Conservation is defined as ‘the preservation and careful management of the environment and of natural resources’. The modern traveler has become more aware of the importance of considering their impact on the environment and we have seen a move towards vacations that allow the traveler to include a form of ‘giving back’ as part of their memorable experience. At Thompsons Africa we have embraced the needs of the modern traveler and have identified packages and programmes that address these very important needs.
Thompsons Africa actively supports organisations which focus on the conservation, protection and promotion of our rich heritage. We are proud to be part of a joint initiative by The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands called The TreadRight Foundation; a ‘not for profit’ working to ensure that the environment and communities we explore remain vibrant for future generations.
TreadRight is The Travel Corporation’s hub for all corporate social responsibility efforts, and manages a long-standing grants program that benefits sustainable tourism projects.
To date, TreadRight has committed more than USD 2million to projects worldwide, and encourages industry best practice through their support for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, The Travel Foundation & Tourism Cares.
As of the end of August 2015, it is estimated that well over 600 rhino have been poached in South Africa this year. It is not enough to simply be aware of the facts. Thompsons Africa are passionate about playing our part in actively aiding in the fight against rhino poaching. With this in mind, in addition to our support of the Wildlands Conservation Trust as a Wildlands Rhino Ambassador, today we are proud to introduce you to a new member of the Thompsons Africa family….. little Gertjie!
An orphaned rhino, Gertjie is cared for by our partners at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Gertjie is a male white rhinoceros (ceratotherium simum) born on the 19th of February 2014. On arrival at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, he weighed just 100kgs and at the beginning of 2015 weighed in at over 800kgs and continues to add weight daily! The funds donated by Thompsons Africa towards the fostering of Gertjie will go towards his food and general upkeep, maintaining his living arrangements, medical expenses and the cost of his security.
There are currently 4 rhinos at the Rescued Rhinos @ Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre facility. The 2 adult females are ‘Lion’s Den’ and ‘Dingle Dell’. The latest additions are two adorable male calves, Gertjie and Matimba, whose mothers were brutally killed and dehorned right in front of them.
A WILDLANDS RHINO AMBASSADOR
As a Wildlands Rhino Ambassador, we are not simply paying lip service to rhino conservation. One of the key roles of an ambassador is to share the story of rhino poaching, and elevate it in the consciousness of everybody, as our rhino populations are part of our natural heritage. Rhino poaching needs to be understood as a massive threat to us all, not simply those who are passionate about wildlife and the environment. If poaching isn’t halted, the rhino may simply become a memory or a photograph, a fantasy in our children’s books – and the question is, what next?
Through our commitment as a Wildlands Rhino Ambassador, Thompsons Africa actively contributes to the ‘Project Rhino KZN’ campaign! This is an association of conservation organizations supporting the development and co-ordination of rhino conservation interventions, aimed at eliminating rhino poaching and securing the rhino populations in KZN. Being one of the founding members of Project Rhino KZN, Wildlands is focusing its efforts on the development of effective surveillance systems, the initial emphasis being on GSM-based tracking and monitoring systems, and aerial support. These systems allow key rhino populations to be monitored remotely and allow for a far more rapid anti-poaching unit response, should a monitored rhino be poached. By making the decision to be a Rhino Ambassador, Thompsons Africa is supporting Wildlands in their rhino conservation efforts, and is contributing directly to rhino conservation.
We are also very pleased to be a supporter of Heartworks, a craft shop supporting projects and individual crafters from all over Africa. Inspired by their backgrounds, the crafters from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Congo ensure that each piece they make tells a story of where they come from. Works include handmade cushions, rhino’s, hippos, teddy bears, monkeys and slippers. Our gorgeous ‘Thomp’ ambassadors have been hand made by one of these very special crafters…. Thomp travels the globe with our Customer Success Managers on their numerous international travels. The purpose? To raise awareness and encourage support of this and many other rhino conservation efforts.
HOEDSPRUIT ENDANGERED SPECIES CENTRE (HESC)
Without compromising the hotel quality and experience, the Green Leaf Environmental Standard measures the effects of consumption on the environment while inspiring environmental and social change. The main objectives of hoteliers are:
Raise environmental awareness
Address design and construction in an environmentally and socially responsible manner
Reduce direct environmental operating consumption and costs
Provide a framework for best practice and continual improvement of environmental and social indicators
Improve corporate image amongst regulators, customers and the public
Enhance the marketing edge through independent on-site verification and audits
Provide a carbon neutral environmental legacy
The Green Leaf Environmental Standard recognises achievers who have met a minimum of 75% compliance through its Silver Status, and a Gold Status for those meeting 95% compliance. Those who acheive a Platinum Status meet 95% compliance with conservation and/or voluntary carbon off set excellence. Hoteliers are recognised in the Preferred by Thompsons Africa brochure by having the Green Leaf Certified Logo with silver, gold and/or platinum status next to their property.
OUR OFFICE - GREEN METHOD MISSION STATEMENT
To implement sustainable green methods, to reduce our usage of precious resources, to recycle and reuse whatever we can, to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations needs!’
Our aim is to reduce our carbon footprint by implementing processes intended to reduce our impact on our precious environment. We aim to do this by monitoring and reducing our paper consumption, ensuring that we recycle wherever possible and reduce our consumption of both electricity and water.
Every year the Thompsons Africa team do a collection of toys for Phakamisa. Phakamisa is a ministry of Pinetown Methodist Church and exists to serve and uplift impoverished communities through the provision of educational training, resourcing and support. The collected toys are taken to Phakamisa and handed to the kids at the centre. What a pleasure it is to see their happy faces! In addition, the team collected blankets, childrens clothing, and seedlings which we donated to Phakamisa for distribution, and the seedlings for use for their vegetable garden project.