Rhinos’ Last Stand Team
Co-Founder and Director - Dr Lorinda Hern
Lorinda’s interest in the rhino-poaching crisis was prompted by a poaching incident on her family’s property in 2010. Having grown up with the rhinos on the property, the loss was deeply shocking and Lorinda set out to find a proactive anti-poaching solution.
She decided to partner with Dr Charles van Niekerk, who was already investigating rhino horn infusion when she approached him in 2011.
Lorinda works full-time on the Rhino Rescue Project, which developed the strategy of devaluing Rhino horn by the infusion of animal friendly toxins that is harmful for human consumption. Lorinda teamed with Mike Kendrick to provide the introduction of forensic DNA into the process thereby making the horns unsaleable and traceable, vastly increasing the risk of poacher prosecution.
She has Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing Management from the University of Pretoria (UP) as well as a research doctorate (PhD) in the same field from the London School of Economics.
Co-Founder and Director - Michael Kendrick
Mike is a well-known businessman and entrepreneur with his roots in specialist marketing and PR, which is where he discovered the power of aerial advertising and his love for everything African.
In 1988, in partnership with Sir Richard Branson, Mike formed the Virgin Airship and Balloon Company. VABC would grow to become the world’s largest aerial advertising agency, operating over 70 aircraft in 30 countries, for blue-chip clients like Goodyear, Budweiser, Met Life and Sanyo.
As Project Director for all of Sir Richard’s high-profile world record attempts, Mike was also a director and founding shareholder of several other Virgin companies including Virgin Projects, Vintage Airlines, and Virgin Blockbuster.
He has travelled Africa extensively and with The Mineseeker Foundation to raise awareness for landmine victims and to seek technological solutions for clearing mines. He personally recruited eminent patrons including Nelson Mandela, Queen Noor of Jordan, Sir Richard Branson and Lord Attenborough.
He is CEO of Straightline Aviation Ltd, bringing low cost cargo movement to remote lands and Chairman of SeekerDNA Ltd, a provider of forensic DNA used in the fight against crime.
Mike has held a commercial pilot’s license and several aviation world records.
Mike has recently been inducted as a Living Legend of Aviation.
Rhino Rescue Project Team
Dr Shaun Beverley
Shaun has been a member of the RRP team since 2013, graduated from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Sciences in 2011.
Focused almost exclusively on providing veterinary services to the wildlife industry, Shaun is passionate about making a difference in the fight against rhino poaching – as is evident from the compassion he exhibits towards every animal the team works on.
Gavin is RRP’s devaluation technician and personally conducts and/or oversees the infusion of every animal treated by the crew.
His keen eye for detail and knowledge of animal behaviour not only keeps our staff safe on treatment sites, but also allows us to amass a tremendous amount of data on the composition and structure of rhino horns, which is now forming the basis of our ongoing research.
Taryn first started assisting RRP on an informal basis in 2015, but soon became an indispensable member of our team.
Amongst a plethora of other duties, she is primarily responsible for collecting DNA samples on treatment sites and completing the necessary paperwork for these samples to be analysed and entered into the national rhino database.
Suzanne is the newest member of the RRP team and brings with her a wealth of knowledge in the fields of marketing and communications, having successfully managed her own businesses for the past 20 years.
She also has deep-seated love of South African wildlife, especially rhinos, with whom she has a special connection, and is an instrumental member of the team.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Mark is an experienced commercial director. He has held senior international positions at a variety of service industry companies including Pepsi Co and trained as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers).
On leaving PepsiCo he joined the Virgin Group, where he worked with Mike Kendrick for almost 10 years in the aerial advertising and marketing services division.
As COO of The Lightship Group, he also managed the largest fleet of commercial airships ever operated with responsibility for business strategy and planning.
He negotiated numerous of multi-million dollar service contracts with blue-chip clients like Goodyear and Sanyo and established businesses in Brazil, Singapore, South Africa, Asia and the USA.
He was also responsible for corporate structuring, mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.
Mark held the position as Responsible Officer in respect of the Civil Aviation Authority for UK operations and was also a director of the Virgin Airship and Balloon Company and Richard Branson’s round the world balloon attempt.
Subsequently, Mark acted as Managing Director of a number of companies in media, marketing and events sectors before joining up with Mike again as a shareholder and Director of Mineseeker before co-founding Straightline Aviation. Mark is also a Director of Rhinos’ Last Stand.
Stephen Laugharne is the Managing Director of SeekerDNA Ltd; an extremely experienced innovative, strategic and operational senior manager.
He has a proven track record of putting together strong management teams, running and developing fast growing businesses, including overseeing business placement on AIM.
Intrigued by the possibilities of using synthetic DNA markers as security aids, both to protect individuals and valuables, Steve Laugharne is a co-founder of SeekerDNA Ltd.
Kai Von Pannier
Kai Von Pannier is a founding Director of SeekerDNA SA in South Africa. He has worked in the IT industry for 30 years including Hewlett-Packard and Computer Associates. As a system architect he was always on the forefront of cutting edge technologies and designing how to incorporate then into the commercial world. After leaving the corporate world Kai started his own IT consulting business which led him to SeekerDNA.
As a German living in Africa for the past 40 years he is passionate about all wildlife and it’s protection. Kai also works with SeekerTec and the Mineseeker Foundation who have aerial technology to detect landmines as well as supporting landmine victims.
Kai has been researching anti-poaching solutions for the protection of various species using the SeekerDNA products. He was introduced to Dr Lorinda Hern of the Rhino Rescue Project and their unique solution and approach of de-valuing the rhino horn through an infusion process had great synergies with SeekerDNA’s forensic markers. The use of SeekerDNA’s forensic marker in the rhino horn infusion process is just one of multiple strategies that is being developed for anti-poaching of all species using SeekerDNA technologies.