The Wilderness Foundation launched the Forever Wild – Rhino Protection Initiative in May, 2011. The Campaign aims to gather support from the public and various stakeholders to help fight against rhino poaching in South Africa and save the rhino from extinction. “It is only through a GLOBAL campaign and POLITICAL will that we can save this remnant of the dinosaur age – the rhino,” environmentalist and conservationist, Dr Ian Player.
In May 2011, the Wilderness Foundation set up a petition to voice the public’s outcry over the cruelty of rhino poaching. The petition, which was taken to the highest governmental powers in March 2012, is a vital part of the Wilderness Foundation’s lobbying campaign. It received over 18,000 signatures from around the world, and together with an integrated YouTube and social media campaign, generated worldwide awareness of the rhino poaching crisis.
The Wilderness Foundation Africa’s CEO, Andrew Muir, took the petition to South African parliament on Thursday, 26 January 2012 where he addressed the portfolio committee on the topic of rhino poaching. He also delivered the devastating facts of the South African rhino poaching crisis to over 70 senior staff of US Senators and Congressmen who are members of the International Conservation Caucus (ICC) at an ICC Foundation hosted event in Washington, DC on Monday, March 05, 2012.
The Foundation continues to lobby various governmental and private agencies to raise awareness for the cause. The Wilderness Foundation believes that without the intervention of government and the public, the rhino may be extinct in the next ten years.
In May 2012, the Foundation printed and distributed thousands of flyers and posters encouraging whistle blowers to come forward with information related to rhino poaching through a tip-off line. “Someone knows someone who knows something!”