Grand Total Raised: ZAR

How the funds are used

Project Vulture +

There are eight vulture species in southern Africa. With an average decline of 62% in their populations over the past 30 years, and with six of the eight species recently up listed to critically endangered, the future of our vulture populations is looking bleak. Environmentalists, conservationists and researchers are waging a desperate fight to save these birds. Project Vulture was developed as a platform to bring the efforts of these dedicated individuals and organisations together. A significant portion of the funds raised via the RhinoPeakChallenge go towards this essential conservation work. https://projectvulture.org.za/

Wildlife ACT’s Rhino Conservation Programme +

The funding received from the Rhino Peak challenge will be directed towards the following conservation efforts:


Working in line with Project Rhino’s medium term strategic solution to rhino poaching in the province, Wildlife ACT continues to carry out and support the dehorning of black and white rhino populations in some of the smaller protected areas. This dramatic course of action has proven extremely effective in reducing poaching incidents on respective reserves. By removing the horns from the entire population of rhino on a reserve, the attraction for poachers to enter the reserve decreases significantly. This, together with other law enforcement measure, means that the risks and associated costs of entering these reserves to poach, are significantly higher than the potential reward.

The needs for this intensive intervention include the helicopter and darting expertise, along with veterinarian support for immobilisation and safe horn removal. In addition, horns regrow fairly steadily and therefore need to be redone approximately every two years.

Rhino Monitoring

By having a good and reliable understanding of where the population of rhino is in a protected area, the more effectively and efficiently reserve management can deploy field ranger and anti-poaching teams. Wildlife ACT has full time monitoring teams on numerous reserves within the province which work closely with management facilitate this information. In particular, Wildlife ACT has dedicated rhino monitoring teams on Somkhanda Game Reserve, a community owned reserve in Northern KZN. Through ongoing monitoring of the populations of black and white rhino, the health and success of these populations can be better understood and management interventions put in place. In addition, high risk areas and animals can be identified which can be relayed directly to security teams.

This monitoring is made more efficient through the development and fitment of tracking technology which streamlines the on the ground effort. These technologies include the tracking devices as implants or as ankle collars on individual animals.

EWT African Crane Conservation Programme +

The Southern Drakensberg is one of the few places in South Africa where one can see all three of South Africa’s crane species in one day and is the stronghold for South Africa’s endangered Grey Crowned Cranes.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) have been working intensively in the area since 2012. Much of the work has been focussed on conserving crane habitat and to date the EWT in partnership with landowners and the provincial agencies, have secured almost 20 000 ha of habitat through the declaration of Nature Reserves and Protected Environments in the area – thus creating safe space for cranes to thrive.

Some of the conservation in action includes the colour ringing of cranes in order to monitor uniquely marked birds over time to understand survival, movement and breeding biology and also to work with farmers on managing habitat for cranes and minimising threats because together we can and have made a difference.

In order to understand how well cranes are doing – considering all three species are threatened, the EWT and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife conduct annual aerial counts of cranes to verify that our conservation efforts have an impact.

We are pleased to see increases in all three of our crane populations in the Drakensberg, your support means that we can intensify our efforts and ensure that Grey Crowned , Blue and Wattled Cranes grace the Southern Drakensberg skies for ever.

What we do

Biodiversity conservation has moved from the fringes of social priorities into the centre of political discourse and socio-economic concern. People around the world can no longer ignore the fact that the environment in which we live underpins every single human need, demonstrated every day by both the losses of thousands of lives due to environmental disasters or the lack of access to quality natural resources, as well as by the dependence of millions of lives on their natural surroundings for their sustainability.

As one of South Africa’s leading biodiversity conservation organisations, the EWT is striving to facilitate the protection and sustainable use of key ecosystems. The EWT has a cohesive and integrated approach to the conservation of species, habitats and ecosystem processes and we therefore focus much of our work on protecting both threatened species and habitats. Successful conservation thus means protecting the habitats that support species – and human beings – and in this way entire ecosystems, communities and socio-economic structures reap the benefits.

The EWT believes that sustainable conservation requires inclusive approaches, to not only address biodiversity objectives, but also the interests of the people and industries relying on the ecosystems services. This we do by developing innovative and adaptive conservation and management solutions, aligned and compatible with the broader economic and social imperatives of the region.

The overall goal of our African Crane Conservation project is to build human and ecosystem resilience within the core crane regions within South Africa for the benefit of people and biodiversity. This is achieved through the expansion of protected areas; the protection of Ecosystem Goods and Services; mentorship and support of landowners (both private and communal) to better manage land and water resources; and the improvement of livelihoods of people through economic development within the regions.

Through this project we use Cranes as flagships for the protection and restoration of key wetlands and grasslands within strategically selected catchments that are important for both people and cranes alike. We focus on improved wetland and grassland management and protection and if needs be, rehabilitation within the following catchments in Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga: Umzimvubu, Umzimkulu, uMgeni, Mooi, Vaal, Komati, Usutu and Olifants. In addition, we work with communities in each of the focus areas to ensure people become part of the long-term solution in conserving our natural resources and biodiversity. This is achieved through our community projects, employment opportunities and training that together promote skills development. Because the project areas are provincial, national, and global priorities both for biodiversity and water supply, we play an important role in the South African protected area system, securing a large area of the under-represented and highly threatened grassland biome and a wetland landscape unique in the country.

Wildlife ACT Vulture Conservation Programme +

Wildlife ACT actively supports the KZN vulture conservation strategy by providing reliable technical support, advice and expertise to the various projects across the province. Together with our partners we are determined to bring a halt to the currently decreasing vulture populations across the region. Wildlife ACT's vulture conservation work forms part of Project Vulture, the Zululand Vulture Project, Bearded Vulture Recovery Programme and the Maloti-Drakensberg Vulture Project. A significant portion of the funds raised via the RhinoPeakChallenge go towards this essential conservation work.

Current vulture initiatives being carried out by Wildlife ACT and partners in KwaZulu Natal:

  • Population Stabilisation and Habitat Protection through monitoring of vultures to accurately identify vulture hotspots, establishing and securing vulture safe zones, the protection and monitoring of nest sites, rapid response to poisoning events, training field operatives on how to handle poisoned birds to ensure they are saved and reducing vulture exposure to lead poisoning by phasing out of lead-based ammunition and the safe disposal of lead contaminated carcasses.
  • Education and Community Conservation through education programs, especially to the youth, about the role vultures play in the ecosystem and the value they provide, researching the drivers and demand for vulture parts in the traditional medicine sector, development of meaningful demand-reduction campaigns which will lead to the reduction of vulture poisoning for their body parts.
  • Improved Advocacy through training field operatives on how to handle poisoning (crime) scenes to ensure convictions can occur, working with the provincial and judicial authorities to improve law enforcement and judicial processes, researching the economic value of the species to further advocate for their protection.