Rhino Awareness

On the morning of Thursday, the 12th of March 2014, King’s school was graced by the visit of Isabel Wolfe Gillespie and her two colleagues, Kate and Karen.

Isabel, who originally hails from Germany, came to our shores eight years ago to pursue an internship in a Wildlife game park in the Eastern Cape. Her daily duties involved touring around on horseback with visitors to the park and showing them wildlife.

“I was so concerned when we lost a number of rhinos due to the scourge of poaching that has mushroomed in the country and the continent at large” said Isabelle. This is the reason she and her Husband Lloyd started RHINO KNIGHTS, an awareness campaign to curb rhino poaching.

An awareness adventure that the campaign initiated included covering a distance of 7 411 km on horseback around South Africa. In the quest to highlight the importance of wildlife conservation, Isabel then embarked on another remarkable journey spanning four years and eighteen months as she travelled 9 259 km on foot and by bicycle across the South African borders into Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

The visit was such an interesting one for King’s learners and this was manifested in their interaction during the Q&A session after the brief talk with Isabel. Some of the questions learners asked included the punishment structures in place for apprehended poachers, how many shoes Isabel wore out on her walk and and how tall is a rhino. Some learners were even aware before the talk that Rhino horns are sold for medicinal practices in the East.

Isabel used the analogy of a humming bird to illustrate to learners that, as young as they are, they can play a pivotal role in environmental conservation in their homes, schools and communities. She advised that they could do this by turning off taps, not wasting food, showering instead of bathing. Like the humming bird, they may be small, but they must do what they are capable of.

There was great enthusiasm evident on the faces of our grades 4-7 learners as they listened intently to the hummingbird moral. We are sure that in the more than 50 schools that Isabel travelled to, where she spoke to around 20 000 children, everyone was as inspired as we were by her impactful message.