Before Tanglewood Foundation was created, Peter and his company "Imake" started the "Imake A Difference Trust".
Funds were raised with a combination of African fundraising expeditions under the Dtours banner as well as calling on support from business associates.
A very sad consequence of the rhino poaching epidemic is orphaned rhinos. Rhino cows with babies are the easiest rhino to hunt as they stay to protect their young. While males will more likely run for the hills. These babies are often left to die and if they don’t receive support quickly result in two dead rhino for one set of horn. The orphanage is at Thula Thula in Zululand and was able to house around 20 orphans. Imake a Difference provided funds helping establish this facility. Tragically this orphanage was savagely attacked and baby rhino were killed for their horn. Due to security concerns this facility has been unable to re-open.
The Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing
ZAP-Wing is assisting rhino anti-poaching operations in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. ZAP-Wing currently provides surveillance for 26 State and private game reserves (+300,000ha of protected area) and contributs significantly to the conservation of over 3,000 White and Black Rhino. It is pioneering a new way of using aviation as an important resource for conservation and wildlife crime needs.
Change through Education
This project uses art to get the message about the value of rhino to entire schools at a time in "risk" areas around parks.
During the first visit the team spends 30 minutes with the students explaining the poaching problem and how important the Rhino had been to their ancestors, how important they are in the “circle of life” in the bush and how they help provide income to the community by bringing visitors who provide jobs in the tourism industry. Tourism is one of the major sources of employment in the remote areas around the game parks. The children are then given an A3 paper with the outline of a Rhino and asked to colour this in and add their personal message to the art. These are judged two weeks later and the winner receives a bicycle. As part of the second day a soccer tournament is held. Imake a Difference supply soccer balls which are used for the tournament, given as prizes and some remain with the school as much needed resources.
Kingsley Holgate and his Lebombo Expedition had used Rhino Art as a theme to engage the communities lining the Mozambique border of Kruger park. This is ground zero for Rhino poaching in the famous Kruger National Park. Imake a Difference provided seed funding for this programme when Kingsley first approached Peter about the concept.
This programme has also been taken to Vietnam which is considered the main user of rhino horn as well as a corridor into other Asian markets. It has also been taken to Namibia and Botswana on Dtours expedition and has spawned Elephant Art in more northern countries where Elephants are under threat.
In order for the Rhino to be protected, the parks be patrolled, borders need to be monitored from dusk until dawn as this is the time that poachers come into and leave the park. Tracker dogs have proved to be essential as both a deterrent and essential in tracking poachers following an incident. Imake a Difference helped supply dogs through the organisation Stop Rhino Poaching.
Stopping The Demand for Rhino Horn
Reducing the demand for rhino horn in the end consumer countries is the most essential strategy to stop the poaching. “Nature Needs More” uses techniques pioneered by anti-smoking and road safety adverts to publish demand reduction campaigns in Vietnam.
The campaigns directly target the end users – wealthy Vietnamese and Chinese men who use rhino horn as a ‘status good’ to negotiate business deals. “Nature Needs More” has also identified by user interviews that end users do not wish to buy farmed Rhino horn. This negates the position taken by advocates of Rhino farming that Rhino could be farmed like cows and have their horn harvested.
Adopt A Rhino
Imake A Difference gave its donors a chance to adopt a Rhino at Somkhanda Game Reserve.
Sponsoring a Rhino gives you naming rights as well as regular updates on the progress of your rhino. The money goes towards providing a GPS tracking system for the rhino in Somkhanda Reserve, employing full time rhino monitors and overall protection of the rhino. We have four donors who sponsored a rhino so far.
Debbie Eastwood, Wellington – Jonah (Tragically poached in December 2016)
SPL International UK – Hope
Noble Grape Canada – To be named
The Wallace Family, Petone - Mia
Imake Limited, Tane
It is important that the local communities are educated about conservation and the place animals have in the fabric of their society. The easiest way to educate them is through the schools and there is an excellent programme working with the communities around Somkhanda Game Reserve. There are nine schools servicing the Gumbi clan in this area. A conservation education programme is run with these schools where Year 5 have a class a month, Year 6 has a four day camp.
iMake A Difference funded a reprint of a WESSA booklet in Zulu about the plight of the Rhino and conservation in general. The Tanglewood Foundation also sponsored Lungile Dimba from WESSA to take part in the Rise of The Matriarch Expedition mentioned above.
Wildlife Act Fund (WAF) works with Wildlands to provide rhino monitoring and child education around the reserves. iMake A Difference has employed educators through WAF as well as donated over 20 secondhand laptops computers and 2 projectors to the organisation. WAF works with local schools and young adults in the ”at risk” communities to educate them regarding the value of the rhino and the jobs they bring to the community.
In the Kwa Zulu Natal area there are several hot spots where locals live very close to the animals and yet know very little about them. They often see the rhino as belonging to the 'rich white man' and not as part of their heritage. Education is the best defence against this major problem. Wildlife Act Fund employs educators and Community Conservation Liaison Officers to work with the local communities. This programme involves getting the community in to game parks to see the rhino and educating them about the "Circle of Life" and how the whole community benefits from jobs as well as the unique wildlife heritage that must be preserved for their children and grandchildren.
The 2014 DTours donated £5000 to Brent Stapelkamp's research & protection of the lion population in Hwange National Park
Brent Stapelkamp has been studying the lion population and been using amazing unconventional methods to train them out of wandering into civilian areas. He has GPS trackers on the lion and can alert his team of locals via WhatsApp when a young lion is approaching a civilian area.
They round up some neighbours and fan out in a long line. Their GPS will tell them where the lion is and everyone creates as much noise as possible, blowing their vuvuzelas. They light firecrackers, beat drums. At times, the lion charges but is met with people all blowing their vuvuzelas at the same time, not moving, standing their ground. The lion stops short. They’ve called his bluff. He turns and runs away.
Brent has seen 50 percent fewer cattle killed because of this type of work compared with all those years before the program, and due to this the locals are happy to allow the lion to live in the area without culling the populations.
It is an incredible story, please follow the link above to read more.