My Five Minutes with a Rhino Supporter
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by Angela Omune, Ol Pejeta’s PR & Marketing Coordinator
A lot of time, energy and funds go into rhino conservation, especially on Ol Pejeta, the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Consequently, new rhino life is highly celebrated as it provides hope and makes all the work worth it. Through our “Name a Rhino” programme, we give our supporters a chance to share our success and celebrate new rhino births with us. The programme has received a ton of support from individuals, organizations, even a multinational yacht crew (the JO crew) that collects currencies around the world and puts it all towards rhino conservation!
I had a chance to interview Ian Robertson, Captain of the JO crew, who supported the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and named one of our rhinos JO – after the yacht he commands.
AO: How did you hear about Ol Pejeta and the name a rhino programme?
Captain Ian: I’ve been friends with Ol Pejeta’s CEO, Richard Vigne, for over 20 years. We met in University in Newcastle. I learnt about the name a rhino programme while visiting the Conservancy last year.
AO: Why did you decide to support the name a rhino programme?
Captain Ian: I’ve been lucky enough to visit Africa a number of times and I’ve seen firsthand the devastating effect of poaching. It’s a cause dear to my heart and I really wanted to do my part and raise funds to help protect wild rhinos. By supporting Ol Pejeta, I’m also assured that funds go directly towards rhino protection unlike other sponsorship programmes out there where funds don’t necessarily get to the source but go to administration.
AO: Who is “JO” named after?
Captain Ian: I’m the Captain of a yacht called JO. After visiting the Conservancy and learning about the name a rhino programme, I talked to my crew members and we decided to support the Conservancy. We named the rhino JO after the yacht we crew on.
AO: Who is the JO crew?
Captain Ian: The JO crew is a multinational crew from Australia, England, Scotland, Poland, Netherlands and South Africa. The yacht has an extensive cruising program from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean and on our cruises have been lucky enough to see wonderful marine life from dolphins, marlin and tuna fish to sperm whales and even killer whales. But with the dramatic and real threat to the rhino population by poaching, the crew decided to donate to a land based project.
AO: There is a Swahili saying, "little by little fills the jar". How is the JO crew making a difference "little by little"?
Captain Ian: We continue to support Ol Pejeta’s conservation efforts by collecting world currencies from all our travels – Euros, US dollars, Caribbean dollars, Croatian Kuna – and depositing them in a jar aptly named the “JO Jar” in the crew mess hall. These are later converted to Euros and sent to the Conservancy.
AO: How much have you raised so far?
Captain Ian: After our initial donation of USD $2,000, we have raised another USD $2,000 through the “JO Jar”.
AO: Why do you think others should support the Ol Pejeta Conservancy particularly the rhino programme?
Captain Ian: I think everyone should support Ol Pejeta as it is a well managed and trusted Conservancy that is doing a lot to provide a secure environment for rhinos. The entire JO crew talks to guests on board about Ol Pejeta’s conservation efforts and about donating to the rhino programme. I'd also like to encourage other yacht crews to name a rhino after the yacht in which they are employed.
AO: You have visited the Conservancy and seen JO. How was the experience?
Captain Ian: It was a pleasure seeing JO personally and I now feel part of the rhino naming programme. The other JO crew members hope to follow in my footsteps and see JO in the wild. They will also be able to witness the great work being carried out and see how the money they've raised goes towards creating a safer environment for the rhinos on Ol Pejeta.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy appreciates the support it continues to receive from donors.
To be part of the vital work we do and help us raise much needed funds for rhino protection
please email me on email@example.com to name a rhino today!
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