The Boucher Legacy

Three rhinos are poached every day in South Africa. These exquisite creatures are heading towards extinction, and if we’re going to save them, we have to act now. In 2017, 1 028 rhinos were killed for their horns. In 2018, we lost 769 of these beautiful and gentle giants to the horror of poaching. As humans and citizens of the world, we have the power to protect our rhinos. For the sake of our planet, our children and the survival of the rhino species, it’s critical that we act now.

3 key pillars of the Boucher Legacy 

Headed up by former South African cricketer Mark Boucher, The Boucher Legacy was founded in 2012 when Mark retired from international cricket and turned his passion and commitment to wildlife conservation.

The Boucher Legacy comprises of three key pillars:

PROSECUTION

The Boucher Legacy is aiming to get every living rhino onto a DNA database housed at the University of Pretoria’s Onderstepoort campus. We are doing this through the use of the Rhino DNA Indexing System (RhODIS), which was developed by Dr Cindy Harper at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science. A full database of all our rhinos’ DNA will enable law enforcement to link the poaching of a particular rhino carcass to a perpetrator, which greatly increases the likelihood of poachers being convicted and brought to book.

Thanks to samples collected thus far, convicted rhino poachers are currently serving a total of 300 years behind bars.

The DNA of over 50% of all living rhinos has been loaded onto the DNA database thus far. However, over 10 000 samples still need to be collected. It costs approximately $1090.00 to collect a DNA sample from a single rhino. This cost includes helicopters, vets and specialised skills and equipment needed to collect DNA samples.

Dr Cindy Harper, who heads the Rhino DNA Indexing System (RhODIS) at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science says;

“The RhODIS project has logged and banked over 55 000 rhinoceros animal and horn samples since 2010 and has provided over 1500 forensic reports for rhino related cases with hundreds of links between poachers and crime scenes and has identified the origin of multiple seized horns. The success of this project has been thanks to the support of many amazing and visionary people, but would simply not have been possible without the donation of the Genetic Analyzer by The Boucher Legacy. The evidence produced by it has supported the conviction of countless rhino criminals providing a small consolation for the animals that died by their hands and some measure of relief for those still fighting for survival and for this, the RhODIS project and the rhinos will always be deeply grateful.”

CONSERVATION

Along with its DNA database efforts, The Boucher Legacy is partnering with Dr Sam Ferreira and the South African National Parks’ Veterinary Services to track rhino in certain focus areas. This will help us understand the movement of rhino in areas where poaching is most prevalent.

Furthermore, this research is enabling us to unearth valuable information and statistics that will be used to further our rhino conservation and protection activities well into the future.

EDUCATION

Education is key if we have any hope of saving our precious rhino. In many cultures, it is believed that rhino horn is a cure for a vast array of ailments – everything from cancer to hangovers.

This is not true. Rhino horn has absolutely no scientifically-proven medical benefits.

Tragically, these myths have created a global demand for rhino horn, turning it into a commodity and status symbol. Poachers will go to almost any lengths to hack the horns off our rhinos here in Africa, and sell them for a huge profit overseas.

Only by educating people about the myths surrounding rhino horn can we hope to reduce the demand. It is only in a handful of countries that this dangerous myth is being perpetuated, and by working towards expelling the myth, we can eventually eliminate the demand. While global education has a significant cost implication, the rewards are immense.

The Boucher Legacy has achieved high levels of support through media exposure, which has rallied the public as well as sports teams such as The Proteas, South Africa’s national cricket team – which has even dedicated test match days to The Boucher Legacy programme.

But we can’t do it without YOU

All of our initiatives, from obtaining and listing each rhino’s unique DNA to educating people to dispel the terrible myths surrounding rhino horn, come at great levels of investment. The Boucher Legacy has big dreams and even bigger goals, but we cannot complete our work without you, our supporters who want to preserve this precious species as much as we do.

With your help, we can make a massive difference. Making a donation is simple, and will help us to make our impact felt. Support the Boucher Legacy, and be sure to share this cause with others who share our passion. During 2019 and 2020, we aim to raise R10 million through The Boucher Legacy. This money will be used to focus on our core pillars of rhino conservation and help us continue our journey to save the rhino, pangolin and other dwindling species from extinction at the hands of humans.

THE LEGACY TEAM

Working together to support conservation

Mark Boucher

Co-Founder

Mark Boucher

Co-Founder

Ex-Proteas cricket legend, now conservationist – Mark Boucher is one of the most dedicated people one could ever wish for to have supporting wildlife conservation. To top it off, he’s a really nice bloke!

Alastair Hewitt

Co-Founder

Alastair Hewitt

Co-Founder

Ally is the founding member of the Boucher Legacy program and is currently working with Mark supporting SANParks and Onderstepoort on the Rhodes DNA profiling program for Rhino. Beer, Sport & Conservation are what drive him.

Donne Commins

Activist

Donne Commins

Activist

A mother of three incredible boys. Lawyer. Fighting crime and rhino poaching. Everything is possible.