It’s a Van Lovern Conservation Story
The first thing that came to mind when Renche and I first started talking about the Rhino Run Wines.
A range released in honor of the now late Dr.Ian Cedric Player. Celebration of the work he personally did and inspired amongst others. And finally a hard hitting and honest exposure towards the seriousness of the Rhino Poaching situation in this world.
Often described as a Conservationist and brother to World known Golfer Gary Player, Ian’s work did not go unnoticed. A South African Chuck Norris if you have, having once being bitten by a Night Adder Snake during the Dusi Canoe Marathon, a six day feat to which he won in 1951. The year before Ian Player begun he’s life in Conservation.
While Senior Warden of the Imfolozi Game Reserve, Ian started two projects. One which was Operation Rhino. Ian knew then already that these majestic creatures needed protection and help. We cant be sure how serious he thought the situation would get, but he saved countless Rhino before he even knew he would. And created awareness around a cause that today plagues most of Africa and the world. Starting one of the first APU (anti poaching unit) operations.
Ian was a voice for those that cant speak. He was a reminder to those that needed reminding and he will always be an inspiration to the future generations.
Van Loveren have stepped up to the plate and dedicated an entire range towards creating awareness around the Rhino Poaching Crisis. With the release of their 1215 Rhino Run Wine Range, noting the 1215 Rhinos which were poached in 2014 alone.
Rhino’s while a concern for all South African’s truly truly hold a special place in my heart. I am not sure if you are aware but I was one of the first 100 cross culturally adopted babies in Southern Africa before 94′.
And one of the first animals I was ever taught about and something my father (A journalist and editor for the Sunday Times) took me to Game Reserve to see, were the Rhino before I could walk.
When I was around 3 years old I have my first clear memory of a Night Drive, where a Rhino came so close to the vehicle we should have been toast. Instead and remember they cant really see.
He nudged the side of the car, and my father says I put my hand out and touched his horn. He then backed up to as through he was going to ram us, but he simply turned sideways and walked down the road. That evening the Ranger told my father that the Rhino’s name was ishiywe or L’ishiywe, my spelling may be off. Basically the word means Abandoned, to which I was at 3 weeks old under a bridge.
And that is where my love and connection for the species begun. Seeing what’s happening to them now, tears me apart. I even worked on a game reserve for a year and the crisis is so real yet people seem to have this idea that someone else will solve the problem. That its some else’s job to create awareness or help the fight. We had a total of 1645 Billionaires in the year of 2014, yet we still cant save a species for our future generations? This says something not about money but about who we have become as a species.
We can do more, we must do more and we will do more.
I understand we cant all go jumping into the bush-veld. There are other ways to help.
Contact your closest Game Reserve,Park ,Wetlands or Conservation Center and ask if you can Volunteer for a weekend, often these places are happy to have the extra hands and are willing to provide you Accommodation or a game drive in return for you work.
I know that we aren’t all billionaires or anywhere close, but one month of the year, offer to pay for a Rangers salary, or offer to help pay towards staff meals on a reserve. So that the funds out sourced to them can be moved and utilized into fighting the poaching and helping all the animals in areas that need help.
Having worked on a Game Reserve and sharing a house with the Rangers I have seen the work, blood sweat and tears that literally go into running a reserve. Just because your favorite Ranger isnt on duty doesn’t mean he is lounging by the pool or riding elephants. That Ranger is most likely clearing roads, tracking animals, studying, or worse. Its not a glamours job, but it is a very rewarding one.
Our Rangers put their lives in danger on a daily basis. While everyone else is enjoying the beauty of a full moon, Rangers are usually camping out the night around the animals as the full moon light is great for poachers, as they can use it instead of their flashlights. Thus allowing them to poach and move around undetected. Often leaving no evidence but a boat on the shore line come morning light…..
As a Wine lover myself, if drinking a smooth Red Cab Sav, Merlot with hints of Almond, Plum, Mint and Apple can aid towards helping the project on a whole, then pour me and your Ranger a glass.
The Rhino Run Range is delicious, full bodied and a great addition to either the mantle or dinner table, shared with friends.
I congratulate the team at Van Loveren,Bonita and Rensche for the work behind this project. I have worked on several reviews with the VL Family and am so proud and pleased to know such an amazing group of people. It just goes to show that you can be in any industry and be anyone and still make and amazing difference in the fight against poaching!
And As Always…..