Investec Rhino Lifeline

Celebrating ten years of creating powerful partnerships to preserve our natural heritage. Ten years ago, we established Investec Rhino Lifeline to respond to the rhino crisis. Today, we know that at the heart of conservation and a healthy, biodiverse environment, are the people who live within it. There is strength in numbers, and with our incredible partners and the communities living alongside reserves, we will work together to save our rhino and natural heritage, so that we may continue, sustainably into the future.

white rhino on grasslands

The impact of Investec Rhino Lifeline since 2012

130 rhino rescued, from which 8 calves have been born, and 46 released back into the wild

53,600 children benefit from conservation and education enrichment programmes 

Advice on over 150 wind and solar renewable energy projects from Birdlife SA 

830 internships through YES and our conservation partners 

984 rangers trained to respond to vulture & other wildlife poisoning incidents 

Every rhino counts. When rhino mothers are poached, young calves are left orphaned, injured, and at risk from predator attack. We support rhino rescue by partnering with experts who can rehabilitate and eventually release them into well-protected areas of the wild. "You do not give up on them, ever." Petronel Niewoudt, Care for Wild.

Through partnerships to bolster rural education with Coaching Conservation, GWF and the SA Wildlife College.  “Investec has walked a long journey with GWF and we are so proud of what we've achieved together, to make the most amazing impact in young people's lives.”  Kate Groch, Good Work Foundation

We try to understand our business impact on biodiversity, such as our ten-year relationship with Birdlife SA, where we worked closely with them to manage and mitigate the impact of renewable energy projects on birdlife, particularly birds of prey. 

Since the inception of the Youth Employment Service in 2018, Investec has supported internships with our conservation partners, Sabi Sands Pfunanani Trust, Care for Wild and GWF. 

“The value of vultures as scavengers is essential to a healthy ecosystem. If we lose vultures we lose a vital, natural sanitary service that could lead to increased spread of diseases affecting both animals and people.” Andre Botha, EWT.

Episode 2: Conservation, communities and the rhino crisis

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The crux of the matter is that when your physiological needs are not being met, there is no incentive to conserve anything, let alone a rhino. Care for Wild, the largest rhino sanctuary in the world understands this and has from its start over 11 years ago put communities at the centre of its conservation model. We hear from the founders and some of their employees. Read more.


More than just rhino

conservationists harvesting spinach
...we must work together towards a cleaner, more resilient and inclusive world

Ten years ago, when rhinos were being decimated, Investec acted to help save this magnificent species before it was too late.

Since then, we have supported the rescue and rehabilitation of over 130  rhinos, from which at least eight calves have been born, raised awareness with millions of people internationally, reached over 53 000 children in South Africa with conservation learning, and provided conservation learnerships to over 830 young people through the Youth Employment Service (YES). 

Investec’s conservation strategy reflects the group’s focus on climate action and inequality, by protecting critically endangered species and the environment they inhabit. Through our projects we aim to have a positive impact on our natural heritage, by uplifting vulnerable communities living alongside national parks and reserves, promoting a clean environment through carbon-reducing initiatives, and combatting illegal wildlife trafficking, using our business systems and resources.  

We believe that investing in biodiversity and inclusive conservation is vital to sustaining our rich wildlife and will lead to a better future for us all. 

Episode 4: Reimaging education in rural SA

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For decades, rural children in South Africa have suffered a debilitating condition: an estrangement from learning that causes a lifetime of struggle. One NPO, Good Work Foundation, is providing an antidote.  Hear from GWF's founder, teachers and those who have gone through GWF programmes and are now gainfully employed. Read more.

Vultures are vital to our ecosystems

Lappet-faced vulture head and shoulders
...and we must protect the alarming population decline

Investec Rhino Lifeline recognises the critical role that vultures and other birds of prey play in our ecosystems. That's why we're proud to partner with the Hawk Conservancy Trust (HCT) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to help preserve these critically endangered and highly threatened species. 

EWT and Hawk Conservancy Trust parter with a range of NPOs through Vultures for Africa. In the past year, they have trained 984 rangers in 51 poisoning response workshops in seven countries in southern and east Africa. At the same time, they tagged over 80 vultures for monitoring and more rapid detection of wildlife poisoning incidents. 

Over 60% of vulture deaths are due to poisoning although they are vulnerable to many other factors. Vultures not only prevent the spread of disease, they also, according to a recent article, prevent huge amounts of carbon emissions. 

In the UK, through our partnership with Hawk Conservancy, we also support the rehabilitation of birds of prey and their release back into the wild, as well as a conservation education project to protect these apex predators. Last year they rehabilitated and released 34 birds of prey back into their natural habitat.

Fighting for the future of the African Wild Dog

EWT Wild Dogs with collars
...and seeing EWT help the growth of the population in Kruger by 122% in ten years

Investec has supported wild dog through EWT's Carnivore Conservation programme since 2012.  

In that time, the work of the EWT team in preserving, protecting, rescuing and community interventions has seen wild dogs in Kruger National Park grow from 180 dogs to over 400 dogs in 40 packs - a remarkable impact! This accounts for almost all the growth in the SA wild dog population in these ten years. 

One of the most endangered species, wild dog are vulnerable to human-wildlife conflict and tend to get caught in snares set to protect livestock, are shot by farmers who don't want them preying on their livestock,  or poisoned by scavenging on carcasses designed to distract law enforcement and other predators from poaching sites. 

Renewable energy: reducing the impact on birds and their habitat

Wind turbines with birds in field partnership with Birdlife SA since 2012

Investec's power and infrastructure finance team has supported BirdLife South Africa since 2012. As a business, our aim is to understand and mitigate the negative impact that renewable energy projects can have on birds and their habitat. Renewable energy, both wind and solar, is an essential and necessary part of our response to climate change, but can have unintended negative impact. 

In the past ten years, Birdlife SA have advised on over 150 wind and solar energy projects over the last ten years, and their guidelines have been used in almost every renewable project in South Africa. 

Renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind turbines and powerlines, injures and kills birds, but can also result in the loss and degradation of natural habitats. Birds of prey are particulaly susceptible, and in South Africa a quarter of these are already threatened with extinction.  As apex predators, the knock-on effect to biodiversity and ecosystems is much larger than simply losing a few birds or bird species.

Birds of prey are indicator species, or “ecological barometers”, extremely sensitive to environmental changes in an ecosystem, so monitoring changes to their populations give us insight into environmental threats such as climate change, habitat loss and wildlife trade and chemical and pollutant levels, or other airborne threats. 

Select your preferred cause to view the donation information

Funds assist injured or orphaned rhino, or pangolin rescued from illegal wildlife trade

Pangolin with Johannesburg Wildlife Vets

Donate to rescued pangolin

Investec Rhino Lifeline supports Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital's first dedicated pangolin ward.

To support their pangolin rescue and rehabilitation:

EFT:  Johannesburg Wildlife NPC, First National Bank, Acc 62658 400 264, Sort code 255355, Ref INVESTEC PANGOLIN

Joburg Wildlife Vet logo

Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

Donate to Care for Wild Rhino

EFT option
: Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary, Standard Bank, Acc 131 989 847, Sort code 05-10-01

Care for Wild logo

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)

Donate to rescued rhino at HESC

EFT option
: Wildlife Conservation Trust, Investec, Acc 50011491897, Sort code 58-01-05

HESC logo

Investec Rewards (clients)

Donate using your Investec Rewards points

Our South African Investec clients may donate Rewards points.

The link will take you to your Investec online login page. After logging in, you may select Rewards, Charities, and then Investec Rhino Lifeline. Points are converted to cash and donated to our rescue partners for rhino in their care. Thank you for supporting us.

Investec Rhino Lifeline logo

Browse ten years of highlights

Feb 2021: First dedicated pangolin ward in Africa

JWVH opens hospital ward dedicated to pangolin rescued from the illegal wildlife trade

While illegal wildlife trade is a global crisis, South Africa has become a global hotspot for poaching and trafficking syndicates due to the country's biodiversity and abundant wildlife. Pangolins are currently the world's most trafficked non-human mammal. 

On World Pangolin Day, 20 February 2021, Investec announced our new partnership with the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (JWVH) to create and support the first dedicated pangolin veterinary ward in Africa. Since then, JWVH has rescued 42 pangolins, successfully releasing 19 back into the wild. Together with the African Pangolin Working Group (AWPG), the JWVH oversees the release and post-release monitoring of all pangolin discharged from the hospital.

JWVH is currently the only facility mandated by the South African government to treat and rehabilitate pangolins confiscated in South Africa by the SAPS and conservation law enforcement officers on a long-term basis. 


Sept 2020: Conservation in a time of crisis

Unless conservation rethinks its funding model, it could be under threat

Inclusive growth that benefits people and animals is the future.

In order to survive post-Covid-19, the conservation industry needs to urgently diversify its income away from tourism and donors towards a sustainable, diversified, and inclusive model. Co-founders of the largest rhino sanctuary in the world explain their successful business model that puts people at the centre. 

endangered rhino monitoring

Aug 2020: Further pandemics predicted from IWT

Further pandemics predicted if illegal wildlife trade continues

Calls grow for the eradication of illegal wildlife trafficking as scientists point to links to the Covid-19 global pandemic

Aug 2020: Rhino Lifeline's reponse to Covid-19

When the Covid-19 lockdown was announced, we responded straight away

Investec Rhino Lifeline donated R200,000 each to our rescue partners, Care for Wild and HESC, for food and healthcare support to their neighbouring communities.

We were also able to support GWF in producing educational videos in 7 languages for cellphone distribution and provide all our partners with masks to keep their staff safe.

Food parcels being prpared

July 2020: Protecting our wildlife economy

By protecting biodiversity, educating our youth and creating job opportunities, tourism will continue to drive the SA economy. 


Feb 2020: Combatting illegal wildlife trade

Combatting illegal wildlife trade: banks take up the challenge

Valued at around $23 billion, illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is the fourth most profitable criminal trafficking enterprise worldwide.

In a first-of-its-kind meeting in SA, the financial sector, government, and law enforcement met to discuss ways to combat the financial crime associated with IWT, hosted by Investec and United for Wildlife. 

pangolin skin and other illegal wildlife trade items

Sept 2019: Community Trail Run

Going the Extra Mile for communities

#RhinoLifeline had an amazing opportunity to sponsor a "community trail run with heart”. The Extra Mile took runners on a 10 km or 21 km run through the Bushbuckridge community bordering Sabi Sands and greater Kruger National Park. 

Not only did runners from the community participate, but Investec staff, as well as #RhinoLifeline partners, joined in the fun, raising awareness and R240,000 for critical water, education, and conservation projects for the community. 


Going the extra mile run

June 2019: Rhino Release

Back to the wild: two rhino orphans’ journey from poaching to freedom

In June 2019, #RhinoLifeline was privileged to witness the moment that two orphaned rhino, Gertjie and Matimba, stepped back into the wilderness. 

The two rhino, rescued by our partner HESC in 2014, were cared for and released five years later. 

Rhino release

April 2019: Hockey for rhino

A powerful partnership: St Mary's Waverley and Investec team up for rhino

In six years, St Mary's Waverley and #RhinoLifeline have donated more than R800,000 towards rhino conservation, with 2019 being the biggest effort yet, raising more than R360,000 for the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre!

Feb 2019: Nicholas Pinnock shouts out for rhino

International actor Nicholas Pinnock, gets up close to rhino crisis

International actor Nicholas Pinnock, who features in Investec’s brand campaign, visited our partners and the communities dedicated to saving the rhino. 

"We need international voices to reach new audiences and expose the depth of this humanitarian issue." ~ Tanya dos Santos, Investec Rhino Lifeline.

Feb 2019: Rhinos need our help

Nicholas Pinnock says rhinos are our responsibility

"It's really easy for us to sit at home watching tv and see adverts for conservation and say, 'Oh, we should do something.'  This is everybody's responsibility. There is so much more we need to do and that we can do." ~ Nicholas Pinnock.

Sept 2019: Christa Cullen MBE, talks rhino and economics

Former GB hockey star Christa Cullen MBE teams up with #RhinoLifeline to discuss the wildlife economy

On world rhino day, our London office hosted Investec’s global head of sustainability, Tanya dos Santos, with Petronel Nieuwoudt, founder and director of #RhinoLifeline partner Care for Wild (pictured, at left) and passionate conservationist and former GB hockey star, Christa Cullen (pictured, at right) to discuss the rhino crisis and how the wildlife economy can help alleviate it. 

Christa Cullen

June 2017: "Rhino horn has no magical function" - Chinese celebrity

Famous Chinese collector and celebrity, Mr Ma Weidu, tells millions not to consume rhino horn

In an exciting and successful demand reduction campaign, we partnered with WildAid, HESC, and Cathay Pacific to bring eminent Chinese antique collector and influencer to South Africa to experience the wonder of the South African bush, see a rhino in the wild and learn more about the crisis. With his own online talk show and private museums, Mr Ma Weidu has a following of 63 million online viewers. With Mr Ma’s influence and extensive following, and the combined reach of WildAid and Investec, we reached millions of people with the message: “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” 

"It's going to take a long time to change centuries of deeply held beliefs and entrenched Chinese culture. But we are committed to telling people in China that rhino horn does not have any magical functions." Mr Ma Weidu, WildAid ambassador.

Sept 2017: Investec employee's passion for rhino

Investec employee, Lessing Msimanga, travels from the streets of London to Care for Wild

Investec’s Lessing Msimanga embarked on a journey from the London Marathon to Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary to raise R30,000 for rhino, an animal he had never seen. The passion and dedication of our staff continue to drive and inspire Investec Rhino Lifeline. 

"It was my first time to see a rhino. I cannot even describe the feeling. Coming to Care for Wild is an honour, a gift out of this world. I understand my cause now." ~ Lessing Msimanga. Investec.

Jan 2016: Broad and Finn bat for a new cause

Top England cricketers and one-time Investec cricket ambassadors lend voices to the cause

Stuart Broad and Steven Finn took time out of their busy schedules to learn more about the rhino crisis and lend their voices to the cause. 

“When you see the facts and numbers, you realise a lot needs to be done, quite quickly, if we’re going to keep these amazing animals on our earth.”  ~ Stuart Broad, England cricketer and Investec ambassador in 2016.

June 2015: Vietnamese youth say "NO!" to rhino horn

Vietnamese youth visit SA to learn about rhino and take a strong message back to their home country

With #RhinoLifeline ambassador Dr William Fowlds, we partnered with Wilderness Foundation and Peaceparks in a demand reduction campaign with Vietnamese popstar Than Bui, raising awareness in Vietnamese schools and through a week-long bush experience for 22 Vietnamese teenagers, who were exposed to nature, conservation and all elements of rhino poaching. The youth returned to their home country, creating their own awareness campaigns to convince their fellow countrymen of the horrors of rhino poaching and the futility of rhino horn use.

"Education is the key. When the kids speak, the adults will listen." ~ Than Bui, Vietnamese pop star and rhino ambassador.

Sept 2012: Investec launches Rhino Lifeline

Investec launches #RhinoLifeline with renowned wildlife vet Dr William Fowlds

In 2012 we established Investec Rhino Lifeline, aiming to raise awareness of the rhino crisis, in collaboration with #RhinoLifeline ambassador Dr William Fowlds (pictured), a passionate wildlife vet. This successful 3-year partnership told the story of Dr Fowlds and an incredible rhino, Thandi, who survived a rhino poaching ordeal against all odds and went on to become a mother. Across the world, from SA to the US, UK, China, and Australia, children and adults alike were inspired to take action to save this incredible prehistoric species. We are deeply grateful to Dr Fowlds and our Investec executive for their vision and faith in starting us on this journey. 

"Investec Rhino Lifeline is embedded in Investec's DNA. We need to do whatever we can, in our way, to make a difference. We owe it to these animals to protect them. It's a fight we can't give up." ~ Andy Leith, CEO IEP and #RhinoLifeline founder.

Dr William Fowlds

Learn more about our work with rhino