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IRF awards grant to offset Covid-19 impact, protect rhinos in Southern AfricaBy ATTA®
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) has awarded emergency grants totalling nearly $150,000 to six wildlife organisations in Southern Africa following severe budget shortfalls as a result of the loss of tourism income in the region.
The two species of African rhinos and other wildlife that reside in game reserves are dependent on protection and monitoring personnel for their continued safety. With travel halted and emergency shutdowns enacted to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, reserves are struggling to keep team members employed and have been forced to ask staff to work for reduced pay. Reduced income also means that health and safety equipment protecting against the virus are often not available to staff.
“It’s critical that monitoring, protection, and intelligence activities continue uninterrupted to ensure the safety of rhinos in Southern Africa,” said Nina Fascione, IRF’s executive director. “IRF recognised the economic crisis would impact our partners’ ability to maintain operations and acted quickly to raise funds for emergency support.”
The Reserve Relief Fund was established in May with $200,000 coming from long time IRF supporters and new donors as well. IRF moved its annual “Cinco de Rhino,” a party for a purpose fundraiser, online this year. The one-day event raised more than $30,000 for the Reserve Relief Fund, from virtual happy hours and additional individual donations.