National Property Group boosts wildlife conservation by R1-million

  • ABOVE: Reiner Henschel (Operations Manager Melrose Arch), Chris van Gass (National Executive Committee Communications of SANParks Honorary Rangers), Mike Vermaak (Managing Director Melrose Arch), John Turner (Chairperson Conservation Services – National Projects), Renee Feeney (Head of Sales and Leasing Melrose Arch), Khanyi Moyo (Marketing and Events Co-Ordinator Melrose Arch)

The Amdec Group has donated R1-million over the past four years to wildlife conservation initiatives.

Amdec is one of South Africa’s leading private property developers, with a prestigious portfolio that includes Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, Harbour Arch and The Yacht Club in Cape Town, Val de Vie and Pearl Valley in the Winelands, Westbrook in Port Elizabeth, and Evergreen Lifestyles, South Africa’s leading retirement lifestyle brand.

For the 4th year running, Amdec once again marked World Wildlife Day on March 3 by donating R250 000, raised via their official 2017 “Save Our Rhinos” calendars, to SANParks Honorary Rangers – a volunteer organisation that supplies much-needed manpower and equipment to support conservation in South Africa’s national parks.

With Marriott Hotels already represented at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg and destined for development at the Yacht Club and Harbour Arch in Cape Town, the property group feels it is essential to protect South Africa’s natural environment to ensure the longevity of the tourism industry. Without tourists, there will be no need for new hotels, and because of this, the group is challenging other corporates to invest in the protection of wildlife. Tourism contributes over 9% to the GDP, and a massive part of that is wildlife tourism.

“This year’s donation will be used to improve communications in the far northern area of the Kruger National Park, where rhino and, increasingly, elephant poaching is a problem. Lack of signal in that area means the rangers cannot use cell phones or radios to communicate with each other, so satellite systems will be installed to improve communications,” explains John Turner, SANParks Honorary Rangers’ chairperson of Conservation Services.

Last year’s funds donated by the Amdec Group covered installing landing lights at Skukuza Airport to enable helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to land at night, allowing the rangers to increase patrols and react to gunshots after dark.

The funds will further support SANParks Honorary Rangers’ work protecting one of Africa’s most endangered species: the rhino.

“The Amdec Group’s donation every year is much appreciated, as our organisation provides the lion’s share of support for anti-poaching initiatives by donating much-needed equipment, supporting the air wing and funding the training of rangers and K9 units,” Turner further explains.

Just 150 years ago, there were more than 1 million black and white rhinos in Africa. Fast-forward to 1990 and just 6000 white rhinos and 2400 black rhinos remained in the wild. And in 2016, conservationists predicted that, at the current rate of poaching, rhinos in the wild would become extinct by 2026.

“Rhino horn is one of the world’s most expensive commodities, more valuable by weight than gold or diamonds, poachers go to great extremes to ensure they get what they want.” – John Wilson, Amdec.

Despite rhino poaching figures for 2017 showing a slight decrease from previous years, with 1 028 rhinos being killed last year as opposed to 1 054 in 2016 and 1 215 in 2014, the death toll remains startlingly high. More than 1 000 rhinos are still killed in South Africa every year.

The calendar project was initiated by the Amdec Group’s chairman, John Wilson, who decided to combine his passions for wildlife conservation and photography to raise funds for the protection of rhinos and other endangered species.

“Because rhino horn is now one of the world’s most expensive commodities, more valuable by weight than gold or diamonds, poachers go to great extremes to ensure they get what they want,” Wilson explains.

“SANParks needs money for more resources in terms of manpower and equipment. I am proud to have been able to donate R1million so far, knowing that all donations help in the fight against poaching.”

For the past four years, the calendar project in support of the Save Our Rhinos Trust Fund has raised R250 000 each year thanks to generous sponsors and supporters.

Amdec Property Developments Managing Director, Nicholas Stopforth, believes conservation and development should go hand in hand and that developers should be doing more to reduce their impact on the planet.

“To this end, Amdec is investing heavily in sustainable design and technology. One example of this is Harbour Arch, our newest mixed-use development being built in Cape Town’s foreshore area, which will incorporate a range of water-saving innovations from the construction process through to permanent features in the precinct,” says Stopforth.

“In light of the water crisis, we need to reduce our impact on municipal water supply – in everything we do. But, ultimately, we need to reduce our impact on the planet in every way possible. This is why we incorporate energy wise innovation, water-saving technology, heat-reducing aspects, and the like, in all our developments.” 

Members of the public are welcome to donate to the Amdec Group Save Our Rhinos Trust Fund:

Bank: First National Bank

Account name: Amdec Investments (Pty) Ltd Trust Account

Account number: 5016 118 0035

Branch: RMB Corporate Banking Cape Town

Branch code: 250655

Reference: Rhinos and Name of donor

For more information, please contact the Amdec Group Marketing Department on (021) 702-3202.