Old Mutual & Wildlands – making conservation happen
15 April 2016
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Brad Brown: You’re listening to Old Mutual Live, great things start here, great things start now, and it’s time to chat to another one of the great beneficiaries of these incredible races that we do and I say beneficiaries. They basically use races like the Old Mutual Two Oceans and the Comrades Marathon as a bit of a platform to let people know about what they do and the great work that they are involved with behind the scenes. It’s a wonderful pleasure to welcome onto the podcast today, Strategic Marketing Manager for Wildlands, Buyi Makhoba. Buyi welcome, nice to catch up once again. Are you well?
Buyi Makhoba: Thank you very much Brad, yes I’m very well thanks and excited and slowly recovering from the Two Oceans activation and moving onto the next.
BB: I was just about to say it’s out of the frying pan into the fire so to speak because the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon’s just wrapped up. It’s just a few weeks since that happened but we’re looking ahead straight away to the Comrades. Before we touch on Comrades you guys were pretty much on the same stand as us at the expo this year. You had some pretty cool things going on, particularly you got lots of love from the kiddies.
Getting kids involved in conservation at the Expo
BM: Oh yes, this year’s activation at Two Oceans Expo was really exciting and we were actually the only people who had an activation for children. To keep the kids entertained while their parents were shopping and getting about the expo. So ja we got a lot of love from the kids. I don’t know if you want me to maybe just go into a little bit of what we did with the kids at the expo?
BB: Please do because if somebody wasn’t at Two Oceans this year they wouldn’t know about it. It was really, really cool and I’ll try and dig a photo out. I think we’ve got a couple of them in the archives that we’ll use as the picture for the show notes for this episode. But talk to us a little bit about what the little ones were doing. I thought it was so clever.
BM: No what we did is we actually had a lifestyle tree where kids could colour in a leaf. Hang it on the tree to pledge to plant a tree at home, plant an indigenous tree at home or recycle. It was an educational activation where we talked to kids about recycling and the importance of planting indigenous trees and saving trees. The various endangered species that we protect as Wildlands.
So around the tree specifically, so they could just colour in a leaf and pledge and hang it on the tree and write their names on it. Then they could also colour in a picture of a rhino or a wild dog or a crane. Which is all part of the endangered species that we protect through the various conservation projects that we have running at Wildlands.
At the end of the expo the tree literally had over 300 leaves that the kids had coloured. Hung on the tree and pledged to plant a tree or recycle at home and our vision at Wildlands is a sustainable future for all. We believe that it was useful for the kids to know and hear about what we do. Get home and tell their parents what they did at the expo and pledge towards a sustainable future for all.
It was a very nice link as well with Old Mutual because it was pledging towards positive futures. So it was a well-rounded kind of activation which included the Old Mutual vision as well.
Rhino conservation will be Comrades focus
BB: I think it was fantastic. Let’s look ahead to Comrades. You’re going to be at the Comrades expo once again this year as well. Let’s talk about what you’ve got planned and some of the other things that you do as well at the expo. I know you do use it as well as a bit of a fundraising effort. We’ll touch on that but from an activation point of view, what’s Wildlands got up their sleeve for Comrades?
BM: Well for Comrades our huge focus is obviously to raise awareness and raise funds for our rhino conservation projects. So once again, we will definitely have something interesting for the kids. Definitely will include colouring of rhino pictures and then we will have a sale of t-shirts around rhino conservation with different images on it.
Then we’ll also include our Wild Series information on all the races that we have around the country on Wild Series. But the main focus will be rhino conservation because that’s one of the projects that is obviously the most expensive to maintain and to keep going. So we’ve got three projects that we raise funds for, specifically for this event.
The activation will be around giving people information around Project Rhino Tracker. Which is the projects where we fit GPS trackers, GPS collars onto the rhino. As well as investigations and prosecutions, which is another arm of the project where we enable the team to get in touch and able to prosecute the poachers. Then we also have Project Aerial Support which is together with the ZAP-Wing up in Northern KZN.
BB: Buyi let’s just touch on the fundraising side of it too because there is a lot of people doing some great work around rhino conservation. Wildlands are doing some amazing work and it’s all good and well we talk about it and talk about our natural heritage and how we need to look after it. But at the end of the day unfortunately, it does cost money to look after these precious resources. That’s one of the big things that you guys do at the expo.
So I want to urge people to come to the Old Mutual stand and check out the Wildlands Conservation Trust stand. You guys have always got some cool goodies and that for sale that you use for fundraising. I know at Two Oceans you had t-shirts and that sort of thing. Are you going to have similar stuff for sale? Can people make donations on the stand? How can they go about not just talking about it but actually putting their money where their mouth is?
BM: Absolutely. At the stand we will have, I mean we always have a donation box where people can pledge their support towards these conservation projects. I mean any cents, any amount will count so we do encourage people to come to the stand. Come talk to us, see the rhino that will be on display and then make a pledge. They can also get onto our website to make direct donations towards these various conservation projects.
Using events to create awareness and raise support
BB: Like you say there are various conservation projects, it’s not just rhinos. You do work in some other important areas too. I know you’ve got a very interesting project around wild dogs and what’s going on in that space. You mentioned the cranes as well and that ties in really nicely to some of your events as well, the Wild Series events.
People can find out about on the stand as well. Because those races and runs are, and I must say runs because there’s also mountain biking events as well, are phenomenal. If anybody’s got half an interest in trail running, those events you do not want to miss and in taking part in them you also support a great cause.
BM: Absolutely. Absolutely every single race, trail running, or mountain biking event, the race, the entry fee does go directly towards a conservation of a particular species. So for instance, we’ve got one coming up now called the K2C Challenge, where it will take place in Mpumalanga from the 17th to the 19th of June.
There it’s just for the conservation of that area in the Blyde River Canyon. So that is a two-day trail running event, one day of going through in the mountain and the other day is going through the game reserve. People actually get to run on the reserve where they get to spot four of the big five and all the funds raised there go towards the conservation of that space.
People are actually also encouraged to continue to donate to those kinds of projects via the More Than Yourself fundraising platform by Old Mutual. So if you’re able to get onto our website, www.wildseries.co.za you are actually able to go and see the event details.
Also click through to the link to sign up to become a More Than Yourself fundraiser. Set up your profile and contact your friends, family, colleagues to raise funds towards these events. What we’ve done is to also encourage people to raise funds for our projects through the Wild Series is that we’re offering an incentive.
Raise money and earn your place
If you raise a certain amount, for instance if you raise about R2 000 and above you’re able to get a complimentary entry into another one-day trail running event. If you go even higher than that and raise R5 000 and more you’re able to get into a two-day stage trail running event as well as mountain biking.
So there absolutely are many, many avenues for people to support our conservation projects and actually take part in these trail running events. Because they happen in protected game reserves where people could never run before. Through these events people are exposed to the beauty of our country and our heritage.
BB: Buyi I think that’s awesome. I didn’t know that about the complimentary entries and I think that is fabulous. So I’m really going to urge people to go and do that because it is a great way to support a great cause and do some brilliant runs and mountain bike races as well at the same time. Buyi unfortunately we’ve run out of time.
I can’t wait to see you at Comrades once again. You guys are doing some amazing work and we love catching up with you at these expos. I know you’ve got some big races coming up in the very near future as well, you’re training for some big things, so best of luck in your running, in your endeavours and we look forward to chatting soon.
BM: Thank you very much for having me Brad. It’s always a pleasure to chat to you and thanks for your passion for all our projects and all the work that we do. We hope people will come through to our stand at Comrades, get to see what we’ll have in store, what we’ll have for sale. It’s for our fundraising projects and then probably get them to take part in our Wild Series events.
BB: Can’t wait, until then we’ll chat soon, take care.
BM: Thank you very much Brad. Have a great day.