The B2GOLD Rhino Gold Bar initiative
The difference that 1000 ounces of gold can make
The ground-breaking initiative of a 1000 ounce donation of gold by B2Gold in aid of rhino conservation is a striking example of creative philanthropy – not only to save the rhino, but to uplift communities which are dependent on a rhino-based economy.
In this second episode of a special podcast that shines a light on the initiative, 99FM’s Ché Ulenga spoke to Mark Dawe, Managing Director and Country Manager of B2Gold, about this initiative.
CU: What is the difference that a thousand ounces can make? Please explain to us the reason why this donation is so important for rhino conservation in Namibia?
MD: Our project is more about community support because the great story in Namibia is the fact that communities are the ones that are actually solving the extinction problem. They have done this through communal conservancies, through NGOs that support them, and a lot of hard work by the individuals within the conservancies, and we feel that they are worthy of our support.
CU: Mark, why is Rhino conservation so important? Why is it so important that people invest in these Rhino Gold Bars?
MD: Rhinos are on the brink of extinction and probably the one species that is facing the threat of complete extinction in the wild. Unfortunately, every day between two to four rhinos are killed by poachers and if one looks at that juxtaposed against the number of species that are being wiped out throughout the world, we reckon between 200 and 2000 species are being wiped out every year. Now, if you consider that there are only two million species on earth, that’s a lot of species that are being wiped out, so it’s a critical initiative that we have to save this species that’s been around for 50 million years; we can’t allow this to happen.
CU: What drives poaching and illegal trade in rhino horn?
MD: The rhino horn trade is entirely driven by demand in Asia, and demand in Asia is driven by the misconception that rhino horn can be good for your health, can enhance manhood, and is a status symbol. You know, it’s been proven that keratin, which is a substance found in rhino horn, is exactly the same as the substance of your hair and nails. So there’s no reason whatsoever to believe that rhino horn has any effect other than potentially improving your status. So, our job is to not only prevent rhino poaching, it’s to change the culture around rhino horn – especially in Asia.
CU: Why is the Northwest of Namibia special to rhino conservation and how does the community aspect translate through the rhino-based economy?
MD: The Northwest of Namibia has the largest population of black rhinos on earth. The black rhino in the Northwest is spread across a vast territory with very few roads, very little control, and no fence. It’s not even a national park; just a conservation area and they are being threatened by incursions from poachers. Because the poachers often go undetected, we find that the most effective means of stopping them is through the communities themselves.
We see this as not only a conservation initiative but, more importantly, it’s an initiative to support communities….especially with their livelihood being negatively affected by the recent drought.
For more information about the B2Gold Rhino Gold Bar, please email rhino@B2gold.com.