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Birdies 4 Rhinos founders Dean Burmester and Justin Walters watch conservation measures in action

Birdies 4 Rhinos founders Dean Burmester and Justin Walters watch conservation measures in action

Dean Burmester and Justin Walters hope awareness will continue to grow around the plight of the rhinoceros after watching the measures being taken to protect the animal in South Africa.

The South African duo are behind the Birdies 4 Rhinos initiative, which looks to raise funds to help in the saving of the dying species from the hands of poachers.

The DP World Tour members witnessed in person the dehorning of rhinos by staff in the Kruger National Park in advance of this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship. 

“We have amazing people that are doing this on a daily basis and I have just experienced it just now for the first time,” said Walters.

“But they are doing it day in day out to try and protect the species. I think that is very encouraging.

“But it doesn’t stop the demand for the horns, the demand is still there and it makes you scared for the animals that do still have their horns.

“This can’t be the solution forever and it is just our last resort.”

Two-time DP World Tour winner Burmester was visibly emotional and said the conservation measures in place have reinforced his determination to play his part in helping to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy these amazing creatures.

“To see such a gracious animal have to go through this ordeal for something that we have done and it is defenceless against us as human beings and a human race is a sad, sad day for me,” he said.

“To be a human being I am going to wake up every morning knowing that I have experienced something like this and fight against the people who are doing this [poaching].”

Burmester and Walters

David Simelane, SANParks Chief Pilot, said: “The challenges we are facing now with the poaching situation in Kruger is not a Kruger problem.

“That needs to be drummed into people’s minds and hearts if they care about this country.

“The idea was to be able to cut off the horns and see what that does to be able to slow down the demand for the rhino horns, particularly here in the Kruger.

“It is the responsibility on every South African and on every person on this earth to play their part in preserving these majestic creatures.

Many leading professional golfers from the DP World Tour, including Major Champion Justin Rose and World Number 29 Ryan Fox have thrown their support to the Birdies 4 Rhinos cause, which was set up over six years ago.

“It’s great to have all the guys involved, a lot of the guys are playing well so we are very fortunate to have that and to see so many people supporting our cause is special,” Burmester added.

“Hopefully.. Birdies 4 Rhinos makes a difference in our awareness and if you can do your part please feel free.”

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