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Touratech supports the Rhino Ride

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Rhino Ride: Together Against Rhino Poaching in Southern Africa

They mostly appear in the middle of the night, rope down from the helicopters; and often it takes them just a few minutes to do their bloody business: Rhino poachers in Southern Africa. With the Rhino Ride, André Barnard from Namibia and Gavin Green from South Africa are committing themselves to the protection of these impressive pachyderms. The Touratech headquarters in Niedereschach / Germany are supporting this project.

For about 50 million years, rhinos have been living on this planet. But the survivors of prehistoric times may soon disappear forever, if trophy hunters and poachers can’t be stopped. According to the WWF, between 1990 and 2007 about 14 rhinos per year were victims of illegal hunt. Then - due to the greed for their horns - the numbers exploded. According to André Barnard, 1215 white and black rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa in 2014, and this year, about 1200 have been killed to this day. So, 2015 is going to be the bloodiest year in the history of rhinos. “If this continues, our children won’t see any rhinos anymore”, says André, pointing out that it’s five to midnight. The population of white rhinos in Namibia has decreased to only 5000 animals.

For this reason, he started the “Rhino Ride” project along with Gavin Green from Cape Town two years ago. Working in the tourism business themselves, the two of them want to raise the awareness of other tour operators and partners for the protection of wild animals in general, and rhinos in particular. Motorcycle stunt rider Dirk Manderbach and Sabine Kastner, CEO of the company “Afrikascout” in Haiger (Germany) are supporting them. Sabine wants to set a good example, knowing that you can also achieve a lot by doing small steps. A single e-mail she sent to several tour operators was the reason that some of them are no longer offering ostrich and elephant riding in their programmes.

The 2015 Rhino Ride lead through Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. André and Gavin have between  two and four appointments a day on their schedule. In order to be flexible and to avoid traffic jams, they have used motorcycles. But this is not the only reason: “The bikes are ‘door openers’, too. People are more relaxed, there is less distance and it's much easier to get into a conversation”, BMW fan André points out. Therefore, Touratech provided the two “Rhino Riders” with an R 1200 GS LC and an R 1200 GS Adventure. Africa fan Herbert Schwarz, who got to know André in person at the 2014 Travel Event, immediately knew that this project deserves every support.

André and Gavin are also hoping for support from their partners in the tourism business, as last but not least, it’s the fascinating fauna that attracts holiday makers to the black continent: “If they’d donate just three Euros for each tourist travelling to Southern Africa, a lot could be done in the fight against poaching.” Protecting pachyderms is expensive: Due to the organized procedure of poachers, it is necessary to observe even remote areas from the air on a large scale. In some reservations, the rhinos even get their own bodyguards to prevent them from being slaughtered because of their horns. Rhino horn is considered to be a magic cure and is illegally shipped to Asia in most cases. One kilogramme of horn is worth about 60,000 US Dollars.

Often, the animals are just anesthetized, so that no gunshot will alarm the rangers, André explains. Then the poachers cut off the horn, disappear as quickly as they came and leave the animals dying in agony. “Each tour operator should be obliged to support the fight against this cruel slaughtering and thus support species protection”, André says. It is not just all about collecting donations but, in the first place to do explanatory work and to raise awareness for the fate of rhinos.

The Rhino Ride team points out that every cent donated will directly benefit the Chipembere Rhino Foundation in South Africa and the Next Generation Conservation Trust in Namibia. Both organizations do valuable work for the protection of rhinos.

You will find further information on the Rhino Ride at www.therhinoride.org.za

Touratech supports the Rhino Ride

Stunt rider Dirk Manderbach, “Rhino Rider” André Barnard from Namibia and “Afrikascout” CEO Sabine Kastner in front of the Touratech headquarters in Niedereschach / Germany.

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