Thursday marks the fourth annual World Rhino Day which celebrates all five species: black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.

The occasion sees 11 elite trail runners and a group of influential people set off on a 21km round trip to the summit of Rhino Peak in the Southern Drakensberg to raise awareness and funds for Endangered Wildlife Trust Rhino Conservation projects. It will also highlight the work done by the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding programme in the Maloti World Heritage Site.

Each runner has been asked to secure pledges against their expected time to complete the run, which starts at 1 700m with Rhino Peak measuring 3 100m.

World Rhino Day was first announced by World Wildlife Fund-South Africa in 2010.

The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species.

It has since been celebrated annually on September 22, providing an opportunity for cause-related organisations, NGOs, zoos, and members of the public to celebrate rhinos.

All funds raised will be split between two of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s projects, The Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Programme and the Rhino Sniffer Dog Programme. Pictured are elite trail runners Tracey Zunkel, left, and Sue Don-Wauchope with event organiser, Spurg Flemmington, before Thursday’s Rhino Peak Challenge.