Full name: Audrey Raubenheimer
Location: Kathu, Northern Cape, South Africa.
What inspired you to fundraise: I applied to Protrack Anti Poaching Unit and did not fit the requirements. Firstly I am a woman and my age did not support me. So I thought broader and I then got involved with Space For Elephants and drove 1200km to KZN to become part of their foundation.
I was introduced and moved to a location where fending for ourselves was a test to see if we could “cut it” in the bush. After 8 days of no comms, minimal food supplies and collecting firewood for a donkey boiler to have hot water, we managed.
Moving to Zululand to a reserve to set up a base camp from scratch, we had to learn how to monitor rhino’s in their own habitat. No electricity, water and basic needs, we built a base camp and monitored rhino’s and got funding for spycams, cybertrackers and general equipment to make life a little easier. We made a donkey boiler and secured a solar panel with battery, we carted water and made a water system to suffice for a quick hot shower and “running” water for a septic tank.
Cooking on fire everyday, making the most of minimal signal, somehow things came together and sponsors helped. Inspirations came around evening fires when we noted what we need and how we are going to get it. We put together a presentation and by contacting people we know got ideas and enthusiasm grew when spirits were low.
Current projects: Currently I’m working on the DNA Fundraising, under KALAHARI TO KZN sponsors, as we’ve learnt through our monitoring it would complete the identity kits of our 28 rhino’s we babysit. The target is to have all 28 rhino’s on the DNA System is R200K. That will be putting 24 onto the system as soon as possible and leaving enough “change” for the offspring once they reach maturity to be darted, notched, micro chipped and DNA-ed.
Other projects: I used to work with God’s Golden Acre in Cato Ridge. That’s an orphanage for the children of that valley. Food parcels were delivered, I also did Early Childhood Education and ran and taught the school that was opened for the kids of the valley. The sponsors there were Rockerfella, Oprah and Ewan MacGregor, but mainly overseas sponsors.
This rhino project with Space for Elephants Foundation was close to my heart and any monies needed, we’d have to think of getting ourselves… I raised and handed over R10K towards setting up and assisting the Anti Poaching Units, along with finding personal sponsors for my camping gear, burner and gas etc.
“The Mark of the Rhino” was an idea that aspired from sitting in the bush and thinking. We got Skintrade Tattoos involved by asking them to come up with a specific tattoo that represents what our rhino are about. The death of a rhino is permanent, therefore having a permanent tattoo in honour of our rhino’s made sense. We launched in Durban on the 1st of December and Sean Stevens, the owner of Skintrade Tattoos, registered the tattoo, making sure all proceeds are used for our project. Sean does the tattoos, I set up the appointments wherever needed. He came to Kathu from Jhb, 750km, once I had 10 or more bookings for the tattoos. Sean has climbed Kilimanjaro and done the highest tattoo, Mark of the Rhino, on the summit.
I am busy with organisers of a festival in Mpumalanga where funds raised will be used for our project and then also a bike rally here in Kathu for our project.
Description and images were kindly provided by the volunteer. The opinions expressed are the authors alone.