Eight year old girl takes the fight to rhino poachers… with cookies and dogs

Alyssa Carter was just six-years-old when she decided that she needed to join the fight to save the Earth’s rhinos.

Little did she know that her decision to try and put a halt to rhino poaching would lead her on a two year journey in which she would end up raising almost R300,000 for the cause.

Alyssa told Netwerk24 that she was in Grade 1 when she first heard about the endangered animals’ plight, learning in school that rhinos were being killed for their horns.

“It hurt my heart and I wanted to do something to help them,” Alyssa said. “I drew a picture of a rhino and showed it to my mom and dad. I wanted us to make stickers and sell them to raise money, but then we decided to rather sell chocolate, cookies and sweets.”

With the help of her mother and father, Alyssa was then able to convince a sweets company to produce chocolates and cookies using pictures drawn by the young activist.

Alyssa first took to selling the rhino-shaped goodies at her school and church, but soon branched out into markets.

Using the money she had raised, Alyssa decided to invest in canine-based rhino protection after the SANParks Honorary Rangers invited her and her family to a breakfast with Louis Lemmer, head of the Honorary Rangers’ executive committee, who told the fundraisers how dogs can be used to catch poachers.

Last Saturday (May 23), the now eight-year-old Alyssa donated two Belgian shepherd dogs worth R100,000 each to the Marakele National Park in the northern regions of South Africa.

To date, Alyssa has raised almost R300,000 for rhino conservation projects. Her father said that she will continue to sell cookies until she has enough money to buy one more dog.

Images via Thomas Hawk (cc) / Brian Carter

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