22 Sep 2020
Conservation in a time of crisis
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.
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Conservation-powerhouse-couple Petronel Nieuwoudt and Chris de Bruno Austin share how their NGO survived during the Covid-19 lockdown, and what they think the future of conservation will look like in the long term.
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We are more driven to make sure that we're not reliant on one income stream and that our business model is inclusive and sustainable.
Investec Rhino Lifeline has partnered with Care for Wild for four years and supports their efforts to save orphans.
Care for Wild has diversified it's income streams beyond donor funding and "volunteer tourism" into commercial farming, specifically vegetables and nuts.
"We want to generate 80% of our income through selling crops. We look at our communities as really good and viable partners. It's not them on the outside of the fence and the rhinos and us on the inside," explains Care for Wild co-founder Chris de Bruno Austin.
He goes on to say that 50% of the profits made from the farming venture goes to running Care for Wild and the other 50% goes back to the community.
We've seen a huge spike in rhino orphans coming in after we went to lockdown level-3.
About the author
Caroline Edey-van Wyk
Colloquially known as Investec’s “storyteller,” Caroline curates and produces all the content that underpins Investec's Out of the Ordinary brand promise. She works across the business but specialises in the areas of Sustainability, CSI, Sponsorships and HR. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Political Science and Broadcasting - cum laude. Before she joined Investec she was a broadcast journalist at Sky News and eNCA.