Golf takes a shot at Rhino Poachers

by Michael Vlismas on
Save the Rhino campaign at Sun City

Golf takes a shot at Rhino Poachers

Two rhinos made by local crafters to raise awareness around rhino poaching and recycling at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Golfers are becoming some of the most ardent crusaders in the battle to save the rhino.  Sunshine Tour professional, Thomas Aiken, launched a major offensive when he teamed up with an anti-rhino poaching group in Hoedspruit.

“Rhinos are closer to extinction than whales have ever been. The issue around whales received a lot of support from the world to have whaling banned. The rhino is also an amazing species, and if we don’t act now, our grandchildren won’t see rhinos.

“The brutality of it is frightening. I want to be making a difference, because sitting and leaving it to someone else is not going to make a difference,” he said.

This year, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will throw its weight behind the rhino campaign. Sun City and Nedbank have teamed up with local crafters who will make two life size rhinos out of wire coat hangers. One has been crafted with a horn and the other without. Sun City’s involvement in this project has been to help local artists access markets they otherwise could not.

In a twofold move to also raise awareness around recycling, guests at this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge will be encouraged to fill both rhinos with empty plastic water bottles from the tournament.

When the Nedbank Golf Challenge first teed off in 1981, the global population of the black rhino was an estimated 10 000 to 15 000. It currently stands at under 4 000.

South Africa is one of only four countries worldwide that is home to 98% of the world’s black rhinos. South Africa alone is home to 40% of black rhinos.

This year, the best shot in the Nedbank Golf Challenge is likely to be the one aimed at rhino poaching. It’s another step in what has been a lengthy and committed process to ensuring the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Sun City remains closely aligned to environmental sustainability.

The tournament is run strictly according to an effective Environmental Management System. Throughout the construction of the 62 marquees, 14 big screen TVs and 13 grandstands at various points across the course, the trees and natural areas are left unaffected. Trees are either incorporated into the stand design or pruned back to allow for the construction. When plants and grass are removed they are sent to a nursery for the duration of the event and they are replanted after the grandstands and facilities have been removed. Much of the shade netting used in the construction of the grandstands is reused the next year or recycled.

There are two waste collection and separation sites for the event. The recyclable materials are sold off-site, while all food waste is sorted and converted to compost at the on-site composting facility.

Local crafters beading the rhinos made out of wire coat hangers.

Local crafters beading the rhinos made out of wire coat hangers.

In 2011, 15 tonnes of wet waste were composted which increased the total recycling rate of all waste streams to 84% of the total waste.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has an incredible history, but its impact off the fairways will ensure that it provides for an equally incredible future for all.

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