This Heritage Month Wingu Academy, an online curriculum provider for schooling from home, will take a walk on the wild side, raising funds by means of an online auction event to raise funds in aid of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Conservation Canine Project. 

This initiative by EWT provides trained detection and tracking canines to the conservation sector to support well-structured security plans. This benefits not only rhinos but also other species that are targeted by poachers, including elephants, pangolins and lions. The overarching outcome of this project is to ensure that Conservation Canines are strategically placed across South Africa’s private, provincial and national parks and are contributing to the protection of our wildlife.

Funds will be raised by auctioning off art pieces created by Wingu Academy students, which best symbolises and illustrates their take on their “heritage”. All students may enter and compete to create their masterpieces from recycled material. A panel of judges will then determine which artworks will be auctioned off during an online event on Thursday, 7 October 2021. All proceeds will be donated to the EWT, who is currently in need of a dog transport trailer. The estimated cost of the trailer is around R45,000.

“Our main priorities for 2021 and 2022 are to continue supporting our dogs deployed in reserves where poaching is a major problem, to increase our detection dog presence at international airports through which wildlife is smuggled, and to broaden our ability to detect crimes against other species. To achieve this, we need to look after our most important assets – our dogs and handlers – and this requires transporting dogs around to our field sites. We are grateful to have a suitable vehicle to transport the dogs in, with a mobile kennel mounted on the back. There are, however, numerous times when we need to transport four dogs at a time but only have the capacity for two. The best option to increase our capacity is to obtain a trailer specifically adapted to transport dogs, and this is what we would like to request sponsorship for,” says Dr Andrew Taylor, who manages the EWT’s Wildlife in Trade Programme.

Ian Strydom, Managing Director of Wingu Academy, notes: “We are delighted to partner with the EWT in this venture.  Not only will we be able to contribute towards a worthy cause, but it also affords our students the opportunity to put our proud heritage on display through the expression of art constructed from recycled material. A beautiful synergy between creativity and innovation to educate our youth about the importance of conservation.”

The live auction will be hosted by Wingu Academy on Zoom, and bidders will have the opportunity to bid in real-time. So invite your friends and family to join in the fun on 7 October 2021 at 18:00 on: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88674977059.

If you can’t make the event but would like to support the cause, you can donate here: https://www.ewt.org.za/campaigns/ewt-donations/