A 16 year old teenager from Wilmington, North Carolina in the United States was so distraught when she became aware of the senseless defacement and scourge of South Africa’s rhino population, that she singlehandedly created an informative awareness program in her home town.
Claire MacRae’s mother, Nicki, was born in Durban, South Africa. When the MacRae family decided to visit Nicki’s birth-place and native land, they combined the trip with an exclusive safari to explore South Africa’s sought-after wilderness destinations.
Whilst Claire prepared herself for the journey to Africa, she learned about the diverse wildlife population of Southern Africa. Through her media exploration on the SANParks Honorary Rangers website, she became aware of the perilous plight of our largest horn and tooth bearing species, the rhinos and elephants.
Claire also learned about the SANParks Honorary Rangers’ forum, a volunteer group who supports SANParks on various levels and who plays a key role in the obtainment of funds in support of the on-going rhino war.
As a fervid animal lover, Claire was determined to make a contribution to the cause. She created an information brochure, capturing photos of live as well as dreadfully, mutilated and poached rhinos. Factual statistics and information like the status of the critically endangered black rhinos, conservation organisations which are involved in the campaign and facts regarding this universal crisis, forms the focus of her instructive pamphlet.
Claire involved her friends, family, neighbours and fellow scholars through this awareness program to make uninformed people realise the reality and brutality of South Africa’s most shocking trend. The initiative paid off and concerned people donated money for the cause and thereby showed their compassion and sympathy towards our magnificent, gentle giants.
By the time Claire and her family had to fly to South Africa in 2014, she already raised over $1000 (R11 000) in a very short time. Each donor also enjoyed the exclusive opportunity to sign a specially designed card for the handing-over ceremony in South Africa.
The first part of their trip was spent to walk down memory lane in her mother’s childhood and youth years followed by an unforgettable trip to the Kruger National Park and to Notten’s Bush Camp, situated in Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
Claire was astonished by her first ever rhino sighting and took memorable photos of these massive creatures whilst enjoying their wildlife safari. By the end of the MacRae’s tour, Claire had the opportunity to perform her voluntary, self imposed task to do her part for our rhinos. She met Quintin Vermaak, Chairperson of the SANParks Honorary Rangers, Bushveld region and shared her compassion towards our quadruped rhinoceros with him before handing over her worth-while donation. The funds will be generated towards much needed equipment in the onslaught against our precious wildlife.
Claire’s willpower and magnanimity is exemplary and shows that every individual can make a difference in the tug-of-war to protect and preserve South Africa’s rhinos for future generations.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers