South African radio station Jacaranda FM’s Purple Rhino project has won the Rhino Conservation Award in the Media and Journalism Support category at the gala dinner held at Lombardy Boutique Hotel in Pretoria on 29 November.
The inaugural awards in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs and The Game Rangers Association of South Africa recognise exceptional individuals and organisations that have shown their commitment to combating rhino poaching in Africa. Representing the station and receiving the award was Jacaranda FM’s marketing manager, Jenny Griesel.
Jacaranda FM has led ground-breaking initiatives in this arena including sending rangers on specialised training, providing equipment, arranging vehicles usage for the teams on the front line and more recently, trained and deployed tracker dogs to work with the anti-poaching units in rhino reserves. The station kept its listeners informed via weekly Rhino Files, and hosts rhino experts on air. Since the start of the project, Jacaranda FM channelled over R2m worth of support into strengthening the protection for rhino in national and regional reserves. The focus was placed on protecting large herds, so that support was channelled where maximum impact could be made.
The station’s anti-poaching efforts has been a team work and saw Jacaranda FM presenters, Barney Simon and Martin Bester doing hard footwork in the Pilanesburg after getting together with the North West Parks and StopRHinoPoaching.com. Through spending time with the anti-poaching unit in the reserve, the pair ensured that a number of rhinos were saved after being tracked with wounds, and were later named Martin, Barney and Jacaranda.
“The energy we’ve directed to protect rhinos has never been work. It’s all love and passion. It is heart-warming that those who work to protect our rhinos have been acknowledged in this way. There is so much more that can still be done on the ground, and we must never give up,’ said Griesel.
Other nominees in the category included, John Robbie of Talk 702, Lead SA, NHU Africa the Saving Rhino Phila film, Ed Hern (owner of Rhino and Lion Park), as well as Tim Condon, honorary wildlife conservation photo / journalist and author.