Youth 4 African Wildlife is a registered Non-Profit Organisation consisting of a group of passionate young conservationists led by businessman Dex Kotze in the wilds of South Africa.
Dex is a leader in the field of species protection and environmental conservation in South Africa, and highly involved in the promotion of natural African habitats through pro-bono photo journalism and bush safaris. Although the program is relatively young, it has made great inbounds since its foundation in 2013 when it collaborated with StopRhinoPoaching.com. and raised R500 000.00 for their anti-poaching efforts in 2013/14.
The two organisations became associated when Dex secured funding from one of the businesses he has a shareholding in and proceeds from sales were donated to StopRhinoPoaching.com. These funds have been instrumental in the sourcing of tracking dogs, transport, telecommunications, and arms for the fight against illegal hunting and the poachers who perpetrate this crime against one of the planet’s oldest and rarest species. In 2014 a total of R500 000 of funds were handed over to fund rhino conservation.
Since then, StopRhinoPoaching.com has won an award for being the best Non-Governmental Organisation concerned with rhino conservation, and the Youth 4 African Wildlife program has branched out to include other special and endangered African species.
We also raise awareness through community outreach aimed at young adults within the greater Kruger National Park area. Most funds raised by Y4AW go to various NGOs dedicated to species protection. Although relatively young the organization has made great progress in raising awareness and promoting species protection.
We are also one of the founding members of the Now or Never African Wildlife Trust (NNAWT). The other members are The Rhino Orphanage, Care For Wild Africa, Saving the Survivors, a representative from Google, and the Tsavo Trust. This NEW wildlife organisation aims to save EVERY SINGLE surviving rhino or elephant victim of poaching.
- First group of international young adults successfully completed our conservation internship.
- A total of R500 000.00 was raised and handed over to fund rhino conservation in support of the award winning NGO StopRhinoPoaching.com. These funds were used for the sourcing of two sniffer dogs, transport, telecommunications, aviation communications equipment and pilot training. One sniffer dog went to SanParks in Cape Town, while the other was donated to Phinda Game Reserve.
- Second group of international young adults successfully completed our conservation internship.
- Contributed funds for the darting and tagging of rhinos in the greater Kruger National Park area.
- We assisted with funds for the successful translocation of 10 white rhinos from South Africa to Botswana. This was done in association with Exxaro and Game Rangers Association of South Africa. After this translocation, three baby rhinos were born and are now roaming freely with their mothers in a secure reserve.
- Hosted the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions in Johannesburg, one of 138 global cities who participated and had a media outreach in excess of 400 million people. Our Founder was one of the lead strategists for the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos from 2014 to 2016.
- 15 International young adults successfully completed our third conservation internship.
- Donated cleaning equipment to The Rhino Orphanage.
- Donated bonuses to all members of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit.
- Contributed funds to Elephants Alive for darting and fitting 3 elephants with radio collars to allow the NGO Elephants Alive to mintor these elephants for 3 years.
- Contributed funds and helped secure a bursary towards postgraduate Environmental Science studies for our project leader.
- Hosted the 2nd international Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions in Johannesburg. In 2015 over 140 global cities participated in raising global awareness for the plight of endangered wildlife.
- Observer participation in CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg.
- Jointly founded the Now or Never African Wildlife Trust which is dedicated to saving rhino calves that are orphaned by the poaching crisis.
- Hosted the 3rd international Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions in Johannesburg. In 2016 there were 142 global cities that participated in raising global awareness for the plight of endangered wildlife.
- As a member of The Young Presidents’ Organization, our Founder Dex Kotze lead a group of YPO members and family in July to participate and fund in the collaring of 8 elephants and geotagging of 5 rhinos for scientific research via Elephants Alive, an NGO that works under the leadership of Dr Michelle Henley in the Associated Private Nature Reserves west of the greater Kruger National Park. The inspiring “Tracking the Silent African Giants” was an inaugural event on the YPO events calendar that will support much needed scientific conservation efforts in Africa every year in different locations.
- The 2019 Youth 4 African Wildlife internship brought 7 interns from 4 different countries to join us in the South African bush for our annual conservation internship. The focus for the 2019 program delved deeper into active conservation in highlighting the importance of community upliftment and opportunity in addition to the larger scope of the realities of the rhino poaching crisis. The month-long internship began in the Waterberg region and concluded in the Makuleke Concession in Northern Kruger National Park. Our interns enjoyed an educational and volunteer day at The Rhino Orphanage, cleaning a very dusty and messy former buffalo enclosure for Mandela Day, and then ohhing and ahhing at the absolutely adorable rhino calf orphans. It was important to some of our interns to contribute to a local school, and so we collectively donated a year’s worth supply of sanitary napkins to all high school girls at a community school. The female interns presented the napkins to smaller groups of school girls and chatted with them about women’s issues, while our male intern spoke with the school boys about the importance of education. Near the end of the internship, the interns got the opportunity to participate in and fund 2 rhino dehornings in the Balule Nature Reserve. It was a challenging day for all of the interns, and they really grasped the reality and severity of the rhino poaching crisis.
Youth 4 African Wildlife conservation internship takes place over a 4-week period in the African bush. The aim of the wildlife conservation internship is to:
- Raise global awareness of the dire situation facing Africa’s endangered wildlife
- Enhance leadership skills
- Enhance team building skills
- Create life-long conservation ambassadors
- Use social media platforms to raise awareness, using photographic equipment in the process
- Create short documentary films with supplied filmmaking equipment
The internship will take place in a designated wildlife conservancy over a 4-week period under the guidance of experiences wildlife field rangers
- Induction to social media marketing and photographic skills for 2-3 days
- One to two game drives per day (2 –3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the late afternoon/early evening)
- Daily journaling of activities with weekly articles for submission to the Y4AW blog. Assignment of daily tasks based on proficiency in social media, copywriting, blogging, photographic and video content
- Interns use supplied broadcast film equipment to create a series of short documentary films on conservation during the internship
- Filming/ photography /research on a daily basis (note: not all participants will be required to use film camera, all depends on experience and proficiency)
- Existing social media platforms from previous Y4AW conservation internship will be used to further raise global awareness around wildlife/rhino conservation (see links below).
- Part of the program is to raise funds for endangered wildlife conservation
- Your own DSLR cameras, laptops are to be used daily, capturing moments of wildlife on daily game drives
- Interns will be trained in the field of rhino, elephant, lion and other wildlife conservation
- Team building is a VITAL component of the internship
- Exclusive visits to the first rhino orphanage in Southern Africa http://therhinoorphanage.co.za/, where you will be required to assist with the orphans on some days.
- The internship will be closed off with final editing of documentary film signed off
- Accommodation at your safari camp, including 3 meals a day, coffees, teas, water.
- Two game drives per day
- Experienced field rangers leading your bush experience
- Return travel from Johannesburg to your safari camp.
- Wi-Fi for data downloads
- Broadcast film camera, GoPro cameras, tripod
- 3 day filmmaking crash course by an professional filmmaker
- Y4AW khaki shirt and jacket
- Blankets, ponchos on open game drive vehicles
- Travel to and from Johannesburg
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- You have to bring your own laptops, DSLR camera, external hard drives
- Equipment such as torches, clothing, toiletries
- Overnight accommodation in Johannesburg
As a means of raising conservation awareness we have also produced the following short documentaries since 2013: