By: Victoria (Tori) Gray
At the end of last week us 4 interns were joking around with Harriot about wanting to get another pet…on top of the pet python we already take care of in our room! She told us these obviously cannot be kept as pets, but we could try and save some impala from being culled that she had heard of. She reckoned each were around 100 pounds to be saved and could then be brought to our conservancy. We were immediately interested and wanted to find out more details. When we reached out to the “impala guy”, of the 20 that were originally available, there were now 7 left and were going to be culled at the end of the next week if we didn’t buy them. He said he would give us a deal on the 7 impala: all for 8,400 rand (or around 500 pounds). We happily took on this fundraising challenge to save the impala!
After setting up a Go Fund Me page, we needed to start brainstorming some challenges to make people’s donations worth their while. Our first challenge was more physical: a race down the driveway carrying 30-kilogram sandbags. The second challenge, also physical but at the same time advantageous to our work here: a 2 hour-long plastic picking competition. Part of our work on the conservancy is to clear plastic from a previous non-environmentally-friendly pineapple farmer who decided to dump TONS of plastic on the conservancy in a landfill amongst living plants and animals. By collecting this trash off the ground, we are helping to save this ecosystem. The third and final challenge is unique but entertaining nonetheless: eating 5 edible plants (finishing and swallowing each and every bite).
When we first opened the Go Fund Me page for donations, we were hesitant that we wouldn’t make the money in time to save the impala in a week’s time. We shared it on multiple social media platforms, e-mailed to friends and family, and really tried to get the word out as much as we could! After 2 hours of fundraising, we had reached our goal. We were absolutely beside ourselves- we couldn’t believe that we were able to raise enough money to save the impala in only a couple of hours! A big “Thank You” to those who donated- we are so very grateful for each and every donation made towards saving these impala. Soon Ukuwela Conservancy will have 7 new male impala introduced. I can imagine they will be quite happy amongst fellow impala and other antelopes!