VANCOUVER, BC, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO, NYSE AMERICAN: BTG, NSX: B2G) (“B2Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the launch of its Namibian Rhino Gold Bar campaign in North America to help support the conservation and protection of the critically endangered black rhinos, and the community-based rhino rangers and trackers who protect the rhinos, in Namibia, Southern Africa. This announcement coincides with the International Ranger Federation’s (“IRF”) World Ranger Day, which takes place annually on July 31.
World Ranger Day was established on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF and has been observed globally since 2007. The day, which is promoted through the IRF’s Thin Green Line Foundation and sanctioned and supported by global members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, recognizes and celebrates rangers who are at the forefront of conservation efforts around the world by protecting natural and cultural resources. It also commemorates rangers that are injured or killed in the line of duty.
Due to poaching, driven by the illegal rhino horn trade, over 1,000 wild rhinos are killed for their horns in Africa each year. The northwest of Namibia is home to the last and largest population of free-roaming black rhinos in the world, but with fewer than 5,630 black rhinos left in the wild, the need for rhino conservation and protection has never been so critical. At the current rate, it is predicted that black rhinos will be extinct within a decade.
One of the key challenges for successful conservation and protection of the black rhinos is that they live in a rural area that covers 25,000 square kilometres with no national park status, few roads and little control as to who can access the area. The monitoring and safety of this population of black rhinos is attributed to the commitment of organizations – such as Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (“SRT”), Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (“IRDNC”) and Rhino Rangers – and local communities that continue to dedicate their lives to protecting the rhinos. In addition to the vast size and remoteness of the rhino range area, rhino rangers and trackers are faced with several other challenges in the field, including tackling dangerous terrain, dealing with a harsh climate and being continually threatened by poachers.
More recently, the biggest challenge to the success of black rhino conservation and protection is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations such as SRT and IRDNC, which provide critical field-based support to rhino rangers and trackers, have had their budgets slashed as international donors have had to pass along cuts to their own budgets due to the pandemic. The pandemic has also generated significant job losses in urban areas and created an influx of people migrating back to their extended families in rural areas, putting increased pressure on natural resources and ultimately…