OLLI contributes R70 000 to SANParks Counter Poaching Efforts
Wayne Bolton of “One Land Love It” and a SANParks Honorary Ranger cycled 6000kms throughout South Africa, connecting 19 South African national parks and in the process raised R150 000 which is being used to fight rhino poaching.
On Monday 31 October, Wayne handed over equipment valued at R70 000 to the Diamantveld region of SANParks Honorary Rangers at the Mokala National Park near Kimberley, part of the proceeds from his epic journey. The equipment is to be used in the war against rhino poaching.
Wayne’s journey on a mountain bike, supported by his family, was specifically aimed at supporting counter poaching initiatives through support for SANParks, through SANParks Honorary Rangers, and Care for Wild Africa, a rhino orphanage.
Wayne’s motivation for his journey followed a question to himself: “Have I done enough to contribute to the sustainability of my environment?” and in the Bolton Family’s case, with their involvement with SANParks and love for the bush “we are very aware of the sobering reality that we could see the extinction of the rhino and the elephant in our lifetime. We don’t want to stand by and say we did nothing!”
So, through “One Land Love It” Wayne, an ordinary 50-year-old family man and businessman from Port Elizabeth, cycled 6000kms by mountain bike, averaging 100km a day over 2 ½ months around South Africa connecting all 19 SANParks.
In the spirit of #JointCustody 3 generations of the Bolton family were involved in different ways in a journey that spanned the heat of summer. From Wayne starting out sick, to temperature peaks of nearly 60ºC resulting in sunstroke and dehydration, from long, silent stretches of road to being chased by warthogs and close run ins with trucks and traffic officials, Wayne was resolved to show his commitment.
As Wayne arrived at each park, the Scroll of Unity in Conservation was signed by SANParks Rangers who like many South Africans have committed themselves to doing their part to conserve our natural heritage. In August the Bolton Family got together with their sponsors and those who have supported and partnered with OLLI, in handing over the Scroll to John Adendorff (Regional Conservation Manager / EC).
Wayne Bolton (Far Left/OLLI), Mathilda Swanepoel (Left/SHR Chairperson of the Diamantveld region, Mokala Rangers (Centre), Koketso Kotsoe (Right/Mokala Section Ranger) and Deon Joubert (Far Right/Park Manager of the Mokala National Park)
The function was sponsored by Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, held at the Boardwalk Sun, and hosted by Gareth Burley of Kingfisher FM. OLLI values the contributions made by these partners who have supported “One Land Love It” from its inception and made the expedition and funds raised possible. Mr Adendorff reiterated the gratitude of SANParks management and staff for Wayne’s efforts in improving morale for rangers as well as providing funds for counter poaching equipment. The Scroll can be seen in the Ranger display at the Addo Elephant National Park Interpretive Centre.
Mandlekazi Skefile, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism CEO and an important partner in the One Land Love It message, handed over a certificate recognising Mr Bolton as an Ambassador of Nelson Mandela Bay. “Mr Bolton, through his passion and his journey has become a wonderful ambassador for Nelson Mandela Bay and we are grateful he ended his journey here in his home town. We support his vision and look forward to his next adventure.”
Many of the rangers who Mr Bolton met on his journey were very thankful and also motivated that an ordinary person would take the time and energy to acknowledge the valuable role that they play. Rangers in SANParks often have a higher chance of engaging in armed contacts with poachers than the National Defence Force. They spend long periods of time in isolated areas of the bush protecting our wildlife. Olli acknowledges their contribution which is why these rangers are beneficiaries of funds raised by One Land Love It.
On the 31 October 2016, Wayne and Nikki Bolton, representing OLLI were very proud to hand over the anti-poaching equipment purchased through the SANParks Honorary Rangers, represented by Mathilda Swanepoel, SHR Chairperson of the Diamantveld region to Deon Joubert, Park Manager of the Mokala National Park, Koketso Kotsoe, Section Ranger, and the Rangers of Mokala National Park.
Mokala is one of the newest SANParks and plays a significant role in regenerating important and protected species and Olli is privileged to make a contribution to this invaluable work.
SANParks plays a critical role in protecting our natural heritage and Wayne’s message is: “If we can’t stop the poaching and imminent extinction of the rhino what hope do we have of conserving other endangered species for future generations? I believe that there is an activist in each of us and by example OLLI hopes to challenge people to consider what they can do… just don’t do nothing… anyone can do that!”
The Final Message from Wayne Bolton:
“After our expedition we were immensely encouraged by the incredible fight people in our nation and abroad are putting up for our rhino. Our ordinary family achieved media exposure in excess of R3 million and raised roughly R150 000 for our beneficiaries including R10 000 towards the Canine units that assist the anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park through the KZN SANParks Honorary Rangers.
We are all ordinary people. The silence or lack of action from “good, ordinary people” led to 1175 rhino poaching incidents in 2015. Ordinary people can and should make a positive contribution to conserving our natural heritage. It starts at home.
This expedition is an exercise in #JointCustody. The success of our journey would not be possible without the support of my family, our sponsors who make the expedition possible, and ordinary people in ordinary companies making the conservation of our natural heritage possible. Thank you to each and every one of you.”
In July 2017 Wayne will be cycling between selected game reserves in the Eastern Cape and KZN to raise awareness for rhino and the role that our reserves and rangers play in protecting this iconic species. You can partner with them in #MAD (Making a Difference) as he embarks on the OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride 2017 to draw awareness to the KZN and EC frontier which is under increased attack from poachers.
Video of the Expedition finishing in Addo to the song written for #OLLI by local artist Claire Venn.
Main image: SANParks Honorary Rangers and Mokala Rangers with Wayne Bolton doing the OLLI Sign – affirmation that we have One Land (and) Love It!
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