A solar-powered 'Meerkat' is protecting South Africa's rhinos
17 February 2020
Baden Bolling from Colorado in the USA has always been an animal lover.
Since he was about 3 years old, he has frequently introduced himself as an “animal expert”. He loves all animals but his favourite are the mighty African animals.
As his mom Katie says: “For his young age (7), I would say it would be hard to find a person that knows more about African animals. He studies their habitat, behaviour, diet, everything. His favourite animal has always been the rhino and when his grandpa made him aware of the poaching crisis, Baden decided he had to do something.”
Baden teamed up with his mom in the first-ever conservation effort that World Bicycle Relief has been involved with.
Baden solicited donations via email with clever videos (see below), but he also wanted to host specific events to include other children. These included a lemonade stand (raised US$145) and the yogurt night (raised over US$200). His little sister, Holland, and two friends were very involved in the lemonade stand and they did it as a group on a very busy corner in Baden’s neighborhood. This was a big success.
Then, last week, the rhino fundraising was wrapped up with a night at the local yogurt establishment, where 20% of sales were donated to the effort and rhino ornaments and coloured pictures were sold too. The night raised over US$200 thanks to Baden and his 2nd grade Brownie Troop (girls in brown uniforms in the photo). Baden also has a Bikes 4 Rhinos Facebook page.
All said, Baden raised US$3 156 to fund 15 bicycles delivered to the field rangers in Limpopo National Park in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The 15 bicycles are assisting the rhino anti-poaching efforts by patrolling teams in the area. Says Antony Alexander, project manager: “Thank you Baden and Katie – the bicycles have made a positive contribution not only to the operational capability of the field rangers, especially with fence patrols, but also to their morale.”
Peace Parks Foundation thanks Baden, his mom, his sister and his friends for their remarkable efforts towards rhino conservation.
An African rhino is poached every nine hours. The poaching escalation is slowing the population growth of both African rhino species to some of the lowest levels since 1995, according to the latest facts revealed by IUCN experts. Rhino poaching increased by 5000% between 2007 and 2012. In 2012 alone, almost 3% of the population was slaughtered for their horns, according to IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group. More than two-thirds of the casualties occurred in South Africa, home to 73% of the world’s wild rhinos.
Peace Parks Foundation is assisting the efforts by the region’s governments to combat the scourge. 100% of your donation will go towards projects to combat wildlife crime.