The job of saving South Africa’s rhino population from the insiduous – and growing – poaching threat is a thankless and often dangerous task.
Being able to respond quickly and efficiently is vital and Goodyear has now extended its sponsorship of Wrangler tyres for the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, the seveth year this has been renewed.
“The rangers made a specific request to have Goodyear Wranglers fitted to the vehicles,” says Wilderness Foundation’s chief operations officer, Matthew Norval. “This is the seventh year that VW has sponsored Amarok vehicles for our Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative. Our rangers were delighted that Goodyear Wranglers were again fitted to their vehicles, as they have proven the tyres offer better traction and are much more robust than other tyres we have tried.”
Norval is positive about the impact that the initiative has had over the last few years.
“Wilderness Foundation Africa started the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative in 2011, recognising the rhino poaching crisis was of national and international significance and affected all levels of society. Wildlife crime is the fourth most profitable illicit trade in the world, estimated at up to $213-billion annually.”
The Initiative has a four-pronged approach in response that includes:
- Support anti-poaching actions on the ground in private and state protected areas
- Curb demand for rhino horn in user countries
- Increase security and law enforcement activities through the Wildlife Operations Group, a multi-agency partnership coordinated by Wilderness Foundation Africa
- Increase public awareness
“We are working in partnership with various organisations to address the issue. Goodyear South Africa has been on board since the start,” says Norval.
“Goodyear is proud to be a partner that assists proactive rhino protection and anti-poaching activities. As a leading 4×4 tyre brand in South Africa we are honoured Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure tyres were the rangers’ tyre of choice and contributes to their safety and comfort on challenging terrain,” says Tracy Maclear, Goodyear South Africa Group Marketing & Brand Manager.
Geshen Govender, Goodyear Consumer Product Manager explains the benefits of having these tyres fitted to the conservation vehicles.
“Being an all-terrain tyre, the Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure is suited to both on- and off-road travelling. The Kevlar reinforced layer, coupled with Durawall technology, resists punctures and cuts in off-road driving conditions. The optimised tread design ensures even pressure distribution across the tyre footprint for improved mileage. The tyre is a well-suited fit to their requirements.”
In a separate, but related gesture, Goodyear also named Wilderness Foundation Africa as its beneficiary during the recent Speed Stars television show that aired on Ignition TV. Goodyear South Africa made a cash donation of R10 000 towards the Foundation’s continued conservation efforts.
“Goodyear’s donation was very welcome. We appreciate their ongoing commitment to our cause and the loyalty they exhibit to the preservation of the wilderness”, says Cheryl Reynolds, Relationship & Communications Manager at Wilderness Foundation Africa.