Pearl Valley raises R120 000 for rhino conservation


Celebrity golf day that makes a difference

Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate’s annual Celebrity Golf Day raised R120 000 for the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, a programme of The Wilderness Foundation. The event played out on the championship Jack Nicklaus Signature course on Friday 18 September with a full field of 128 golfers, and attracted the support of various celebrities, including South Africa’s top women’s golfer and Pearl Valley ambassador Lee-Anne Pace, cricketers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Springbok legends Rob Louw and Tiaan Strauss, chef Reuben Riffel, television personality Katlego Maboe and actor Neels van Jaarsveld.

Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa, is proud of the support and level of commitment shown by Pearl Valley. “We can’t be successful with our various projects on our own,” he points out. “We rely on the support and collaboration of our strategic partners to ensure that we protect this iconic species for future generations. The funds raised by the Pearl Valley Celebrity Golf Day will contribute to our logistical and operational support for conservation and law enforcement agencies responsible for rhino security.” Muir, regarded as one of the continent’s leading conservationists and social entrepreneurs, is internationally recognised for integrating conservation with social and development issues.

Pearl Valley invited Bridge House School in Franschhoek to participate in the event by means of an art project. Under the guidance of David Fuller, the school’s head of visual art, 45 pupils aged 12 to 17 crafted ceramic rhinos and seven large rhino sculptures, which were made available for auction on the day and contributed to the funds raised.

“We’re truly thankful to the many celebrities, event sponsor Abacus Asset Management, additional sponsors and role players for their enthusiastic participation,” says Gawie Marx, Pearl Valley General Manager. “The interest from various quarters in supporting this fundraising initiative is clear testament to what we can together achieve for wildlife conservation.”

Conservation partner

Earlier this year, Pearl Valley, the top-ranked residential estate in South Africa, became a conservation partner of the Wilderness Foundation. Golfers have the option to add R10 to their rounds on an ongoing basis, donated directly to the Forever Wild Rhino Protection initiative, while exclusive golf-club head covers in the shape of a rhino can be purchased at the on-site golf shop, with proceeds donated directly to the programme.

Established in 1972 by the late conservation pioneer Dr Ian Player (brother to world-renowned golfing legend Gary Player), the Wilderness Foundation played an integral part in saving the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s. Four decades later, the Wilderness Foundation launched the Forever Wild Conservation Programme in response to the growing rhino-poaching pandemic, which in 2013 expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant, gorilla and shark conservation initiatives.

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