Fast Forward Fifty Years: What’s Happened to the Rhino?

Award winning writer, Kirsten Everett, imagines herself a grandmother, her grandson is asking tough questions about the now extinct rhino.

Kirsten has become a regular blog story writer for us. You may have read “Poacher Attack: Through the Eyes of a Rhino Calf” and “A South African Student Pleads to Save Her Country’s Rhino“.

The former is being illustrated by Christy Underwood (“Frank and the Rhino Horn“) in preparation for publishing as a book and video. And now journey into the future with Kirsten….

The year 2065

In 50 years so much had changed. Not only did my skin start to form folds and my hair turned grey but my life changed as well. I was no longer the girl who spent most of her time writing and trying to help save her favourite animal. It was not because of my age that I no longer try to save the rhinos from extinction, it was because of something else. Something that was too sad to even think about.

“Granny,” My grandson whispered as he started climbing onto my lap with his two dinosaur toys.

“Yes my darling.”

“Did you ever have a pet dinosaur?” He was staring at me with those big blue eyes that reminded me so much of his mother.

“No Bevan I didn’t because most dinosaurs were extinct when I was young.”

“But you were talking to mommy about the African Unicorns that had roamed the earth for ages. I heard you.”

I watched my grandson as he fiddled with my rhino bracelet to make sure I understood what he meant.

“Yes darling I did talk to your mother about that because today thirty years ago was a very sad day for the conservationists of the world.”

“What’s a ‘conversationist’?” He interrupted me but didn’t look away from the rhino charm on my bracelet.

“No honey it’s a ‘conservationist’. This is a person who does what he or she can to save a habitat, animal, insect or bird species.”

I smiled down at him remembering the day that my parents had broken the news to me. I had spent so much of my time trying to save the rhino species so when I heard the last rhino had died I cried harder than I had in years. Even after everything that we had done the greed of the poachers was stronger than it all. Nothing could be done.

“Why haven’t I seen a rhino, granny?” He moved forward dropping his precious dinosaur toys, but instead of asking me to fetch them he completely ignored them. “I want to see a rhino.”

“I’m sorry darling, I really am. I tried everything to make sure you’d be able to see them one day but they’re extinct. The only way you’ll ever see them is when you look at photographs.”

I watched as his tiny mouth formed a frown and waited to hear him ask for the whole story but he didn’t. Instead he wrapped his small arms around me and whispered. “They’re not really gone granny. They’re in here.” He let go of me and pointed to his heart.

Two weeks later when he came around to visit he brought me something, a drawing of a red heart with a stick figure rhino inside. I stuck it on my fridge where I could see it every day and could keep on wondering how happy he would have been to see a rhino in its natural habitat. The thing was, I’d never know because rhinos were extinct. No matter how much I wished that a rhino could appear out of nowhere for my grandson to see, I knew better. They were gone forever.

So that doesn’t happen, is why Kirsten at her young age writes, why Heather past midlife paints, why Peter devotes his life savings to protect rhino, why Wendy teaches kids, why Shannon flies her raptors and why we at Nikela created a way so people anywhere who care to give, can.

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