Ex Proteas Cricketer Mark Boucher and SAB To Help Save SA's Rhino
Mark Boucher may have retired from international cricket but this is not the last the world will see of the record breaking wicket keeper. He has a new personal project that will keep him visible on the international stage - helping to save South Africa's Rhino population from extinction.
If his fighting spirit and determination on the cricket field is anything to go by then the fight against Rhino poaching has just acquired a “never say die” warrior who sees this project as a personal crusade.
Appointed by The South African Breweries (SAB) as its Castle Lager Rhino Ambassador, Boucher hopes to raise funds both locally and abroad through the 'Our Rhinos in Safe Hands' campaign, which will be launched in the next few weeks.
"Wildlife has always been a passion of mine and for a long time I have been working on the idea of dedicating my retirement to making a difference in this regard. I now have the opportunity to contribute something meaningful towards a cause that is close to the hearts of my fellow South Africans."
Speaking at his first public appearance after announcing his retirement, Boucher, together with The South African Breweries (SAB), have launched the SAB-Boucher Non-Profit Company. The NPC aims to raise enough money to register South Africa's 18 000 rhinos on the DNA database established and run by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL) at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria at Onderstepoort. The initial target is to raise R1-million.
"We are fast approaching the tipping point where the number of rhinos poached exceeds the number of new births. At that point the extinction of our rhinos will be a very real threat. There are many options on the table on how to address the issue but the one that underlies all scenarios is the need for a robust DNA database. Such a system will not only manage the population that we have but will also assist in the prosecution of offenders by linking the crime scene to the recovered horn," said Boucher.
The establishment of the DNA database is a step in the right direction in the war against poaching and through the 'Our Rhinos in Safe Hands' we can hopefully turn the tables and avoid the tipping point.
With Boucher's passion for South African wildlife and high profile status we hope that this initiative and others can get the large local and international support it needs and desreves. I think his closing statement sums up his passion and dedication to the project.
"It's a great privilege for South Africa to be home to some of the world's most remarkable wildlife species and we all need to take our responsibility as their custodians very seriously and contribute our voices and our muscle towards protecting them,"
It would take a very shrewd bookie to bet against Boucher's new career.
You can follow Mark on Twitter HERE
[Photographer - Chad Cocking]