Pearl Valley Golf & Country Estate’s annual Celebrity Golf Day raised R120 000 for the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, a programme of The Wilderness Foundation. The event played out on Friday 18 September 2015 with a full field of 128 golfers, and attracted the support of various celebrities, including South Africa’s top women’s golfer and Pearl Valley ambassador Lee-Anne Pace, cricketers Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, Springbok legends Rob Louw and Tiaan Strauss, chef Reuben Riffel, television personality Katlego Maboe and actor Neels van Jaarsveld.
The estate management invited Bridge House School in Franschhoek to participate in the event and under the guidance of David Fuller, the school’s head of visual art, 45 pupils aged 12 to 17 crafted ceramic rhinos and seven large rhino sculptures which were then made available for auction on the day and contributed to the funds raised.
Rhino conservation remains an incredibly important concern for South Africa which has by far the largest population of rhinos in the world. In 2014, a staggering 1,215 rhinos were killed by poachers - equal to one every eight hours. Earlier this year, Pearl Valley which was ranked the top residential estate in South Africa, became a conservation partner of the Wilderness Foundation. Nestled in the Berg River valley, between Franschhoek and Paarl and surrounded by the magnificent Simonsberg Mountain, the 22 hectare residential estate boasts a championship Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course and has hosted the South African Open for three consecutive years (2007 – 2009) as well as offering residents a wealth of world class amenities.
Golfers at the estate have the option to add R10 to their rounds on an ongoing basis, donated directly to the Forever Wild Rhino Protection initiative which was launched in
2011 as a response to the rhino poaching crisis. The initiative primarily provides logistical and operational support for conservation and law enforcement agencies responsible for rhino security and is also involved in raising public awareness of the rhino poaching crisis and manages a Rhino Anti-poaching tip off line.
Exclusive golf-club head covers in the shape of a rhino can also be purchased at the on-site golf shop at Peal Valley and all proceeds are donated directly to the Wilderness Foundation programme, which has over 40 years of conservation experience. The Foundation was established in 1972 by the late conservation pioneer Dr Ian Player, brother to world-renowned golfing legend Gary Player, who led the team that saved the white rhino from extinction in the 1960s. In 2013 the foundation expanded to include lion, leopard, elephant, and gorilla and shark conservation initiatives too.
Regarded as one of the continent’s leading conservationists and social entrepreneurs, Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa, is internationally recognised for integrating conservation with social and development issues and is extremely proud of the support and level of commitment shown by Pearl Valley.
“We can’t be successful with our various projects on our own,” he points out. “We rely on the support and collaboration of our strategic partners to ensure that we protect this iconic species for future generations. The funds raised by the Pearl Valley Celebrity Golf Day will contribute to our logistical and operational support for conservation and law enforcement agencies responsible for rhino security” concludes Muir.