Further to last year's donation of R100 000, Lafarge South Africa has pledged ongoing support for the world's first dedicated baby rhino orphanage created at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort in Limpopo Province.
The centre is caring for baby rhinos that have been injured and are parentless as a result of South Africa's devastating poaching epidemic.
Lafarge, the world leader in cement, has for many years also been an industry leader in sustainable development. In 2000, Lafarge was the first industrial group to enter into a worldwide ‘Conservation Partnership' with the environmental protection organisation, WWF International. In addition to its policy of actively supporting the development of communities around its operating sites, the Group has a wide ranging sustainability programme that involves projects in 64 countries around the world to reduce the environmental footprint of the company's manufacturing processes and products, as well as biodiversity conservation programmes at its quarries.
"As a caring company, we cannot stand by and do nothing as years of successful conservation in South Africa are systematically and brutally destroyed." says Lafarge's National Sales & Marketing Manager - Cement, Maria Sazeides. "In 2007 there were 13 rhinos lost to poaching. Between 2010 and 2012, the number has escalated dramatically to a staggering 1454 and, in January this year, there have already been more than 32 losses. We admire the commitment of the Centre's Director Arrie van Deventer and his team, in building this orphanage to mitigate the impact of poaching on the rhino population."
Guiding the team and working with them is the internationally renowned rhino rearing and rehabilitation expert Karen Trendler of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Rhino Response Project. "While we hope that poaching will be brought under control, hope was not enough. There was a need for decisive action," comments Karen. "A third of the rhinos that are being slaughtered are either pregnant cows or mothers with calves. We felt that providing a specialised care centre to heal and nurture the orphans would be an effective intervention. Thanks to generous donations from Lafarge and other organisations, we are putting together the basics required for a suitable facility. This ranges from shelters and expensive security fencing, to simple basics such as tables, chairs and shelving, to the high running cost necessities such as medicines and vast volumes of milk."
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