The rhino of Africa can be saved from poachers and the illegal trade if for enough this World Rhino Day becomes a turning point.
“While the poaching of Rhino is sickening and tragic, it’s nice to have a group like Nikela take a more positive approach of appreciation, while also doing a great job on awareness and not hiding from the harsh reality that they face.”
Thank you Andrew, that about puts our World Rhino Day (Month) in perspective.
Both the Black Rhino and the White Rhino in Southern Africa are in serious trouble. The former is on the Critically Endangered species list with the latter being classified Near Threatened according to the IUCN.
Animal poaching has always been an issue in Africa, for that matter in most parts of the world, however since 2007 there has been a dramatic increase in rhino poaching in South Africa where over 90% of the surviving rhino populations live. The increase is attributed to the rise in wealth in Asia where rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicines as well as numerous new potions to cure lack luster sex or provide quick energy. Possibly the most alarming trend is the buying of rhino horn by the new rich males as a status symbol and a futures option (investment).
So, for some, it means riches if the rhinos were to go extinct!
When chatting with Nicole in Hong Kong this past week it became very apparent that those who buy shark fins for soup, rhino horns for status or carved elephant ivory to adorn their home do so without thought as to the live that was lost. But then, I realized that there was a time that I didn’t either.
I grew up in sunny South Africa. One of the family’s favorite friends owned a bush farm next to the Kruger Park. Hunting was what people did. My parents had a cheetah skin hanging on their bedroom wall. I inherited two prized belts from my mother, one of ostrich leather the other leopard fur.
Nicole asked me, “What changed your heart?” That’s a long story, and actually what triggered the founding of Nikela to help those who work so hard to protect Africa’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.
On this World Rhino Day I believe it is in changing hearts that we’ll reverse the disastrous trends that are driving our planet’s wildlife to extinction. It is HOPE in the human spirit that goodness will triumph over greed and personal interest that will save the rhino.
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