|Uma Thurman attends the Forevermark and Explore Inc. dinner benefiting Rhino Rescue Botswana held at Le Bernardin Prive in New York, New York, Thursday, February 11. Photo by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com|
Forevermark, the De Beers diamond brand, and custom safari specialist Explore, Inc. joined together Thursday to support rhinoceros rescue efforts in Botswana. More than 100 guests attended a private dinner hosted by Chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin Privé to launch Botswana’s Tlhokomela Trust.
“Tlhokomela” means “to protect” in Setswana (the main language of Botswana), reflecting the trust’s mission to perpetuate and expand Botswana’s vast and pristine wilderness areas and protect critically endangered rhinos and other species. Balisi Bonyongo, managing director of Debswana, a mining operation jointly owned by De Beers and Botswana, is chairman of the Tlhokomela Trust.
|Gloria Steinem attends the Forevermark and Explore Inc. dinner benefiting Rhino Rescue Botswana held at Le Bernardin Prive in New York, New York, Thursday, February 11. Photo by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com|
Once widespread in Southern Africa, the white rhino is now listed as ‘near-threatened’ and black rhino ‘critically endangered’ according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. A rhino is killed every seven minutes in Southern Africa due to the skyrocketing value of rhino horn in Asia.
Special guests at the dinner included the Tshekedi Khama, minister of Botswana Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, activist Gloria Steinem, actress Uma Thurman, model Coco Rocho and husband James Conran.
|Coco Rocha attends the Forevermark and Explore Inc. dinner benefiting Rhino Rescue Botswana held at Le Bernardin Prive in New York, New York, Thursday, February 11. Photo by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com|
Cherri Briggs, safari specialist and conservation-activist of Explore, Inc., conceived the event after taking Eric Ripert and Uma Thurman to Botswana in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino.
Forevermark’s support of the Tlhokomela Trust is part of the ongoing commitment by De Beers since the 1970s to protect the diversity of the natural world in which it operates, said Stephen Lussier, CEO of Forevermark and executive VP of Marketing for De Beers. For every acre of land used for mining by De Beers, five acres are dedicated to the conservation of nature.
|From left: Cherri Briggs of Explore Inc., Chongu Newman, Gloria Steinem, David Newman, Botswana Ambassador to the U.S. Photo by Jennifer Graylock-Graylock.com|
“Our passion for diamonds is matched by our deep sense of connection with the natural world, which we are dedicated to protecting for future generations,” Lussier said.
Both the Orapa Game Park and Jwana Game Park, which surround Debswana’s Orapa and Jwaneng Mines, are home to several thousand animals, including, rhino, giraffe, zebra, baboon, cheetah, leopard and many other animal species. The Jwana Game park spans more than 40,000 acres of protected land, while the Orapa Game park currently consists of 30,000 acres with plans to expand to more than 100,000 acres.
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