Africa / Middle East

Olive Farm Helps Save Rhinos

South African olive oil producer Rio Largo Olive Estate has designed two labels to fund endangered rhinos.

Jun. 19, 2018
By Lisa Anderson

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Multi award-win­ning South African olive oil Rio Largo Olive Estate is con­tribut­ing to sav­ing endan­gered rhi­nos with their two rhino labels of which a per­cent­age of the sales will be appor­tioned to this cause.

You never for­get the feel­ing of awe after you have been in the quiet of the open Bushveld and wit­nessed these beau­ti­ful ani­mals in their nat­ural habi­tat.- Brenda Wilkin­son, Rio Largo Olive Estate

Orga­ni­za­tions ben­e­fit­ting from a per­cent­age of the sales of Rio Largo’s rhino labels oils are South African-based Sav­ing the Sur­vivors and Rhino Rev­o­lu­tion.

Rio Largo reg­u­larly cre­ates inno­v­a­tive con­tain­ers and labels for their oils, as well as per­son­al­ized labels on request. Brenda Wilkin­son, who co-owns Rio Largo with her hus­band Nick, told Olive Oil Times they have more than twenty dif­fer­ent labels for their oils.

Rio Largo’s web­site states their labels are fast becom­ing collector’s items.

Wilkin­son said she and her hus­band were asked about cre­at­ing a label to save rhi­nos by vol­un­teer rhino ambas­sador Sue Brown, whom they met while dis­play­ing their oils with per­son­al­ized labels at a local mar­ket.


We were hes­i­tant at first,” Wilkin­son said, as we felt that this needed to have a focused bud­get, and how would we work this?”

She also pointed out it isn’t easy to find projects where small injec­tions of funds are able to be used with effect but there is always a way we can help.”

We needed the project to have integrity and for the money to be used wisely,” she said, but Sue guided us and we were soon on our way with fab­u­lous designs to cre­ate aware­ness.”

Besides being prompted by Brown, the Wilkin­sons are pas­sion­ate about wildlife. They lived in Cen­tral Africa for over twenty years before they bought Rio Largo in 2010, and they visit game lodges when­ever pos­si­ble.

You never for­get the feel­ing of awe after you have been in the quiet of the open Bushveld and wit­nessed these beau­ti­ful ani­mals in their nat­ural habi­tat,” said Wilkin­son.

The Wilkin­sons had the two rhino labels for their on-tap decanters designed by South African artists Frans Groe­newald and Caryl Lau­ren­son respec­tively.

The rhino labels are avail­able in South Africa only, but Wilkin­son said they are work­ing with a com­pany in the UK to cre­ate bot­tle sleeves with one of Rio Largo’s rhino designs. She said the dis­trib­u­tor there also fell in love with the idea of shar­ing a prod­uct with so many health ben­e­fits to mankind, to save rhi­nos.

It is a great fit,” Wilkin­son said.

She expressed opti­mism for the future of rhi­nos based on wide­spread edu­ca­tion on the issue and increased mea­sures to keep rhi­nos safe. Those mea­sures have resulted in a slow decline in rhino poach­ing.

Rhi­nos are crit­i­cally endan­gered, with between 5,000 and 5,400 remain­ing glob­ally accord­ing to WWF.

An arti­cle on, explained Rhi­nos are killed for their horns that are used in tra­di­tional Chi­nese and Viet­namese med­i­cine.

Sav­ing the Sur­vivors, a ben­e­fi­ciary of the Rio Largo rhino labels, are a field-based South African NPO car­ing for and res­cu­ing threat­ened and endan­gered wildlife species. They also focus on rhino research and edu­cat­ing local com­mu­ni­ties.

Sav­ing the Sur­vivors project coor­di­na­tor Ter­sia Jooste said: Sav­ing the Sur­vivors can­not attend to injured endan­gered wildlife with­out the gen­eros­ity of our many sup­port­ers world­wide. Every sin­gle one of them makes a con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ence in our lives and, more impor­tantly, the lives of our endan­gered species. Your sup­port is crit­i­cal to help­ing us achieve our con­ser­va­tion goals.”

Jooste said Sav­ing the Sur­vivors tended to over thirty injured rhi­nos in South Africa and neigh­bor­ing Mozam­bique over the past year.

Rhino Rev­o­lu­tion — the other ben­e­fi­ciary of Rio Largo’s rhino labels — is an NPO that reha­bil­i­tates orphaned rhino calves for release back into the wild, imple­ments anti-poach­ing mea­sures in pri­vate reserves and edu­cates and inspires the youth of impov­er­ished local com­mu­ni­ties.

We are very proud that we suc­cess­fully released our first five orphan­age rhino calves back into the wild at the end of 2017,” said Rhino Rev­o­lu­tion spokesper­son Har­riet Nimmo.

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