. If effective recovery systems are not put in place and the slaughter of these raptors continues then it is but a matter of time, sooner rather than later, before this vital ecological component and protected species disappears from our skies forever.

For more information on Project Vulture please visit http://projectvulture.org.za.

Wildlife ACT Rhino Conservation +

Fuelled by a growing demand for rhino horn in primarily China and Vietnam and driven by international criminal syndicates, rhino around the world are under threat of extinction. South Africa is one of the last countries to have a significant population of black and white rhino left in the wild and is one of the reasons why South Africa is bearing the brunt of what can be described as one of the worst global wildlife conservation crises of the past 100 years.

Although, nationally, the numbers of rhino poached year on year have decreased in the last two years, the rate of poaching in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) parks has increased. It is therefore crucial that the efforts and energy focused on fighting this war are not reduced in anyway.

Wildlife ACT is a founding member of Project Rhino, an association of like-minded organisations facilitating rhino conservation interventions in KwaZulu-Natal. The efforts focus on eliminating rhino poaching in the region, thus securing crucial populations of white and black rhino for the benefit of current and future generations.

The members of Project Rhino recognise that the work in conserving and protecting rhino from the threat of poaching is symbolic of the broader threat faced by all wildlife, and that all wildlife will benefit from actions taken by Project Rhino. We believe that by collaborating to achieve a common vision, we are able to more effectively use limited resources to tackle a national problem.

Wildlife ACT focuses its rhino conservation efforts on several elements including:

  • Post release and ongoing monitoring;
  • Dehorning of rhino populations on smaller protected areas;
  • Support of the Project Rhino K9 Unit within the Zululand network of protected areas;
  • Support of field ranger and anti-poaching units within protected areas;
  • Developing and implementing anti-poaching measures and technology in the field;
  • Conservation education through an established community conservation programme.

The work is carried out in partnership with various conservation organisations and reserve management authorities, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the state conservation authority, and private and community land owners.

Wildlife ACT Vulture Conservation +

Vultures are an extremely important species in terms of the role that they plan in ecosystem services, principally the role they play in cycling of nutrients and disposal of carcasses and organic waste from the environment. Their numbers, however, are in sharp decline due to numerous reasons. In KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa, this pattern is also being experienced, with numbers of African White-backed, White-headed and Lappet-faced Vultures showing rapid decline in the range. Poisoning, intentional for the illegal Vulture trade and unintentional for predator control, is one of the most severe contributors to Vulture deaths in KZN. We’re focusing on strengthening ground teams and enabling them to identify and respond to emergencies timeously, preventing hundreds of bird mortalities and decreasing the impact on humans by decontaminating these sites.

The critical ecosystem services that vultures provide in our environment is grossly underestimated and goes largely under appreciated. Due to their wide-ranging habits, vultures are exposed to a variety of threats, and population numbers have plummeted drastically over the last decade. Our work contributes to the long-term conservation and recovery of the southernmost range of 3 critically endangered and 2 endangered Vulture species populations in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We are active members of South African National Vulture Task Force and work closely with the provincial conservation authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. We are key members of Project Vulture KZN, helping to protect vultures in KwaZulu-Natal, as guided by the Multi-Species Action Plan to conserve African-Eurasian Vultures (Vulture MsAP).

Our data also shows severe declines of LFV and WHV breeding pairs over the last 5 years, which will eminently lead to local extinction. Project Vulture KZN contributes to a better understanding of vulture movements, habits, habitats and threats; this monitoring helps us to know where to focus our conservation efforts. We will continue to address these knowledge gaps to better inform conservation action and eliminate threats more effectively.

Support the Rhino Peak Challenge and our Vulture Conservation Programme. To carry out sustainable conservation measures to improve the status of these endangered species, we must, 1) Understand threats, improve management intervention and evaluate success; 2) Stop the decline through reactive poison response; and 3) enable the recovery through promoting vulture safe zones for birds to forage, roost and nest, as well as maintaining reliable safe feeding sources. By actively promoting the stabilisation of populations, the ecosystem service that vultures provide by disposing of rotting material is promoted and thus also the health of KZN’s human population.

Over the past 13 years, we have effectively and continuously supported conservation in and around protected areas across Africa. Wildlife ACT is well placed to implement this project because of its established track record in the following areas:

  • Priority and endangered species conservation with a substantial focus on vultures. Wildlife ACT has an ongoing team of wildlife monitors that obtain field data on endangered/priority species, including vultures. Our work also includes the immediate reporting of snaring, injuries, poisoning and other threats.
  • We're active members of the South African National Vulture Task Force.
  • Reliable, committed, and professional wildlife monitoring and research, guiding conservation management.
  • Identifying the areas and associated threats that pose the highest risk to endangered species inside and outside protected areas, allowing limited resources to be efficiently allocated to the high priority areas.
  • Responding to and rescuing wildlife from poaching incidents or breakouts from protected areas, and aiding in rapid conflict mitigation in and outside of protected areas.
  • Chris Kelly, the project lead, is a member of the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group.
  • Community involvement and education through our Community Conservation Programme, including the establishment of a network of Conservation Ambassadors who live within communities adjacent to PAs.
  • Improving tolerance between human populations and endangered species, by responding swiftly and effectively to community requests through our Human Wildlife Coexistence Programme.