Singapore company to raise $68,500 to fly endangered rhino to "Noah's Ark"
They are neighbouring countries in Africa.
Botswana bans animal poaching but South Africa does not.
Rhino conservation project Rhinos Without Borders is trying to help save the endangered animal by relocating 100 rhinos to Botswana.
But each rhino that moves across the border between the two countries costs US$50,000 (S$68,500).
The cost is so high because it takes months to prepare the rhinos for the flight as they have to be quarantined first to rid them of parasites and other illnesses.
The process of transporting them also requires up to 60 people per time.
Since last year, Rhino Without Borders has successfully managed to relocate a few of the animals with the goal of moving 25 by this year's end.
Now, a Singapore company has pledged to save the rhinos from being poached by contributing to the project.
Travel company Quotient TravelPlanner has started a two month long contest, Give A Wild A Go, to get Singaporeans involved in the cause.
The quiz, which can be found on their website and Facebook page, requires participants to answer one question on wildlife.
For each person who enters the contest, the company will donate S$1 to Rhinos Without Borders.
Participants stand to win a safari trip for two to Africa.
The travel agency's goal?
When the rhinos are flown to Botswana and are protected from poachers, it will be like a modern day "Noah's ark" that will hopefully help to seed the population of rhinos.
Rhinos await release in a park in northern Botswana after being transported from a crowded park in South Africa. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/ BEVERLY JOUBERT
Ms Lim Hui-Juan, co-founder and director of Quotient TravelPlanner, told The New Paper: "Over the years, we have developed good relations with many partners around the world, particularly in Africa.
"Rhinos Without Borders is an initiative by andBeyond and Great Plains Conservation, two entities in Africa that we not only know well but are genuinely and highly passionate about what they do.
"Rhinos are also not the most attractive of species, and a number of rhino species are threatened, vulnerable or endangered. One northern white rhino just died on Monday, making it only four left in the world."
On why she chose this project instead of those closer to home, she said that she wanted to lend support to an established and credible initiative.
Ms Lim said she has set an 18-month deadline to raise the money and is confident that it will be met.
"No donations are sought from the public.
"We are also organising a private fundraising event where proceeds from wildlife-themed merchandise, fine-print photography from acclaimed National Geographic photographers and travel offers will go towards our cause.
"We have been invited by Rhinos Without Borders to witness the release of one of the rhinos (in Botswana).
"We will be joining the land management team, rhino monitors and anti-poaching unit to witness this."
According to the National Geographic, rhinos are being poached at an alarming rate and only 25,000 are left in the world.
More than a thousand rhinos are slaughtered a year so that their horns can be sold in China and Vietnam in the black market.
The horn is marketed as a cure for many illnesses even though Western scientists have said that eating the rhino's horn is akin to chewing one's own fingernails.
Other hunters (pictured below) kill rhinos for sport.
Dentist Walter Palmer (front), poses with a rhino he hunted. He is currently in the news for hunting and killing Zimbabwe's most famous lion, Cecil. PHOTO: TROPHY HUNT AMERICA
As such, Rhinos Without Borders — a joint initiative by National Geographic explorers-in-residence husband and wife team Derek and Beverly Joubert and tourism groups Great Plains Conservation and andBeyond — is a relocation project launched a few months ago to fly 100 rhinos to safety from South Africa to Botswana.
With a human population of 2 million, Botswana is considered relatively safe for rhinos because human pressure is reduced when compared to South Africa which has a human population of 53 million.
Botswana's government has also enlisted the military to defend against poachers and if a poacher should try to kill a rhino, the military will employ the controversial "shoot to kill" policy against them.
A rhino runs free after it is released at Botswana. PHOTO: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/ BEVERLY JOUBERT
Source: National Geographic, The Star Online