Conservation on the frontline takes extraordinary commitment. On one hand, you face the pressure of relentless poaching threats and on the other hand you have to manage “a business”, constantly depending on funding to keep the conservation program running. Volunteers are invaluable but they come and go and you are left to carry on the good fight. Visitors are key to keeping that funding alive. Education and Community Awareness projects are a great tool in the fight against wholesale wildlife slaughter but they require funding too. In the face of hunger and poverty, another dead wild animal might mean the difference between the life and death of your family.
However, in the case of the rhino, it’s a problem ramped up to another level. The thriving illegal trade in rhino horn drives poaching crime and to fight this we need courageous and generous people. With that in mind I present to you two emails that explain a funding project with a positive outcome. My thanks to Dale and Marla Rimkus at the Illinois Chapter of SCI for their vision and true commitment to conservation and to my good friends, John and Judy Travers at Imire in Zimbabwe for their brave and unswerving commitment to the conservation of not only the Black Rhino but all African Wildlife.
Email no 1.
Dear John and Judy,
Some months ago I donated a Rhino sculpture to the Illinois Chapter of the Safari Club International. This was in effect not a full donation in that the Chapter paid for the Foundry costs and other related expenses to enable them to acquire the bronze piece. For my part I made available number three of an edition of twenty ‘Extinction is Forever’ and they in turn auctioned the Bronze at their annual fund raising Banquet. It was agreed that the profit from this sale would be earmarked for Imire. I think it is very important to note that Illinois Chapter have only one fund raising dinner every year and instead of keeping the profit from the sale of the bronze they had long ago indicated that it would be earmarked for a project of my choosing and I chose Imire. The organiser for this generous donation is one Dale Rimkus and his wife Marla who bought the piece on the auction for their home…
Email no 2.
On behalf of Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation we would very much like to thank John Tolmay, a world renowned Zimbabwean bronze sculptor and conservationist, for his accurate and detailed masterpiece of a rhino which he donated to the Illinois Chapter of the Safari Club International. This magnificent work of art created by John was in turn auctioned at their annual fund raising dinner. Instead of the Illinois Chapter keeping the profits they asked John who would he like the beneficiary to be of the donation raised? John very kindly and considerately chose the Imire Rhino Conservation Program.
This unbelievable offer has taken a lot of planning and trust in John’s choice of Imire, a small black and white rhino breeding station set in the heart of Zimbabwe. The Imire passion and focus is for the survival of the rhino species. The protection of wildlife and community development projects as education are most certainly the key to the survival of conservation areas.
This is a responsibility that could easily become overwhelming if it wasn’t for the likes of the Illinois Chapter of Safari Club International, Mr and Mrs. Dale Rimkus, the organizers of the donation and of course John Tolmay – our voice who understands the importance of such a commitment.
When one is custodian and responsible for the security and the protection of the rhino, it becomes a massive undertaking. There is never enough security! Your donation will go towards intensifying the security of the rhino.
On behalf of Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation,we would sincerely like to thank the Illinos Chapter. We hope one day maybe when you are in Africa, you will come to Imire and enjoy the close and wonderful encounters with the rhino – it’s a perfect introduction to the wilds of Africa.
We are so very grateful indeed, please pass on our sincere thanks to all concerned.
Jude and John Travers