Birdies 4 Rhinos, a fundraising initiative supported by the professional golf community where participating players donate money for every birdie they make throughout the season, has formed a partnership with Rhino Whisky.
Birdies 4 Rhinos was initiated and founded by tour players Justin Walters and Dean Burmester, both of whom are passionate about the conservation of African wildlife. Residing in South Africa, they share a concern for the survival of the Rhino and want to help prevent the extinction of the indigenous species, where possible, to be enjoyed for generations to come.
This comes on the back of back-to-back tour victories for Burmester, who won the Joburg Open and the South African Open in December with a big haul of birdies, helping raise even more money Birdies for Rhinos in the process.
To date, there are 21 tour players signed up to the charity, including the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Edoardo Molinari, Richard Bland, Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman, to name a few.
Last season, participants of Birdies 4 Rhinos managed to raise over R500,000 (£21,500) and this year they hope to exceed it. Walters and Burmester have invited more players to join them in raising money for this great cause, which is currently donated to the Connected Conservation Foundation.
Burmester commented: “Justin and I wanted to give back and do our bit to save these great animals so that future generations – our children – will be able to enjoy these amazing creatures for years to come. By conserving animals for our children and future generations, we secure the natural heritage of our planet, promote sustainability, and provide a foundation for a thriving and resilient future for both humans and wildlife. Birdies 4 Rhinos is our commitment to protect and pass on a healthy and vibrant world to the generations to come.”
He continued: “The concept of donating winnings whilst achieving a great score of one under par, feels like a win-win, and what sportsman could say no to that?”
Walters added: “The conservation of Rhinos is crucial for maintaining biodiversity, sustaining healthy ecosystems, preserving cultural heritage, and ensuring the long-term survival of megafauna. It is an essential component of global conservation efforts and reflects our commitment to protect and coexist with the world’s diverse wildlife.”
Rhino Whisky is a premium single malt scotch, distilled and double cask matured in the Speyside region of Scotland, however the brand is owned and distributed by two South African entrepreneurs, Gerrit Wagener and Brin Kushner, who also share a passion for conservation. Supporting Birdies 4 Rhinos made complete sense and is a natural ‘fit’ with the brand ethos.
Co-founder Gerrit Wagener has an innate love of the Bushveld, its vast open plains and majestic animals was ingrained at an early age. After a corporate career in financial services, Rhino Whisky has given him the opportunity to connect with his early roots and give back to Africa. Business partner Brin Kushner started his career as a wildlife filmmaker in South Africa. He is a qualified Ranger/Nature guide, and still actively works in the film industry, but divides his time behind the camera escaping to the Bush to photograph wildlife and immerse himself in conservation projects.
When the Rhino whisky launched, its mission and vision from the offset was to support the Rhino Orphanage based in Limpopo, South Africa. Gerrit and Brin are devoted to raise funds by donating a generous portion of sales of each bottle of Rhino whisky to the Rhino orphanage which is dedicated to raising baby Rhino’s orphaned by poachers throughout Africa.
When investigating ways to amplify their own fundraising efforts, founders of Rhino Whisky – avid golf enthusiasts themselves – were thrilled to explore synergies with Birdies 4 Rhinos.
Doc Watson, Chairman of Connected Conservation Foundation, said: “We are profoundly grateful for the collaboration between Birdies 4 Rhinos and Rhino Whisky, uniting to generate crucial funds for the Connected Conservation Foundation. The urgent imperative to empower our dedicated rangers to safeguard the remaining rhino populations is at the forefront of our mission. Fundraising from Birdies 4 Rhinos and new partners, plays a pivotal role in delivering this ambition.”
In a joint statement, both organisations now invite the public and other professionals to join in on raising money for this initiative by donating directly to the Rhino Orphanage OR to Connected Conservation Foundation.
Together, their plea is simple: “Please help us save our rhinos, before it is too late.”