“There will always be people in the world who take what is not theirs. But as long as there are people who try to stop them, our rhinos and wildlife have a future,” says Her Serene Highness (HSH) Princess Charlene of Monaco.
This passion for protecting Africa’s wildlife is precisely why the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation started the #chasingzero initiative. The main messages the Foundation wants to get across are that they are ‘chasing zero rhino deaths’ regarding wildlife poaching, and that the purchase and use of rhino horn is ‘not cool’.
During her recent visit to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, HSH Princess Charlene was involved with various conservation operations such as rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise, to learn more about this unique species that’s been on Earth for 50 million years, and the extreme efforts being taken to save the rhino from extinction.
Since the rhino poaching crisis began in 2008, thousands of African rhinos have been killed for their horn. South Africa’s rhino populations have plummeted in the past decade; in total, some 10 000 rhinos have been brutally slaughtered, with the famed Kruger National Park’s rhino population falling by as much as 70%. Private and community-owned game reserves are also affected by the unrelenting pressure of poaching. Other African countries affected by include Botswana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Namibia.
Despite a global ban on the trade, historically a rhino is killed for its horn every 9-12 hours in South Africa. We are fast reaching the tipping point, where losses due to poaching may exceed births.
The Foundation wants to do all it can to protect rhinos and other endangered species and is thrilled to announce that it is getting behind Princess Charlene to support rhino preservation, in partnership with the Thanda Foundation Trust.
“By protecting the rhinos, we’re conserving their habitat, which is beneficial for both people and wildlife, supporting our local communities, and ensuring a legacy for future generations,” said HSH Princess Charlene. “The rhinos cannot speak for themselves, so we must speak on their behalf.”
And it’s not just the rhinos. Since 2014, nearly 300 elephants have been killed in South Africa, wild dogs are the most endangered carnivore in southern Africa, and almost 30% of South Africa’s sharks and rays are on their way to becoming extinct.
The #chasingzero initiative is about speaking out against the atrocity of wildlife poaching and doing something about it before it’s too late.
HSH Princess Charlene says, “If we are to save these incredible animals from extinction, we have to do something. We cannot afford to lose anymore.”
Therefore, the Foundation is raising funds to protect our wildlife and educate people about wildlife conservation and preservation. Additionally, anyone who donates to #chasingzero stands a chance to win two tickets to the Monaco 2022 F1 Grand Prix, and other exciting prizes.
HSH Princess Charlene concluded, “In a way, our wildlife are like children – they are innocent, helpless. We protect our children from drowning, and we must protect our wildlife from poachers. I want to be able to tell my children the world did all it could to save the rhinos and other endangered species – and we succeeded.”
Donors can contribute directly on the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa’s website (https://donate.chasingzero.africa/). However, if you are not in a position to contribute financially, you can help the Foundation spread the message by using the hashtags, #chasingzero, #rhinohornnotcool. If we work together, we can chase zero when it comes to wildlife poaching.
About the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa
Sport has the power to inspire young people and transform lives. This central idea prompted Princess Charlene of Monaco to launch a foundation that would work to end death and disease caused by water fatalities. The Foundation focuses on the fact that drowning is a preventable epidemic that predominantly affects children and youth. In the six years since its inception, the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation has established 149 projects in 33 countries, reaching nearly half a million people, mostly children.
These programmes raise awareness about the crucial issue of water safety and teach people to swim. The Foundation also uses the transformative power of sport’s positive values by giving children access to various sporting disciplines. Its Sport and Education initiatives include providing financial support to talented athletes who lack the funds to realise their dreams.
In South Africa, the Foundation has implemented projects in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng. These projects reach out to underprivileged youth and teach them how to enjoy the benefits of sport in a safe and controlled manner. Thus far, the Foundation has worked with thousands of South African youths. Through the efforts of the SA chapter of the Foundation, many more young lives will benefit. The Foundation’s valuable work also extends to children from disabled communities, who are often marginalised and neglected.