Run/Walk For Life’s League of Champions lets the spotlight fall on endangered species

As one of South Africa’s oldest running/walking fraternities and fitness programmes, we are ecstatic about the 2020 Run/Walk For Life League of Champions.

The league, which allows RWFL members to compete on both a national and a regional level – in addition to also earning points for their own local branches – will give runners and walkers the opportunity to improve their own health and fitness, whilst contributing to a larger competition.

The 2020 Run/Walk For League of Champions will not only give all Run/Walk For Life members the opportunity to compete in a fun initiative, but it will also aim to highlight the plight of some of South Africa’s most vulnerable animals.

In December 2019, we announced the names and logos for the four RWFL regions. Each team has been named after a South African species whose existence is in grave danger. Throughout the year, the Run/Walk For Life League of Champions will encourage participants to raise awareness for these animals.

Here are the four animals that will be the mascots for the four RWFL regions.

Western Cape | Eastern Cape | Northern Cape
Mascot: The Cape vulture

The Cape vulture is southern Africa’s only endemic vulture species, and has recently been uplisted to “endangered”. Cape vultures fall victim to a number of threats, including poisoning, and electrocutions and collisions with energy structures. As a result, their numbers are declining rapidly.

KwaZulu-Natal | Mpumalanga | Free State
Mascot: The pangolin

The pangolin is believed to be the world’s most trafficked animal. Tens of thousands of pangolins are poached every year, to be killed for their scales. All eight pangolin species are protected under national and international laws, but there is still growing international illegal trade in these animals.

South and Central Gauteng
Mascot: Riverine rabbits

The riverine rabbit is one of the most endangered mammals in the world, with only around 500 living adults, and just 1,500 individuals overall. The riverine rabbit is a species that is in extreme danger of extinction, and was first labelled an endangered species in 1981. According to the IUCN Red List the riverine rabbit is now classified under the most severe category of endangerment.

Northern Gauteng | Limpopo | North West
Mascot: Wild dogs

African wild dogs are threatened by shrinking space to roam in their African home. The 2016 population was estimated at 39 subpopulations, containing 6,600 adults, of which 1,400 were reproductive. The decline of these populations is ongoing.

You can find all the league races here: