Map Ives, Director of Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB), was in Basel on Monday 26 June thanking Swiss donors for their support. Their generosity has made Switzerland a world leader in the fight to prevent white and black rhinos from being poached to extinction.
Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB) was set up to ensure Botswana acts as an ‘ark’ for these threatened species – and provides hope for the future. RCB is internationally recognised as a world-leader in rhino conservation, has the backing of the Botswana government and is endorsed by the IUCN, NGOs and other respected experts around the globe.
The organisation monitors and protects rhinos that are removed from poaching hotspots across southern Africa and released into the Okavango Delta, northern Botswana. Here, RCB is building stronger breeding populations of rhinos by carefully selecting individuals for relocation that will enhance the genetic diversity, and thus contribute to the long-term adaptability and natural resilience, of their kind.
Map visited Basel at the invitation of Friends of Rhino Conservation Botswana, Switzerland. The charity was established by Angela Berney after she met Map on safari. This chance encounter inspired her to become one of RCB’s most passionate and persuasive advocates.
Angela Berney said: “I was delighted to welcome Map Ives to Switzerland. It gave him the chance to meet and thank the many European supporters who are so generously backing RCB’s efforts to protect these ancient and iconic animals. Many rhinos are now assured a safer future thanks to the compassion of the charity’s supporters. It also gave our audience an opportunity to enjoy unrivalled insights into rhino conservation from one of the world’s greatest experts and dedicated champions.”
Map Ives said: “I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to our donors for their generosity. They have made it possible for RCB to create a safe haven for rhinos and for Botswana to become a world leader in conservation. Switzerland is setting an excellent example to other nations at a time when the need for this level of generosity is becoming more pressing every day.”
“Across Africa, rhinos are being slaughtered because of a wholly mistaken belief that their horns are a status symbol and a cure for many ailments, when in fact they are simply keratin – the same ingredient as a fingernail.”
He added: “Thankfully, RCB’s message for the world is one of hope. Many rhinos have now been rescued from ‘danger’ zones and resettled in Botswana, where our efforts are already being rewarded by the birth of a new generation. Together with our supporters, we’re confident that Botswana can turn the tide – making the public aware that the only place for a rhino horn is on the nose of a living rhino and rebuilding the numbers of these magnificent creature so that tomorrow’s people can see them as they have existed for millennia, living wild and free.”
Dr Friederike von Houwald, international studbook keeper for greater one-horned rhinos and member of the IUCN’s African and Asian rhino specialist groups, attended the event. She said “RCB is supported by the IUCN because it moves threatened rhinos into safe, top quality habitat where they are properly monitored. The government of Botswana is rightly proud of this initiative, which benefits from an international network of cooperation. One can truly say that RCB is an excellent example of teamwork and, by working together, we can succeed in protecting rhinos.”