The Boucher Legacy was established by Mark Boucher, renowned South African Wicket Keeper of South Africa, when he bowed out of International cricket and began to pursue his other passion in life which is conservation of Africa's amazing wildlife heritage and particularly Rhino. Rhino are one of the endangered Wildlife species of Africa that are being decimated on a daily basis in South Africa-around 3 Rhino are slaughtered daily. The Boucher Legacy seeks to raise funds to focus on a number of programmes to conserve Rhino in particular the DNA Rhodis programme which seeks to help in the prosecution of Rhino Poachers and the SanParks RED 115 programme which is focussed on conservation and movement of Rhino in the Kruger national Park. Rhino poaching has approached epidemic levels. Poaching incidents rose by 440% between 2008 and 2014, with 1004 South African Rhino killed by poachers in 2015 (the equivalent of nearly 3 Rhino a day!). The public narrative around Rhino conservation is unfortunately one of failure. Despite millions donated and huge effort, poaching seems to go up, not down. Arguably there are not enough stories of success to encourage people’s engagement. While the work to address poaching is essential, education to reduce demand is as important.
1. PROSECUTION: Through the RhODIS DNA program developed by Dr Cindy Harper at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, we are aiming to get every living Rhino onto the DNA database housed at their Onderstepoort campus. This allows law enforcement to link the poaching of a particular Rhino carcass to the perpetrator, thereby getting the poachers convicted and behind bars. Thanks to samples collected thus far, over 300-years of prison time are currently being served by convicted perpetrators. Over 50% of living Rhino have been loaded onto the DNA database. However, over 10 000 still need to be loaded and the process comes at a cost of approximately $1090 per Rhino, including helicopters, vets and collection of samples.
2. CONSERVATION: Along with the DNA database work, we are partnering with Dr Sam Ferreira and the Veterinary Science Team in the Kruger National Park to collar 115 Rhino in certain key areas, to understand the movement of Rhino in the areas where poaching is most prevalent. To date, we have unearthed some fascinating statistics that will be used in conservation of Rhino into the future.
3. EDUCATION: The Boucher Legacy has rallied the public and achieved high levels of support through media exposure and especially through sporting teams such as South Africa’s national cricket team, The Proteas, whereby days have been dedicated in test matches to The Boucher Legacy program to profile the cause. Education to reduce demand is also important. A handful of countries drive the demand and education to those markets could prove vital in reducing/eliminating that demand. The projects outlined above come at a substantial cost, however the rewards are tangible.