I wanted to share two incredible days I experienced last week where the Sparkle team whipped us off to Sun City on a safari adventure which included a rhino notching and to bring awareness to the plight of the endangered species.
The Cape Town girls landing at OR Tambo airport
An early flight took us to Gauteng to meet up with another bunch of bloggers and the rest of the Sparkle team. It's hard to write this without gushing about the amazingness of a PR team including Morgan Taylor and Gelish who spoilt and pampered us rotten, however the real reason behind the expedition as I said, was to witness a notching and learn more about the rhino poaching epidemic which, despite global campaigns on anti-poaching awareness, rhinos numbers are dwindling at a rapid pace. Rhino horns are highly valued (more than gold or cocaine) and seen as a status symbol as well as used in Traditional Chinese medicine; poachers are supplied by International criminal gangs to provide Asia, China and Vietnam.
Sunrises make me happy as the start of a brand new day
Pilot Nico Jacobs rounds up a rhino close to the road to be darted before notching
This beautiful docile creature!
Rhino notching helps conservationists monitor rhinos by collecting DNA samples as a tool in combating poaching. We headed out into the early morning to catch up with pilot Nico Jacobs who was rounding up a white rhino to get darted and immobilized by a vet and conservation team.
A "V" is cut out of the rhino's ear where an individual number is given so that the animal can be observed in the future and information added to database. Another two microchips are inserted into the horn and rump. The horn is measured and an estimated age of this rhino was 10 to 15 years old. The entire procedure takes less than fifteen minutes and the rhino suffers no trauma. As I stood next to the immobilised rhino, tears welled up as I wondered about the next time someone stands next to this beautiful creature, would it be a hideous poacher?
Steve from the Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust
All data is captured for every rhino notching
It was a real eye-opener on the reality of this endangered creature and what the costs entail to conserve and protect these animals; one notch costs as much as R70 000. There is very little if any funding from the government so it is up to us and companies to put money where it is needed. There are various platforms like here where you can donate and here to get involved.
Such fun with these lovely girls!
Our lovely Miss Universe SA Tamaryn Green joined us for the two days - what an incredible beautiful person, both inside and out!
It was a privelege and honour to be part of the notching experience where a group of us bloggers have decided to brainstorm and see how and what we can do to get involved by using our platforms, so watch this space!
Morgan Taylor African Safari Collection
After visiting South Africa two years ago, Morgan Taylor created a Safari Collection where the proceeds from the collection globally are going towards supporting the Pilanesburg Wildlife Trust.
Again a heartfelt thanks to the Sparkle team, Morgan Taylor and Gelish for sponsoring the rhino notching operation, the Mankwe Game Trackers, Steve and Peri from Pilanesberg Wildlife Trust, vet Dr Johan Cronje and assistant Tayla Cronje aswell as Pilot Nico Jacobs! Also a huge shoutout to our lovely gifts from SkullCandy, LAMY and Dash jewellery
Gelish SA Instagram