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Looking back on 2023: Our work in South Africa

South Africa has a third of Africa’s black rhino, and the biggest population in the world of Southern white rhino. With more than 3,000km of coastline, South Africa’s waters are rich in wildlife, hosting around 15% of the world’s marine species, including many endemic sharks and rays. This incredible biodiversity is, however, under significant threat, from habitat loss and degradation, the overharvesting of resources, especially marine, as well as poaching for the wildlife trade and snaring for personal or commercial meat consumption. Our work in South Africa is focused on the reduction of poaching and snaring activity, and support for domestic wildlife tourism, which creates the financial basis for conservation, supports the economy and creates jobs. From our partnerships with news agencies on our Unsung Heroes documentary to our ambassador network that includes comedians, musicians, actors and actresses, and influencers, and work with government agencies and NGOs, we are creating a broad base for participation in conservation, and inspiring an increasing portion of the public to protect their natural heritage. 


We have produced two PSAs with one of South Africa’s biggest social influencers, Boity Thulo, one focusing on poaching, another promoting domestic tourism as well as two PSAs from comedian Mark Lottering (Rhino Day Free Parks Week). Our Themba Robin PSAs promoting domestic tourism and Free Parks Week was picked up in a number of publications including the Good things Guy and The South African. Zandi Ndhlovu, South Africa’s first female freediving instructor of colour and one of BBC’s Top 100 influential women, worked with us on a PSA for African Penguin Day and a promotion of national parks like Table Mountain National Park. 


National broadcaster SABC (South Africa’s public broadcaster) and Showmax (the Netflix and HBO of Africa) are coming on board with our programming in 2024, which is very exciting and will greatly increase our reach in SA and beyond.


We are finalising an agreement with South Africa National Parks for campaigns to promote rangers and more local visitors to national parks. They have announced they are introducing integrity testing (lie detector tests) to reduce corruption, which would be a great step in reducing rhino poaching and we will be supporting this process as well as a campaign to encourage more people of colour to visit national parks.


Our partnership with the Daily Maverick, a top SA newspaper, continues through our Unsung Heroes series, a new installation of which is released on YouTube every two weeks, promoted by a teaser post on other social channels, including an Instagram collaboration with @dailymaverick. The Daily Maverick also writes an article on every Unsung Hero linking through to our video on YouTube. While we’ve featured a wide range of conservationists from across the continent, we’ve also released stories specific to South Africa, like our Tsitsikamma ranger Bongani Mdaka. A feature of Shanet Rutgers, Head Penguin Keeper and Animal Health Technician at the Two Oceans Aquarium will be released next week.  


World Elephant Day – 12 August
Our social media assets saw pick up on social media by the likes of Taxi. 

World Rhino Day – 22 September
We did a couple of local radio shows for SAFM for World Rhino Day, which SAFM promoted on Twitter / X, while our friends at Alliance Media joined in with Rhino Day Billboards and there was a pick up in the press and social media too on a piece about SANParks and Project Embrace in the context of rhinos.

World Animal Day – October 4
We created a short video speaking to the roles animals play in ecosystems, which was one of our most successful posts in the month. It’s since been picked up by an interested partner in Mozambique, and is being translated into Portuguese. 

African Penguin Day – October 14
We facilitated an interview with Shanet Rutgers, the Head Penguin Keeper at Two Oceans Aquarium. October also marked Marine Month in South Africa, which we marked with coverage in CAJ News Africa and Global Diaspora News.  

Wildlife Conservation Day – 4 December
Together with our PR partners, we put together a thought leadership piece on the state of South Africa’s biodiversity, and the need to protect it which was featured in Good Things Guy, Lifestyle and Tech, and on IAfrica.  

Throughout the year, we campaigned around various international animal days leading with short, powerful billboard messages distributed by Alliance Media, one of Africa’s premier billboard companies, to audiences across the continent. This was supported by various press releases, radio interviews and social media campaigns including our dramatic PSA campaign, ‘Once They’re Gone, They’re Gone’ designed and produced by Grey Advertising out of London featuring turtles, pangolins, lions and elephants.


Government: SANParks 

TV: SABC, Showmax, People’s Weather Channel, StarTimes 

Print: Daily Maverick 

Billboard: JC Decaux, Allianz Media Limited 

NGOs: Africa Parks