Animals and plants


#WorldRhinoDay2015 – Fighting the good fight for the rhino

22 September 2015

World Rhino Day is an opportunity to once again raise awareness about the scourge of rhino poaching and help the rhino make its final stand.

According to Save The Rhino organisation, 749 cases of rhino poaching have been recorded in the first eight months of 2015, creeping dangerously close to 1 215 (that’s one every eight hours) poachings of 2014. The numbers have been steadily climbing since 2007.

While by no means isolated to South Africa, rhino poaching is surging across the entire African continent, and has in turn become a constant threat to the smaller rhino populations in Asia.

World Wildlife Fund South Africa (WWF SA)started World Rhino Day began in 2010 and awareness of the animal endangered status has grown into an international success, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organisations, corporations, businesses, celebrities and concerned individuals from around the globe, all doing their part to save the rhino.

WWF SA has been involved in rhino conservation on the continent since the 1960s and has made critical gains in changing perceptions and raising awareness. Yet rhinos still continue to be poached at unprecedented rates.

While WWF SA said in a press release that there is no single solution to the poaching scourge and that it would have to work strategically to combat rhino poaching and operate on numerous fronts. "A key part of our approach is to work collaboratively with rural communities living near game reserves and to provide people in those communities with the skills to manage their natural resources – including rhinos. In return, they reap the benefits of wildlife tourism while continuing to be custodians of rhinos for future generations."

Sudan, the world's last white male rhino

This year is a particularly poignant year for the rhino, as it celebrates, yet at the same time mourns, the last living Northern White male rhino in existence at the Ol Pejeta reserve in Kenya. Sudan is 42 years old and is under 24-hour ranger guard in the reserve to protect him from poachers. The last three rhinos in the area had been poached in the last two years.

SA Youth plead the rhino's case in Vietnam

To celebrate World Rhino Day, the KwaZulu Natal Project Rhino organisation is sending five young South Africans to Vietnam in the next month – armed with the World Youth Wildlife Declaration against rhino poaching – to plead the rhino's case and change Vietnamese perceptions.

Vietnam, along with China, is regarded as the epicentre of rhino horn trade, and feeling is that a change of thinking here would have a significant impact on the trade and use of rhino horn in the region.

On the eve of World Rhino Day, KZN Project Rhino's Sheelagh Antrobus told Zongile Mthimkhulu of East Coast Radio that the trip is significant for the youth involved and for rhino conservation. "[These] young South Africans are speaking out against the decimation of one of our iconic wildlife species… speaking directly to the consumers [in Vietnam] and to government officials [to] show them that as a South African youth generation they're not tolerant of this loss of something that they see very important, as part of their heritage and their culture."

#LetOurVoicesBeHeardWe are thrilled to share this video today to celebrate #WorldRhinoDay with you! It is a tribute...

Posted by Project Rhino KZN on Mon day, September 21, 2015

Jackie Chan, Mark Boucher, Angelina Jolie celebrate #WorldRhinoDay

Meanwhile, the good fight continues around the world this World Rhino Day, with millions taking to social media to spread the word and do their bit for rhino conservation. The global movement is supported by some of the most popular local and international celebrities, including former South African cricketer Mark Boucher and movie stars Jackie Chan and Angelina Jolie, who have joined the world to fight for the rhino in its last stand against extinction.

For more information on the movement and activities in South Africa and the rest of the world, follow the hashtag #WorldRhinoDay2015 on Twitter and Facebook.

Source: World Rhino Day

September 22 2015 World Rhino Day conservation, poaching, world rhino day, wildlife, world wildlife fund WWF has been involved in rhino conservation on the continent since the 1960s, and has made critical gains in changing perceptions and raising awareness, particularly through its World Rhino Day every September. Yet rhinos still continue to be poached at unprecedented rates. (Image: World Rhino Day )

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