Two local companies, TWK Agri and Rhino Connect, are making history on World Rhino Day, 22 September, by launching the world’s first insurance fund for rhinos. They are introducing the new project together with an APP, another world first.
‘The app is the first of its kind in the world and an information hub about rhino matters which you will not be able to find anywhere else. The app connects the world with local wildlife and their habitats to promote a harmonious and enriched relationship between communities and the nature surrounding them,’ explains Andries Potgieter, Rhino Connect Director for Business.
The Rhino Connect App is available on Google Play and Apple Playstore. It features amongst others, the latest rhino and endangered species news, exciting blogs from conservation specialists and much more. Another unique feature is that members of the public also receive exclusive access to information and footage of their own rhino via the app.
The insurance fund is a very unique concept and tailor-made to support the private rhino sector in South Africa.
‘Rhino Connect, TWK Agri and Animal Sure have negotiated a market first whereby the public can assist private rhino owners to insure their rhinos against poaching or death by natural causes. This will allow the public to contribute to rhino conservation while at the same time knowing what exactly their contribution will be used for,’ says TWK’s Kobus Stapelberg.
The majority of rhinos in South Africa are owned by the private sector. Private rhino owners are the custodians of a quarter of the world’s rhino population, about 6000. These include black and white rhinos. While the South African government is pro-active in the fight against rhino poaching, their efforts are mostly focused on the national parks such as the Kruger National Park, where severe poaching is taking place. As a result, government is not in a position to assist private owners in anti-poaching efforts.
It has been suggested that the current South African rhino population in the Kruger will enter a negative growth phase shortly; more rhinos will be killed off by poachers than are being bred. Unless this pattern is reversed, there will be no rhino left in the Kruger National Park by 2020.
‘The private sector in South Africa is therefore the only ones that can secure the future survival of the country’s rhinos. While they have also been under attack from poachers, their security measures and breeding numbers are much higher than in the San Parks. The private rhino owners, however, receive no support from government and are at pains to keep their animals alive,’ Stapelberg says.
Currently private rhino owners are hesitant to carry on with the farming of rhinos due to the fact that it is not financially viable any more. The trade price of rhinos has dropped by 60% over the last decade. Not only do they spend thousands per month to keep the animals safe, the daily upkeep of the rhinos is also taking its toll. Since 2009, private rhino owners have spent R2 billion on rhino conservation. Many owners cannot deal with the stress and the almost impossible task to look after these animals.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
• You as a member of the public can invest in your own rhino for only R1000 per year.
• The premium will cover the rhino against poaching, death by natural causes as well as other expenses such as medical treatment which could be very costly.
• A percentage of your contribution will also assist the farmer with monthly expenses such as food and security measures.
• A portion of your contribution will be returned to you at the end of 12 months in case of no claims filed.
• Should the rhino die from a poaching incident or natural causes, you will also receive a pay-out.
‘We believe the public can make a difference by getting involved in this initiative. We need to strengthen the arms of the private sector to ensure the future survival of our rhinos. This initiative is unique in the sense that the investor will know exactly what his or her funds will be used for,’ says Potgieter.
Investors will receive a free subscription to the Rhino Connect App with exclusive information and updates on ‘Your Own Rhino’. The APP can be downloaded by clicking on the following links for Google Play and the Apple App Store.