Conservationists win rhino awards
KWAZULU-NATAL’S efforts to take on rhino poaching were recognised as two conservationists brought home awards.
At the 2016 Rhino Conservation Awards in Johannesburg this week, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife veterinarian Dr Dave Cooper took the Best Science Research and Technology Award. Sheelagh Antrobus of Project Rhino won the award for Best Awareness, Education or Funding. The awards were founded in 2012 by philanthropists Dr Larry Hansen and Xiaoyang Yu, with Prince Albert of Monaco serving as a patron. Cooper, a veteran in the war against poaching, attends any poaching event within the provincial parks and, with his team, attends to injured baby rhino as well as processing evidence. He said he was “honoured to have been recognised, especially in the company of other such distinguished conservationists”.
He said rhino might well be extinct within a decade, with anti-poaching projects facing seemingly insurmountable odds with deep-seated corruption and complicity that ran high up in the “rhino mafia” and international political hierarchy. – Sheree Bega