Creativity meets conservation to give rhinos a lifeline

    The future of Limpopo’s rhinos is that much brighter thanks to the creative efforts of students at the The French school Lycée Jules Verne and the generous donation of their artworks to raise funds at a recent gala event hosted by the Limpopo Rhino Security Group (LRSG) in Polokwane.

    A colourful larger-than-life papier-mâché rhinoceros together with 42 beautifully decorated smaller rhinos were on auction at a special fundraiser of the LRSG – a voluntary collective of private rhino owners dedicated to the protection and conservation of one of South Africa’s most severely endangered species.

    As a long-time supporter and curator of school art, Morningside Shopping Centre invited the The French school Lycée Jules Verne to exhibit their latest creative project at the mall with the aim of educating youngsters about the plight rhinos face due to poaching. During the exhibition, the impressively scaled rhino sculpture caught the attention of the LRSG, leading to Morningside Shopping Centre coordinating the process that would eventually see the art go on auction to lend a helping hand to the organisation’s ongoing anti-poaching and conservation efforts.

    “The LRSG is overwhelmed by the generous support we’ve received from individuals, schools, shopping centres and big corporates alike. Our gala dinner was an immense success and we are thrilled that so many share our passion for safeguarding the future of our rhinos,” says Carmela Lattanzi, a member of the LRSG.

    Morningside Shopping Centre manager, Sharon Henry says the centre is delighted to have played a role in not only displaying the talents of young artists but also assist them in raising funds for a cause so close to their hearts. “It is hugely gratifying to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the The French school Lycée Jules Verne and the LRSG, and we are especially pleased that great art is being used in the service of this very worthy cause.”

    Established in November 2014, the LRSG has become one of the country’s most successful private rhino owner associations by ensuring that 100 percent of all funds received go towards making a direct and meaningful impact on rhino conservation through the purchase of cutting-edge equipment and technology in combination with other anti-poaching security measures.

    “Providing support to private rhino custodians is vitally important to ensuring these majestic creatures are around for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. We are especially moved by the genuine concern children and young students show for rhino conservation. The thoughtful artistic efforts of the The French school Lycée Jules Verne and the kind assistance of Morningside Shopping Centre is just one example of what is possible when people join forces and speak up for those who do not have a voice of their own,” adds Lattanzi.