Stamping out rhinoceros poaching is the ambition of a businesswoman after a holiday in South Africa doing voluntary conservation work.
Anna Fairhead, from West Wickham, and husband Edward often travelled to the country for a winter holiday, yet in January this year decided to give their trip a twist and volunteer with some of the gamekeepers at Kruger National Park.
Having been involved in their work and see how poaching of rhinos has escalated, Anna returned home determined to help and has now organised a fund raising auction in Thurlow.
Holidays in Gleneagles and Gstaad, tickets to see Arsenal, a day’s work in your garden by Johnny Winter, a day’s golf at Haverhill Golf Club and a day for two at the new Bedford Lodge Spa are among the prizes at the Newmarket Rhino Mercy Bash, at Thurlow Barns on September 6 and 7.30pm.
Anna, who does reflexology and makes wheat bags, is hoping the event may raise up to £10,000, which would fund around half the cost of a drone to help stamp out poaching.
“Ted and I often go to South Africa and hire a 4x4 to travel around in but wanted to do something different, so we joined the volunteer project and were staying in a bush camp in the middle of nowhere helping to track the rhinos, rebuild fences and getting involved with everything,” she said.
“While we were out there as with so many of these projects it’s totally underfunded while the poachers just seem to be getting better equipped and there are more of them coming from Mozambique and other neighbouring countries since the fences were taken down to allow normal migration.
“When we got back we decided that if we could do anything to help we would.”
Since the start of 2013, 564 rhinos have been killed in South Africa.
Their horn, made of keratin – the same as nails and hair – has no remedial use but is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The average horn can fetch £166,000 on the black market.
For more information visit www.rhinomercynewmarketbash.co.uk or call Anna on 07776 300408.