Rhino Recovery Fund
April 24, 2021
8:15 am PDT
The Rhino Recovery Fund (RRF) launched in mid-2020 to protect rhinos from wildlife crime and restore their landscapes, while also improving the health of rhino populations and benefiting local people. Rhinos once roamed Africa and Asia in abundant numbers, but the illegal horn trade and rampant habitat loss have caused their populations to shrink dramatically. The RRF funds projects that aim to stop rhino poaching, curb the demand for their horns, and both protect and restore their natural habitats. Through the joint efforts of conservationists and local communities, rhinos can reclaim their lands and recover their numbers. In its first few months, the RRF has already supported nine projects in six countries and disbursed over $908,000 for rhino recovery.
Dr. Markus Hofmeyr graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Pretoria in 1994. He worked as an exotic animal vet until 1995, when he joined the North West Parks and Tourism Board as a field ecologist for Madikwe Game Reserve. From there, he went to Kruger National Park in 1999, eventually becoming Head of the Veterinary Wildlife Services Department for South African National Parks in 2003. Markus moved to Botswana in 2017 to be Chief Conservation Officer for Great Plains Conservation, overseeing rhino translocation to the Okavango Delta for Rhinos Without Borders. Markus is currently a program officer at the Oak Foundation, in addition to his role as Director of the Rhino Recovery Fund.
Hugo van der Westhuizen
Trust Director, GCT
Hugo van der Westhuizen has been involved in rhino conservation since 1993. He started off as a volunteer in Liwonde National Park in Malawi, where the first rhinos were reintroduced from South Africa. In 1994, he started his formal conservation career in Marakele National Park and was part of the introduction program there for both black and white rhinos. Between 1997 and 2006, he headed the North Luangwa Conservation Project that saw the reintroduction of black rhinos to Zambia after their extinction in the late 1980s.