Skydive for Rhinos – using an HDSLR to try to change the world

by planetMitch3 Comments

We get lots of videos coming in and I love to highlight some that are using their HDSLRs to try to change the world and this short “Skydive for Rhinos” (sent in by Andre Meyer) shows just how cruel humans can be to our animal friends and on the other hand, how amazingly human we can be in trying to help at the same time. Warning – there are some graphic scenes in this video!

Skydive for Rhinos

Warning: there are a couple of graphic scenes in this movie… it tears your heart out!

From Andre:

I did a video of people doing skydiving to raise awareness for rhino poaching. As you might have heard on the news, this has become a big issue here in South Africa. The Rhinos are about to become extinct due to poachers. They get millions of dollars in china trading these horns with absolutely no medical value at all!! It is absolutely senseless!!!! Just google “rhino poaching”and be prepared to see some bloody pics.

The whole idea of the campaign is to raise awareness and this video it the only tool they have left to do so. I really want this video to go viral, imagine how much awareness it would get!

The entire video was shot on a 5D mark 2, glide cam and a home made slider, so it will fit perfectly in your blog.

Equipment used:
1 Canon EOS 5D Mark II
1 Lens 24-105 L F4
1 sennheiser boom mic recorded onto Zoom recorder
1 monopod
1 Home made slider
1 HD2000 glidecam (no vest)
Aerials were shot with some random HD camcorders.

Software used:
FCP
Color

Skydive for Rhinos is the brainchild of the staff of the African Conservation Trust (ACT), who in May this year were moved beyond the point of outrage and spectatorship, to taking personal action regarding the slaughter of rhinos in South Africa. It started small, with six women volunteering to skydive for the first time and in doing so, raise funds from their friends and family to improve anti-poaching efforts and increase public awareness of the increasing numbers of rhino being poached. But within a couple of weeks, the volunteer skydive group reached 40 and campaign went viral.

The jumpers came from all walks of life, all ages and race groups, with 20 ACT staff members making up the bulk of the skydiving team. Others who joined in were Jabulani Ngubane (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Rhino Protection Officer) and Andrew Zaloumis (CEO, iSimangaliso Wetland Park) and concerned members of the public, including varsity students, entrepreneurs, a female helicopter pilot and even a couple of youthful grandmothers. What they had in common was an over-riding passion to halt  the extermination of a species that is intrinsic to South Africa's culture and heritage, voluntarily willing to put their own lives on the line for a  7 minute, 10,000ft skydiving feat that was a world-first in conservation circles.

Skydive for Rhinos took place on 13 August 2011 at Angels Way, Durban Skydive Centre’s base in Eston, KwaZulu-Natal. It was an incredible day, made possible by a group of incredible people and supported by tens of thousands of people who backed this campaign. Some of the skydivers had never been in a plane before – yet they put aside their nerves, embraced this new experience…and then threw themselves out of perfectly functioning aircraft in a courageous show of support for rhinos! In just 10 weeks, these 40 people raised over R180,000 in cash from their friends and family and generated business ‘in kind’ support to the value of around R240,000.  100% of the funds raised are going to improve bona-fide but under-funded anti-poaching efforts in KZN, including aerial surveillance of threatened reserves, equipment for anti-poaching patrol, camera traps and micro-chipping  identification of vulnerable rhino.  In addition, a large cyber-tracking company approached us with an offer to donate their technology, and we’re now planning to introduce this to those reserves that need this type of surveillance.

The campaign received excellent media coverage in all the major newspapers in KZN, as well as East Coast Radio and a number of magazines carried the story, including Africa Geographic and Wildside and a large number of online media websites.

As of today, 276 rhino have been killed this year – the latest being the tragic story of the Aquila rhino in the Western Cape and we at ACT will be continuing our efforts to raise funds for those on the front line of the rhino poaching crisis, in the coming months. We really hope that you will think favourably about helping to keep spreading the message and generating support.

To make a donation you can visit ACT’s website www.projectafrica.com (click on the skydiving rhino animation) or see www.facebook.com/skydiveforrhinos  – this page is also a conduit to a host of national initiatives and networks, trying to halt rhino poaching.



About the project

40 ACT staff members and supporters jumped out of a plane on 13 August 2011 to raise awareness and funding for anti-poaching activities that are urgently needed to protect South Africa’s remaining black and white rhino populations.

South Africa is losing one rhino every day to poachers and organised crime syndicates . This is an increase of 20% on last year, which was recorded as the worst year for rhino poaching in 40 years.

In May, the heartbreaking photographs of a White rhino called Geza, his face completely destroyed by poachers yet still alive, swaying blindly on his feet in agonizing, indescribable pain was the final straw for the African Conservation Trust (ACT) staff and in an ‘Aha!’ moment, Skydive for Rhinos was born. What started out as a decision by six female ACT staff members to bravely put aside their fear of heights and throw themselves out of a plane in the name of SA's rhinos, grew within hours, as 40 individuals volunteered to join the campaign.

The Skydive for Rhinos team come from all walks of life, all ages and race groups, from students to pensioners – including a couple of grandmothers – and a large contingent of moms and dads. 20 ACT staff members make up the bulk of the skydiving team; others come from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, non-profit conservation organisations and members of the public.

They do not have fancy titles or connections: what they do have is a shared passion to stop the extermination of a species that is intrinsic to South Africa's culture and heritage, voluntarily willing to put their own lives on the line for a 7 minute, 10,000ft skydiving feat that has never been done before, all in the name of stopping the slaughter of SA's rhinos.

Latest News:

The Aquila Rhinos

Parliamentary Question: DWA: Rhino Horn

CITES Meeting: Illegal ivory & rhino horn

Latest Stats: Stoprhinopoaching.com

 

In three months, these 40 people have raised over R440,000 in cash and ‘gift in kind' donations (US$ 65,000) that will be used to beef-up bona-fide but under-funded anti-poaching efforts in KZN.

Skydive for Rhinos took place on 13 August 2011 at Angels Way Skydive Centre, in Eston, KwaZulu-Natal. It was an incredible day – made possible by a huge group of incredible people and supported by thousands who backed this campaign – that has its beginnings in a crazy idea dreamed up during a coffee break under a tree in ACT's office garden, just 12 weeks ago.

Some of the skydivers had never been in a plane before … yet they put aside their nerves, embraced a new experience and then threw themselves out of perfectly functioning airplane on 13 August, in a courageous show of support for rhinos.

It is never too late to save a rhino.

The campaign continues: perhaps it will go international in the coming months – we hope so.

[source: Skydive for Rhinos.]

planetMitch

chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.

Comments

  1. f****ing bastards!… I would like to start chopping those soulless guys in little peaces… See if they like getting what they do for (“living”?!?) thou it’s more like “good living” cuz they’re making a lot of money for sure.
    Hope they die from a really painfull stomach cancer!!!

  2. How about an educational program in China that will explain the horns have absolutely NO medical value at all ?

    If demand goes down, poaching will too :)

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