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SAFARI PARK KEEPER RUNS THE EXTRA MILE FOR RHINOS

Home / News & Opportunities / Member News

Date: 16/05/2018

A brave member of staff from West Midland Safari Park is going above and beyond to fundraise for the conservation of threatened rhinos.

Ungulates Keeper, Matt Lloyd, is participating in the Virgin Money London Marathon this Sunday, with all funds raised going to Save the Rhino International (SRI). 

 

To make this incredible challenge even more difficult, Matt will be running the length of the course dressed in an extremely heavy rhino costume. The 26-mile-long event is renowned for its charity presence and raising awareness for various good causes, which Matt hopes to do with the addition of his rhino-inspired outfit.

 

The Safari Park has two different species of rhino - Indian and southern white - the latter of which Matt works closely with on a daily basis and has done for the past 12 months.

 

Matt said, “Having worked with different rhino species throughout my three-year zoo career, I’ve really come to know and love these magnificent creatures. At the Safari Park, I currently work with southern white rhinos and love every minute of it. Luckily, being a keeper helps to keep me physically fit, which will be a huge advantage for the marathon."

 

He continued, “Training has been tough over the past ten weeks, but I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead of me on Sunday. I was thrilled to hear the news that I’d been given the opportunity to raise money for an organisation as great as SRI. I’ve developed a great passion for rhinos and understand the threats that all five species face. I was particularly excited to learn that I’d be wearing one of their rhino costume suits. I won’t be able to run the entire way as the suit weighs eight kilograms - I’ll definitely try though!”

 

Matt has already raised over £800 and has set up a JustGiving page to help him achieve his £2000 goal. To make a donation, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/running-for-rhino.

 

There are a crash of seven southern white rhinos at the Safari Park, including the newest addition of baby Fahari, who was born in September 2017 and her half-brother Ekozu, who celebrated his second birthday last month. 

 

Southern white rhinos are part of the Park’s successful European Endangered Species Programme, that aims to safeguard the future of a species vulnerable to the continued threat of poaching and habitat loss. At the last count, just over 20,000 wild southern white rhinos remained in South Africa, with 1,028 killed in 2017.

 

All the funds raised from Matt’s marathon run will go directly to SRI, which will support the Save

the Rhino Trust for projects in both Africa and Asia. To find out more, visit www.savetherhino.org.

 

The rhinos can be seen in the four-mile Safari Drive-through, which is included in the standard admission charge of £24.00 for adults, £19.00 for children aged 3-15 and £22.00 for concessions. Children under the age of three years are admitted free of charge. Admission includes a Free Return Ticket. Adventure Theme Park rides are charged extra.

 

Further information and tickets are available from the Park’s website www.wmsp.co.uk or by telephone 01299 402114. You can find out more on the Safari Park’s official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestMidSafari