There will be a book launch for rhino conservationist Grant Fowlds’ book, Saving the Last Rhinos, written with the help of journalist Graham Spence, at the Bob McKenzie Gallery in Wharf Street on Thursday November 5.
Fowlds grew up in the Eastern Cape, in the Sidbury area and was schooled at St Andrew’s College. He used to play rugby for Alexandria in the Port Alfred derby, on the old sports field which is now the Royal Alfred Marina. He also remembers scoring a 50 for Sidbury in the Pineapple Tournament on the same field, 35 years ago.
He was a founding member of Amakhala Game Reserve the late ’90s, and works for Project Rhino in KZN.
Meeting legendary explorer and eco-warrior Kingsley Holgate propelled Fowlds into a new direction, Rhino Art – a wing of Project Rhino. It introduces conservation and rhinos in an accessible format to children who live in communities bordering KZN game parks.
To date, this project has reached hundreds of thousands of school children, and the educational impact has been phenomenal. Fowlds said most of the children had never seen a rhino in the wild, so attached little value to saving them. Rhino Art is changing that. It has moved from a local to a global platform, most importantly into the countries where the fallacies around rhino horn thrive – and children worldwide are becoming rhino ambassadors.
“My latest vision is ‘rewilding’ certain parts of Africa that have been subject to marginal farming and land claims, into great rhino and elephant landscapes,” Fowlds said.
He said he was inspired to write the story of his work in rhino conservation after meeting Spence, who became his ghost writer, and agent Gary Wright “who gave me the courage to believe that my story was inspiring”.
He said since the book he had been getting calls from several countries around the world, with people saying his story is life-changing and they want to try emulate it.
“I am looking forward to meeting a few locals after several years absent from Port Alfred,” he said.
The book launch is at 6pm for 6.30pm.