Through its Wildlife pillar, The TreadRight Foundation is invested in protecting and rehabilitating the world’s wildlife by partnering with leading wildlife organizations worldwide. Since 2017, TreadRight has partnered with Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA) to aid in rhino conservation efforts by funding the purchase and operation of a Bat Hawk – a light aircraft used to monitor and protect rhinos from poaching in provincial nature reserves and national parks in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

The Eastern Cape is home to the third-largest endangered black rhino population in the world, and evidence shows it is currently a high-risk target for poachers. Because rhinos prefer thick vegetation, aerial surveillance is necessary and plays a critical part in both wildlife security, and in tracking and improving the management of rhino populations. The regular surveillance and monitoring flights by the Bat Hawk in the known rhino poaching hotspots is contributing to the safekeeping of the population.

TreadRight’s support of Wilderness Foundation Africa works to advance the United Nations Global Goal 15, Life on Land, through its joint effort in combatting poaching and trafficking of rhinos that are vital to this ecosystem, as well as Global Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth through its employment of intelligence and police support for specialized wildlife crime units, contributing to a higher employment rate.

This year, 19 new black rhino calves have been discovered and protected within the rhino population. 11 of these rhino calves were first detected in the TreadRight-funded Bat Hawk. As a thank you, Wilderness Foundation Africa gave TreadRight and TTC the invaluable honour of naming three of these precious new rhino calves.

TreadRight enlisted the help of our valued TTC family in choosing the names of these three rhinos. One each was gifted to our sister brands Lion World Travel and African Travel, Inc. to involve their valued guests and trade partners, who submitted name ideas. From these, Ami Vitale chose the winning names. The male rhino calf, born to mother ‘Yima’ was named 'Kusasa,' meaning 'tomorrow', and the female baby rhino, born to mother ‘Queenie’ was named 'Imara,' meaning 'strength' in Swahili.

The third, calf of mother ‘Tailor,’ its sex still unknown, was gifted to the Tollman family, with their deep family roots in South Africa, who chose the name ‘Xigera.’ Xigera (pronounced ‘kee-jera’) to us and our TTC family means 'labour of love,' which is exactly what Xigera represents to us: a love letter to the magic of the African bush.