Medivet Saving the Rhino’s Client Donation Portal Smashes £400,000 Milestone

Animal Health

Medivet has thanked its clients for their overwhelming generosity in support of the Wilderness Foundation Africa's* Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative. Donations made by clients using the Pennies** portal installed in Medivet’s practices not only reached, but exceeded the £400,000 mark, standing at £414,000 by the end of January. This brings the total amount raised by Medivet Saving the Rhino to more than £550,000 since the project’s inception in 2015. The additional monies have been raised through staff and supplier donations and a variety of staff fund-raising initiatives.

The funds have played a key role in helping to protect the rhino, which is being driven close to extinction by poachers in response to rocketing demand for rhino horn in some Asian countries. Last month, five alleged rhino poachers were arrested and charged shortly after a rhino was discovered dead, with its horns hacked off, in an Eastern Cape, South Africa game reserve. Medivet-funded resources and equipment were immediately deployed to the crime scene to help secure vital evidence that now becomes critical to the investigation and judicial process.

“Medivet Saving the Rhino’s Client Donation Portal Smashes £400,000 Milestone“

The funds have also enabled Wilderness Foundation Africa to deploy two cold scent tracker dogs to work with anti-poaching units in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The dogs, Ella (a Bloodhound-Doberman crossbreed, and Ziggy, a Bloodhound), are deployed to poaching scenes and can follow poachers’ tracks and find evidence which can later be used in court to support prosecutions.

Medivet launched its Saving the Rhino campaign in 2015 in partnership with Wilderness Foundation Africa, which is part of a global alliance of charities that aims to protect and connect wilderness, wildlife and people. In South Africa, the Medivet-supported efforts to reduce poaching are co-ordinated by Dr William Fowlds, a former Medivet employee. Medivet clients are offered the opportunity to add 50 pence to their veterinary bill to support the campaign using the Pennies** digital charity box.

Commenting on reaching the £400,000 milestone, Dr John Smithers, Senior Partner and Project Co-ordinator for Medivet Saving the Rhino, said: “The survival of this iconic species hangs by a thread and we were saddened to hear of the death of yet another rhino at the hands of poachers on the last day of 2018. I was in South Africa at the time and was called by Dr William Fowlds to assist him in the post-mortem examination of this once-magnificent black rhino bull. As you can imagine, it was a gruesome task. We take comfort from knowing that the police were able to apprehend the alleged culprits quickly, and that they are facing the full force of the law.

“As these arrests show, those fighting the war on poaching in Africa are making real progress and it is progress which our clients, through their generosity, are now partners in bringing about. We are grateful to them, and indeed to our staff and suppliers and to everyone else who has supported our campaign. We are looking forward to another year of working to protect this wonderful animal and to securing it a safe future, freed from the scourge of poaching.”

Medivet is a community of vets and nurses based in almost 300 practices across England and Wales, providing their clients with access to a great wealth of facilities and expertise, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Underpinned by its partnership ethos, it provides their clients’ pets with the best possible care, making sure they always receive friendly advice and support.

Note to editors:

*The Wilderness Foundation

The Wilderness Foundation Africa is part of a global alliance (Wilderness Foundation Global) of charities which aims to protect and connect wilderness, wildlife and people. Wilderness Foundation Africa works from its base in South Africa to protect and sustain wildlife and wilderness through integrated conservation and education programmes. Whether it is direct action anti-poaching in the field, large landscape wilderness management, or developing rising young leaders from disadvantaged communities for a career in conservation, the Wilderness Foundation has over 45 years of results. Wilderness Foundation also supports a number of awareness and demand reduction campaigns in South-East Asia.


Pennies is a UK-based fintech charity (registered no. 1122489) launched in November 2010. It is the digital upgrade of the traditional charity box, designed to fit with our increasingly cashless lifestyles. Anyone can give with participating Pennies retailers – by donating a few pence to charity when paying by card or mobile wallet.

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