Rhino Peak Challenge Media
Written by: Nick Tatham
RPC continues crucial role in vulture conservation
Underberg - The upcoming Rhino Peak Challenge on World Rhino Day, 22
September, will see a group of 24 people, varying from elite ultra-trail
athletes to celebrities and influencers, tackle the famous Rhino Peak in
the Southern Drakensberg hoping to grow awareness and raise funds for
the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The 2016 edition of the event managed to raise a staggering R 290 000
for its primary beneficiary, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). The
trust used these funds to manage and support a variety of projects
involved in the conservation of the rhino and the Bearded Vulture.
Amongst these projects was the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding
Programme, which raises chicks in captivity before releasing them into
Dr Sonja Krüger, who has been in charge of the Maloti Drakensberg Park
World Heritage Site, has been monitoring the endangered Bearded Vulture
Having donned her walking boots and tackled the Rhino Peak in 2016,
Krüger, an ecologist with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife who heads up the Bearded
Vulture Captive Breeding Programme, has returned to take on the event
"Being in the conservation sector often means that we are constantly
scratching around for money and that was the case with the breeding
program, we were unable to sustain ourselves because we didn't have
funding," Krüger mentioned.
"Having started the program in 2015 we were under huge threat due to the
lack of funds that we had at our disposal.
"Last year the Rhino Peak Challenge was instrumental in us getting
much-needed funding and it is great that we are involved again this
"I have approached a lot of friends and family again this year for
pledges, so hopefully we will have another great year."
Despite only being involved in the Rhino Peak Challenge for one year,
Krüger has already seen the tangible effects of the money that they
"We used the money to support our efforts to breed the Bearded Vulture
in captivity and we have had two eggs hatch in the last year which is a
"Although it might only be two eggs, we know that there is a much
bigger, long-term goal in mind and any sort of assistance is hugely
appreciated," she added.
The conditions on the Rhino Peak in 2016 were difficult with howling
winds proving to be a problem and although Krüger is hoping for milder
weather she feels the hike is part of a bigger picture.
"I feel that doing the walk is a small price to pay in order to protect
a hugely endangered species," Krüger commented.
Joining Krüger from the field of conservation are the likes of Dr
Jacques Flamand, Zama Ncube, Dennis Kelly, Shane Raw and Deidre Herbst.
Herbst is the Environmental Manager of Eskom and is passionate about
reducing the negative environmental footprint and making a difference in
South Africa specifically related to water, biodiversity and clean air.
She took up the challenge as a chance to demonstrate her passion for
sustainability, specifically the role of biodiversity and the important
role played by vultures in the ecosystem.
Eskom has a partnership with Endangered Wildlife Trust which focuses on
reducing the impact of power lines on birds.
To make a pledge on one or more of the runners in the RPC before the
22nd of Sept please go to the website at
Click to download the hi-res
Challenge logo - jpeg
Ecologist with Ezemvelo KZN
Wildlife Dr Sonja Krüger, will return to the Rhino Peak Challenge again
in 2017 on 22 September as she tries to help raise funds for the
Endangered Wildlife Trust and her Bearded Vulture Breeding Program
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