Rhino project against poaching


Created 13/07/13

St Clair School room nine student Eliza Stevenson (9) holds travelling rhino, Lesedi, while ot
St Clair School room nine student Eliza Stevenson (9) holds travelling rhino, Lesedi, while other students display their rhino artwork and booklets. Photo by Craig Baxter.
St Clair School room nine student Eliza Stevenson (9) holds travelling rhino, Lesedi, while other students display their rhino artwork and booklets. Photo by Craig Baxter.
her students display their rhino artwork and booklets. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Critically endangered rhinoceros species have received a helping hand from room nine children at St Clair school in Dunedin.
In a bid to raise awareness and inspire her class to learn about poaching, school teacher Claire Buist appealed for a visit from travelling rhinoceros Lesedi.
Lesedi is one of five small stuffed toy rhinos which have been travelling around the world from South Africa, visiting schools as part of the 'Save our rhinos' project.
The project, founded by Karen Stadler in Cape Town, aimed to educate and raise awareness about poaching of the five remaining rhino species in the world, all of which are endangered. Mrs Buist, who heard about the scheme online, was amazed by the enthusiasm and learning that had come from hosting Lesedi.
''It's been a really meaningful project and the kids have become really interested in local issues because of it.''
Over the past month, Lesedi had been joining in with classroom activities and this had resulted in booklets, posters and fact pages about rhinos and poaching.
Students in room nine had also been in contact with the World Wildlife Fund and the Department of Conservation, and had investigated poaching in general and in New Zealand.
Mrs Buist said the most rewarding experience from hosting Lesedi was the children's enthusiasm and involvement, which included 10-year-old Ryan Blackie writing a letter to the editor of the Otago Daily Times about poaching.
Lesedi would leave St Clair Primary School next week and head to Adelaide to continue her adventure.
- Holly Ryan.



Ms B decided to sign the Neinsteins up to host a mascot that was travelling the world. When we heard she was coming we decided to find out more.
It was a Rhino called Lesedi who was one of 5 mascots travelling to classrooms all over the world from South Africa. A teacher and her classwanted to make children all around the world aware about the endangered Rhinos.
We began researching and found out how beautiful and rare the Rhino is becoming. We were also disappointed to hear that the Rhino’s were being poached and killed at an alarming rate.
But what could we do from our classroom in New Zealand? Ryan decided to write an opinion piece and submit it into the Extra Magazine. He then edited that piece further to a letter to the Editor and sent it to the ODT. We have since been asked to present a whole issues page about poaching for the magazine! Ella and Joanna decided to be the media team. They prepared their information and actually called the ODT to invite in a reporter.
Lesedi the Star
Lesedi the Star

Lesedi the Star

We were thrilled to have Holly the reporter and her photographer come to our classroom. We sat together and everyone who wanted to shared their ideas. It felt like a real press conference. They spent a lot of time talking to us and asking us questions. Holly wrote an article about the project for the local paper because she was so impressed by our interest in this issue.
Photo Shoot for the ODT
Photo Shoot for the ODT

We learnt a lot doing this literacy project. We learnt how to research, take notes, write reports and opinion pieces. We also learnt that we can make contact with experts. The Department of Conservationand the World Wildlife Fund have been very helpful and we have since realised that poaching is a global problem that puts many creatures at risk of extinction. This includes the Jeweled Gecko right here in Otago.
The most important thing we learnt is that we can have a voice and we should speak out about our concerns.
Thanks to everyone who helped us with this project!


We are looking forward to hosting Lesedi.