September 22, 2012 is World Rhino Day. White and endangered Black Rhino are being indiscriminately poached towards extinction. Facts and what you can do to help.
“Click, click… pow!” A rhino drops.
“Whirrrrrrr!” The horn is savagely removed with a chainsaw.
“Flap, flap, flap, flap…..” The poachers make their escape by helicopter.
It takes about 7 minutes for a poaching team to swoop in, kill and disappear with their million dollar prize. Today, ounce for ounce, rhino horn powder is worth more than cocaine in Asia. Access to rhino horn has become a status symbol and the increase in demand appears to correlate the rise in the economy.
The rhino horn, though nothing more than keratin, same substance as our finger nails, and supposedly proven to have no medicinal value, is sold as a cure for cancer, an aphrodisiac and a variety of other purposes.
According to the World Wildlife Fund there are about 16,000 rhino left in Africa with 93% of them calling South Africa their home.
In 2008 83 rhino were killed in South Africa by poachers, huge jump from 13 in 2007. In 2009 122 were lost, 333 in 2010, an alarming 445 in 2011 with the projection of over 500 by the end of 2012!
At this rate it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that the African rhino are headed for extinction.
Despite this bleak picture there is hope. Hope because people around the world are stepping up and saying, “No, enough already!” People like:
Peter and his team in South Africa gather intelligence, patrol, train, protect and go head to head if needed with poachers.
Allison spearheads the most vocal, influential and active rhino group on Facebook, Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP).
Dr. Fowlds a veterinarian, not only treats poaching survivors but is a vocal advocate for the species survival. The free ebook “POACHED! The tragic story of a vets heroic efforts to save Geza” gets us up close and personal with a brave rhino and Dr. Fowlds.
Karen, an expert in rhino rescue and rehabilitation, operates the much needed rhino orphanage where traumatized rhino calves have a chance at life and perpetuating their species.
Nicole, a teacher in Hong Kong, volunteers her time to raise funds to translate important information to raise awareness to stop the demand for rhino horn in Asia.
And there are thousands more who give a lot or a little of their money and/or their time to preserve the rhino not only for South Africa, but for the world, for our children and grandchildren.
During the month of September we invite you to join us in a celebration of new life. New life for the rhino and us as humans as we take charge and do our small or large part to save an icon of our day. For as we save the rhino we also save ourselves from the power of myths, the stranglehold of greed and the inertia of apathy.
During the month of September we’ll be posting bits of rhino trivia and photos culminating in the release of “The Rhino’s Song” (a short video produced for Nikela by Jessica Immelman, Alex Rodel and Warren Freimond) on World Rhino Day on September 22nd.
Enjoy and share.