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Rhino Conservation Botswana (RCB) is proud to announce that, today, His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales becomes a Patron of RCB. He will add his voice to that of Botswana’s Honourable Minister Tshekedi Khama to help raise awareness of the plight of Africa’s black and white rhinos and inspire positive action.
The announcement comes after Prince Harry visited Botswana last September, when he joined Map Ives and Kai Collins in the Okavango Delta on a sensitive operation to fit state-of-the-art electronic tracking devices to critically endangered black rhinos.
Working as part of a small but highly skilled team, The Prince helped with tasks including clearing thorn bushes from around sedated rhinos so that tracking devices could be fitted, monitoring the animals’ breathing and heart rate, administering oxygen, covering the rhinos’ eyes to protect them, and helping to keep the animals cool with water.
RCB Director Map Ives said:
“Prince Harry has seen at first-hand the cruel and senseless damage inflicted on these endangered animals by poachers. I know that His Royal Highness’s support for our work will make a real difference to rhino conservation. We are hugely grateful for the work and support Prince Harry has already extended to RCB, and look forward to working with him in the future as our Patron.”
As featured in the short film released today (below), Prince Harry said whilst in Botswana:
“The rhino is one of Africa’s most iconic species. This is a black rhino, an animal that deserves the utmost respect, so to be able to be sitting next to her is incredibly special. The black rhino has been reintroduced into Botswana and its numbers are increasing here, while numbers are decreasing elsewhere. If we can’t save these animals, what can we save?”
On becoming Royal Patron of RCB, Prince Harry said:
“I’ve been lucky enough to visit Botswana for more than 20 years and am incredibly fortunate to be able to call it my second home. Being Patron of RCB is an opportunity to give something back to a country that has given so much to me.”
“It’s about time we start celebrating and supporting the countries that are taking the lead in conservation.”
RCB is on a mission to monitor and protect black and white rhinos that it helps rescue from poaching hotspots across southern Africa and move to Botswana. Here, thanks to the government’s robust anti-poaching laws and the support of the military, the rhinos can thrive – and ultimately become one of the last great hopes for the survival of their kind.
Map Ives explains:
“Across Africa, rhinos are being poached for their horns at a rate that could make them extinct in the wild within 10 years. It’s a senseless trade; rhino horn has no proven medicinal value. Even so, demand is increasing. Today, rhino horn is worth more than gold.”
“Despite their size, rhinos have no defences against bullets and high-powered weapons. They are completely reliant on our protection and on our efforts to turn the current tide of poaching for their survival.”
“RCB’s message is one of hope. Together, we can stop rhinos from going extinct and build a safer future for these magnificent animals.”