Hornucopia – Hooves for Horns

Help provide horse patrols to prevent rhino poaching.

In South Africa, a daily life and death battle is being fought between wildlife rangers and animal poachers. Rangers are committed to the protection and conservation of the rhino population – while the poaching syndicates are invested in the species extinction.

The recent rapid growth in rhino being poached for their horn is alarming. Our focus at ProjectThorn is to provide on-the-ground, tangible solutions to prevent poaching – we know horse patrols can make a difference – now.

What is Hornucopia – Hooves For Horns?

Hornucopia is a project to fund anti-poaching horse patrols in South Africa’s iMfolozi Wildlife Reserve. This is the latest initiative from ProjectTHORN – Tangible Help Our Rhinos Need – a team of folks committed to increasing awareness of the plight of the rhino (that are being killed for their horns), and raising funds to provide tangible anti-poaching solutions that can make an impact – now.

Why rhinos?  Why now?

We have great urgency to act as quickly as possible. Rhino are important to protect and the species is at a critical tipping point.

  • Rhino are keystone herbivores. The grazing habits of the white rhino allow biodiversity to flourish in the entire savanna ecosystem.
  • They have roamed the planet for 40 million years. If poaching rates continue on the current trajectory they are at risk of becoming extinct in the wild in the next decade. Humans are their only natural predator. We can prevent their demise.
  • Recent exponential growth in rhino poaching is alarming! The mass slaughter of rhinos has increased for the 9th year in a row all for profits/greed and the fictitious belief in the healing powers of their horns (the horns are keratin – the same as your finger nails and hair).

  • over 5000 rhinos have been killed since 2008
  • on average, more than 3 rhinos were killed each day in 2015
  • at this rate, deaths will outpace births in 2016

How do horses help rhinos?

While there are various methods to combat poaching, horse patrols are one of THE most effective, efficient and safest methods for rangers to move through the vast expanses of the bush in Africa’s wildlife reserves:

  • Much of Africa’s rugged, hilly terrain can only be patrolled on horseback or on foot
  • A horse-mounted patrol can inspect distances 5 times greater than when on foot, and allows for multi-day patrols.
  • On horses, rangers are less likely to be detected by animals & poachers – horses mask the scent of humans and camouflage footprints while giving the ranger a better vantage point.
  • Horses provide rapid response — when time is critical after a de-horning incident – both for survival of the rhino and capture of the poachers.

At iMfolozi, the park is over 160,000 hectares, vast areas are inaccessible by vehicle. 40% of the poaching incidents occurred in the areas the horses will be patrolling. The rangers at iMfolozi wildlife preserve know the value of their horses, as they have relied upon them daily until recent budget cuts. The horses will also be used to inspect the fence line for breaches, and to conduct research and ecological monitoring.

Why are we focused on South Africa’s iMfolozi wildlife reserve?

South Africa holds 83% of the world’s rhino population and is the epicenter of the rhino poaching crisis. iMfolozi is the oldest wildlife reserve in all of Africa and was formed to bring the rhino back from the brink of extinction in the early 20th century. Since then the park has been charged with insuring the genetic diversity of the rhino population. Through our prior work with RhinoArt and 12Hours we identified a specific tangible need that together we could help fill.

Goals, needs, and what Your Money will buy

Base Goal – $15K

  • 5 horses, tack, stable repair, training, unforeseen costs
  • First year expenses to maintain the horse patrol
  • Supplement feed, farrier services, inoculations, vet care
  • Outreach
  • Documentation
  • Donor incentives & processing fees for fiscal sponsor

Stretch Goal – $30K

  • Two additional years of funding of the 5 horses
  • Follow-up trip to document impact of the 3 year program
  • Start up costs to expand ProjectThorn educational program

How do we know this project, and my money, will have an impact?

  1. Horse patrols are proven as one of the most effective, efficient and safest means to combat rhino poaching at iMfolozi wildlife preserve.
  2. This is a tangible, on-the-ground, front-line project. We’ve been to iMfolozi. We are working directly with the ranger who oversees the horse patrols to design the program.
  3. To ensure funds are used as intended, we have arranged for a direct donation of horses & supplies. Funds will not be donated directly to the wildlife reserve, where they would be pooled in a general national park fund and allocated at will by the central government
  4. The infrastructure and funding approach is in place. We have an established relationship with 12 Hours, a non-profit organization with a track record in coordinating rhino conservation efforts. They will arrange for purchase of all the horses and supplies.
  5. We have a committed and passionate team. Karrie & Charlie have already demonstrated success in raising funds for rhino conservation with RhinoArt.

How did the Hornucopia project originate? 

Hornucopia was born out of an eye-opening meeting Karrie and Charles had with an anti-poaching Ranger at iMfolozi after participating in a RhinoArt program at a local school in Mtubatuba. Together they identified a tangible need that could be filled and have been working with the park, 12Hours and the ProjectThorn team since.

What is driving the alarming poaching trends?

The illegal poaching trade is booming. The primary market for rhino horn is SouthEast Asia, where a recently promoted, completely erroneous perception that rhino horn has medicinal value, drives demand. (The rhino horn is made of keratin and has no medicinal value.)  Rhino horn is one of the world’s most expensive  commodities – $65,000/kilo – and is worth more than gold, diamonds and cocaine. The scarcity being driven by poaching is also creating a market for speculative investment in extinction. The illegal trafficking of endangered species is the 4th most lucrative global crime after drugs, human trafficking and weapons. It is well documented that illegal wildlife poaching and trade funds terrorism.

With the help of Dr. WIlliam Fowlds,Thandi survived a poaching incident. She was accepted back into a crash and calved the little one in the video. Thandi’s footage was shot by Paul Mills.

Who Are We?

We are a team of folks committed to increasing awareness of the plight of the rhino, and raising funds to provide tangible anti-poaching solutions that can make an impact – now.  We are a visual artist, a technologist, mountain bikers, a photographer, adventure travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, business people, and passionate about wildlife. Most importantly, we are focused on tangible results. To learn more about Karrie Hovey, Ali Ivmark, Ruth MacKay-Shea, Charles Merrill, and Jill Shoemaker. Learn more.

Your contributions to Project Thorn and Hornucopia are tax deductible, through our fiscal sponsor, Green Planet Films.

The campaign is no longer active on Generosity.com. However, we are still in need of funding. Please visit our donation page to make a contribution.

Our partners

How else can I help? 

  • share our campaign to help us reach our goals!
  • help build awareness of the rhino’s plight with others
  • learn more about the poaching of rhinos

Thank you!

We hope you choose to support Hornucopia – Now.

– the ProjectThorn team