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Why I donated to Dogs 4 Wildlife

Paige Bavin, a seven-year-old schoolchild from Lincolnshire, has been walking two miles a day for two weeks to raise money to help save the rhinos and support Dogs 4 Wildlife. Her mum, Lisa Bavin shares her story.

Helping Rhinos

This is a feature from Issue 20 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.

My seven-year-old daughter Paige walked two miles a day for two weeks to raise enough money to send an anti-poaching dog to a reserve in South Africa, which would help protect the endangered rhinos there. She absolutely loves rhinos and has done ever since she was two and saw one when we were visiting the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

Paige had been asking me what she could do to help save the rhinos, having read about and seen on Animal Planet the threats they face to their existence. “I enjoy walking my dogs every day so I thought it would be a good idea to make this into a fundraiser to help save the rhinos,” says Paige. We came up with the idea of doing two miles per day for two weeks, because on average two rhinos a day are poached.
We first came across Dogs 4 Wildlife when we went to Folly Farm in Pembrokeshire a couple of summers ago. There’s a rhino reserve there, and Dogs 4 Wildlife work with them. Since then, we’ve followed them on Facebook and got chatting to the charity directors at last year’s Crufts, where we learnt more about the dogs they train and the opportunities supporters have to sponsor them. Paige fell in love with the look of Nkosi, a Bavarian Hound, and we’ve been sponsoring him since March.
The charity has a few anti-poaching canine units, the idea being the dogs work as a deterrent to would-be poachers and act as sworn protectors and defenders of the rhinos. Paige raised £1,071, which will go towards sending Nkosi to the Bonamanzi Game Reserve in Kwazula Natal, South Africa. These dogs make a huge difference on the ground, with up to 75% reductions in poaching where they’re deployed.

Canine Crimefighters

Dogs 4 Wildlife train dogs to fight against wildlife crime in Southern Africa. 

Canine Crimefighters

Dogs 4 Wildlife train dogs to fight against wildlife crime in Southern Africa. 

Nkosi will join Dan and the ranger unit already in the Bonamanzi Game Reserve, to help support the reserve’s ongoing fight against wildlife crime. Nkosi is being trained as an elite human-scent tracking dog to help catch and arrest any would-be poachers and protect the reserve’s diverse wildlife. “I’ve really enjoyed doing my two-miles-a-day fundraiser,” says Paige. “Lots of my friends have joined me on my walks. They’ve all been super supportive and encouraging, we’ve had lots of fun and I hope to do it again next year.” We mainly did the walks after school and Paige was raring to go each day. We’ve got a Facebook page set up (called Just a girl mad about Rhinos), and we’d post details there – so friends could drop in and join us. We all wore our matching Save the rhinos T-shirts, so she became a bit of a mini-celebrity in the village.
I had parents stop me in the street to say they’d heard from their children about what Paige was doing, and the school got involved too, encouraging the pupils to do laps of the playground. None of our family has done anything like this before, but it’s brilliant to see the total raised going up and up, and Paige has definitely caught the bug to do more fundraising.

This is a feature from Issue 20 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.