At the current rate, poachers will kill off every wild rhinoceros in South Africa by 2026, according to Gerry Mullon, an Accenture executive support analyst.
“How incredibly sad is that?” says Gerry, a member of the Honorary Rangers organization supporting the conservation and operational functions of South African National Parks (SANParks).
Gerry truly is an exemplar of stewardship—“helping improve communities and the global environment”-- one of Accenture’s core values. Concerned with the plight of South Africa’s rhinos, she and her husband Paul joined the SANParks’ Honorary Rangers program about five years ago. “The most important thing at the moment is to raise funds to keep our anti-poaching teams on the ground and in the air,” Gerry says. “This costs millions of (South African) Rands every year.” As part of her contribution to the cause, Gerry has helped produce a popular calendar for the past few years using historical photographs and stories of the parks in bygone years. About the project Gerry notes, “It’s a great way for me to pursue Accenture’s core value of stewardship on my own.”
Although she may not fight alongside field rangers in gun battles against poachers—a very real possibility in South Africa—Gerry is instrumental in supporting efforts to protect rhino and other threatened species. “Each region is assigned a ranger station in Kruger National Park to take care of,” she explains. “We are helping with fencing in the vegetable garden to protect crops from monkeys, birds and other animals.”
Gerry also brings Accenture’s commitment to training to her work with the park: Part of her ranger station duties include teaching the rangers’ wives and children cooking and sewing skills. Plans are in the works to provide the rangers’ homes with things like furniture, bedding and TV sets. They also are working on creating a play area with slides and a swing set for the children, and gathering soccer balls and clothing for the rangers’ soccer team.
“This is a relatively new project, so we are just starting to collect everything we need to make the lives of the rangers and their families a little more comfortable,” Gerry says.