Imagine waking up on a planet where rhinos once roamed, but not anymore. How do we explain to generations to come that we stood by aimlessly and watched these magnificent creatures hunted into extinction? This exact scenario is what Princess Charlene of Monaco wants to avoid.
Her recent trip to Africa started as an opportunity to engage with her Foundation in South Africa and ended with her involvement in rhino conservation.
While staying at Thanda Safari in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa the Princess was involved in various conservation operations such as rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the anti-poaching unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a white rhino dart and dehorning exercise.
Pictures of Princess Charlene with the animals and rangers has gone on to spark a massive interest in rhino conservation worldwide.
“This entire experience moved me,” she said. “I connected with amazing people and spoke to the local trackers and anti-poaching units who all have an incredible passion for protecting our rhinos and environment.
“It filled me with immense joy to reconnect with the African people and spirit again. I was fascinated to learn more about the area’s history and culture. How fitting to rediscover my love for Africa at a place aptly named Thanda, meaning ‘love’ in the Zulu language!”
Her experience with the rhinos gathered international interest when the images were shared on Instagram – people wanted to know what was happening with the rhinos, why they were being dehorned, and how they could help protect the rhinos.
“The experience was very emotional. I experienced first-hand the anguish and distress of the rhinos when we have to dehorn them, so poachers don’t slaughter them. I want to do all that I can to protect the rhinos, including raising funds to protect them and educating my children and others about rhino conservation.”
Her foundation has announced a partnership with the Thanda Foundation Trust.
The Thanda Foundation Trust is one of the founder members of Project Rhino.
“Project Rhino is an association of like-minded organisations made up of private, community and Provincial Government Conservation Agency owners of rhino, leading conservation NGO’s and security specialists.
“It facilitates rhino conservation interventions aimed at eliminating poaching and securing the white and black rhino populations of KwaZulu-Natal. In addition, one of our aims with this exciting collaboration is to also provide much needed funding for Project Rhino to really make a significant difference in our ambitious goal to save our rhino populations,” said Thanda Foundation Trust Chairman Pierre Delvaux.
Although rhino poaching has decreased in recent years, we are not out of the woods yet. Poachers are still slaughtering them for their horns, and sometimes they even kill the dehorned rhinos for the little bit of base horn that they can get! We need to do all we can to protect and preserve this endangered species for future generations.