Kruger National Park rangers and staff reach out to youth with anti-rhino poaching message.
"Today we celebrate our heritage, our rhino and our Springboks down in New Zealand!"
So said Judith Thete, teacher at Seganyane Primary School in Green Valley, Acornhoek as she welcomed several special guests to the festivities. The rhino festival, organized by the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve's Children's Eco Training (CET) took place on Friday, September 23.
The day was a perfect fit, sandwiched between International Rhino Day and Heritage Day. It was also the culmination of a four-week rhino awareness campaign at Seganyane and Matikinya Primary Schools in the Acornhoek area.
One of the special guests, Sgt William Ndobe, who is also one of the Kruger National Park (KNP)'s longest-serving field rangers, highlighted the difference between the two species to the young ones listening in awe. His colleague, Olifants trails ranger, Steven Oosthuizen, touched on the poaching onslaught in the country and visitors to the KNP's trails encounters with rhino.
Lucas Sibuyi, KNP's interpretive officer at Letaba Camp bravely fielded the children's questions afterwards.
In return, the children entertained the visitors with song, poems, choral verse and speeches dedicated to Africa's black and white rhinos. The official programme ended with a pledge from each grade seven.
Amongst these were: "Rhino have a right to life; do not kill rhino, hunt the poacher; I will always protect the rhino; and Love rhino, love life" – the last also being the theme of the awareness campaign.
What would a celebration be without cake? Hoedspruit Spar sponsored a special ‘rhino' cake at each school so every child ended the day on a sweet note and tea.