12 July 2013: The South African Breweries (SAB) has pledged R1-million to building a sustainable partnership with the Environmental Affairs Department to promote rhino conservation.
The funding will supplement the investment that SAB, SA’s leading brewer, has made over the past few years. To date, SAB has contributed more than R30-million to various rhino and wildlife initiatives, including the capture and tagging of rhinos.
SAB Executive Chairman Norman Adami says: “We have been horrified by the senseless slaughter of wildlife, which is part of SA’s precious heritage. We see investing in initiatives to help save wildlife such as rhino’s as an important element of our social responsibility as a corporate.
Mr Adami said the additional R1-million would be directed towards initiatives for Rhino conservation which would be agreed jointly with the Environmental Affairs Department.
SAB was the first corporate company to sponsor the RhoDIS database in 2011. The RhoDIS database is based on the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) used by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to match a suspect’s DNA to a crime scene. It actively supports the South African Police Service, conservation authorities such as SANPARKS and private rhino owners in building a shared asset register of rhino’s in the country.
SAB regularly sponsors events where animals, including rhino, are tagged and DNA samples are taken. Since the start of these events in 2004, a total of 155 animals have been tagged, with the majority being rhino.
Last year, SAB also teamed up with former international cricketer, Mark Boucher, to launch the SAB Boucher Conservation Non-Profit Company aimed at raising critical funds needed to assist with saving SA’s threatened rhino population. The non-profit company aims to raise enough money to eventually register all of South Africa’s 18 000 rhinos on RhoDIS.
The RhoDIS system has been used in several successful prosecutions. This included the jailing of a Vietnamese man for ten years after he was arrested at OR Tambo International airport while trying to smuggle rhino horns out of South Africa. The DNA profiles obtained from the horns matched the profiles of rhinos poached only days earlier.
Mr Adami said there are already so many valuable efforts across the country, with some risking their lives every day to help protect the rhino. “We wanted to be sure that our efforts support the most credible rhino conservation programmes and that we do not waste or duplicate scare resources. SAB believes that an essential part of the solution is an effective rhino management system, based on a comprehensive database of DNA samples.”
For further information please contact:
SAB, head of media and communications Robyn Chalmers, tel: 082 924 2267