The Rhino Conservation Awards were initiated by Dr. Larry Hansen and Ms Xiaoyang Yu, with the purpose to create awareness of rhino conservation issues while recognising exceptional individuals and organisations for their efforts in protecting Africa’s rhino population. The annual Awards take place since 2012 and this year, Carl Zeiss Sports Optics has undertaken to sponsor the Awards, which are held on the 27th of July.
Sponsors’ representatives, international guests and diplomats, members of the Department of Environmental Affairs, the South African National Parks Board, media, sponsors, organisations and individuals involved in rhino conservation will attend this year’s Awards. Prince Albert II of Monaco agreed to be the Patron of the Rhino Conservation Initiative and the Rhino Conservation Awards. He is committed to the protection of species dangerously close to extinction through the support of his foundation to various preservation projects.
The Awards take place in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa and the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA), a non-profit organisation with a large membership of over 1500 People across Africa. Many of them are rangers active in anti-poaching activities. The Association is dedicated to the protection, conservation and restoration of Africa’s biodiversity and wilderness for the benefit of present and future generations.
Environmental responsibility is of key importance and ZEISS has nurtured this as a tradition within the Group. “Our products are made for the observation of nature’s miracles, therefore it is our natural interest to conserve those miracles,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle, Chief Executive Officer of Carl Zeiss Sports Optics. No matter how small the contribution, every effort to conserve nature should be commended. “It is always worth it to change the status quo for the future of our planet,” concludes Scherle. “Every person that is committed to nature conservation should be awarded.”
The ZEISS Group has indicated its intention to maintain its sponsorship of the Awards and is excited about their future association with this Award. The South African ZEISS office has been involved informally in rhino conservation for the last three to four years. The Group as a whole has now made the decision to take structured action against poaching, committing to play an active role in Rhino Conservation. “It is hoped that we can assist in creating more awareness about the plight of the rhino on a regional and global scale,” says Dr. Simone Zaha, the Head of Marketing at Carl Zeiss Sports Optics GmbH.
Dr. Larry Hansen humbly thanks the ZEISS Group for its support, adding that its international footprint will dramatically improve the reach of the Awards as nature conservation is a global issue. “Protecting species and their natural environments must become an universal goal.”