NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – Cricketers from across the globe will join the Maasai Cricket Warriors and Nairobi’s Obuya Academy for a two-day tournament in one of Africa’s greatest wildlife conservation areas to raise awareness of the plight of the near extinct northern white rhinos.
Established in 2015, the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup will see 12 teams play a total of 22 short format matches over two days in June on a ground surrounded by wildlife and shadowed by the the snow-capped Mount Kenya to support the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and rhino protection campaigns globally.
“There has been a dramatic escalation in rhino poaching in recent years with over 6,000 rhinos killed since 2008 across Africa and shockingly there are only three northern white rhinos left on the planet,” says Tournament Director and founder of the Rhino Cup, Rob Stevenson.
“The Last Male Standing Rhino Cup is about drawing on the global love for the game of cricket to help combat poaching of the rhino and help raise much needed funds for Ol Pejeta’s work to pursue Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ART) to save the northern white rhino.”
The conservation event is also a showcase for the global reach of cricket and the wider benefits that sport can bring.
In addition to the Maasai and the two-time winners of the Last Male Standing Rhino Cup, the Obuya Academy (led by Kenyan cricket legend David Obuya), the tournament will see teams from Kenya, the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK), the Australian High Commission and a number of international teams made up of players from cricket clubs from England, South Africa, Australia compete, all supported by the Australian High Commission.
The CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Richard Vigne, said he welcomed seeing cricketers from all corners of the world take over an area usually frequented by wildlife for a weekend to shine a spotlight on the conservancy.
“The plight that currently faces the northern white rhinos is a signal to the impact that humankind is having on many thousands of other species across the planet,” Mr Vigne said.
“Ultimately, our aim is to reintroduce a viable population of northern white rhino back into the wild, which is where their true value will be realised, and the Rhino Cup is a great initiative to support this.”
The event organisers are hoping to raise more than $1million Kenyan Shillings from this year’s tournament to support Ol Pejeta and The East Africa Cricket & Education Foundation, which helps transforms the lives of thousands of disadvantaged young Africans through sport and education.
All money raised from the event including player entry fees and public donations will be shared between the two organisations. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/lmsrhinocup.