Princess Charlene ‘rediscovers her love for Africa’ while saving SA’s rhinos

28 May 2021 - 13:45
By Toni Jaye Singer
Princess Charlene of Monaco comforts a rhino that has been dehorned to protect it from poachers.
Image: Christian Sperka/Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation Princess Charlene of Monaco comforts a rhino that has been dehorned to protect it from poachers.

Princess Charlene of Monaco has given her “sincere thanks” to SA’s anti-poaching units for “keeping our wildlife and rhinos safe”. 

The former SA Olympic swimmer, who married Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011, shared a snap of herself with members of one of the units on Instagram, saying it was an “absolute pleasure” to support their efforts during her visit to Mzansi. 

Although the royal had originally returned home to engage with initiatives of the local arm of her charitable Princess of Monaco Foundation, she was reminded of the plight of Africa’s rhinos while visiting Thanda Safari, a luxury game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.

While there, Her Serene Highness was given the opportunity to take part in wildlife conservation efforts, including those aimed at protecting the animals, which are being pushed to the brink of extinction by poachers.

“[The] entire experience moved me,” said Princess Charlene.

“I connected with amazing people and spoke to the local trackers and anti-poaching units who all have an incredible passion for protecting our rhinos and environment.

“It filled me with immense joy to reconnect with the African people and spirit again. How fitting to rediscover my love for Africa at a place aptly named Thanda, meaning ‘love’ in the Zulu language.”

The princess joined rangers on a mission to dart and dehorn rhinos, a measure which she explained needs to be done “as safely and as gently as possible” to safeguard their future.

"The experience was very emotional. I experienced first-hand the anguish and distress of the rhinos when we have to dehorn them so poachers don’t slaughter them,” she said.

“I want to do all that I can to protect the rhinos, including raising funds to protect them and educating my children and others about rhino conservation.” 

With this goal in mind, the Princess of Monaco Foundation SA has partnered with the Thanda Foundation Trust to support their anti-poaching initiative, Project Rhino.