I’d like to share some numbers with you: 1020. 24. 10. 20
1020 is the number of rhinos poached in South Africa in 2014.
24 is the average number of rhinos slaughtered by poachers in a week.
10 is the number we lose on any given weekend.
20 is the short number of years experts estimate rhinos will become extinct in the wild if we can’t turn the tide.
Nearly 80% of Africa’s total rhino population resides in South Africa, and in the last five years poaching has increased three-fold according to WESSA, the Wildlife and Environment Society of Africa. In that time nearly 3500 rhinos were slaughtered leaving a population that can no longer breed fast enough to keep its numbers sustainable unless we intervene.
On the open market in China and Vietnam, the world’s largest consumers of rhino horn, 2 kilograms [4.0 lbs] sells for upwards of $65,000. It’s almost impossible to conquer the kind of greed that comes with figures like that but Rhinos Without Borders, (RWB), led by the Great Plains Foundation founders and world-renowned National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence, Beverly and Dereck Joubert, In partnership with &Beyond, they are fighting the good fight, and we can help. RWB is pledging to move 100 rhinos, in 2015, from South Africa to Botswana where they will be safe.
Why Botswana you ask? In a 2014 interview with National Geographic, Dereck Joubert had this to say:
Botswana wants rhinos. And Botswana has the lowest poaching rate in all of Africa.
It’s as much a story of moving a hundred rhinos as it is about spreading the risk. One of the worst things we can do is continue to keep the entire pool of assets in one place. This relocation project will be making it harder for poachers to come in and hit a hundred rhinos.
What’s great about Botswana is that culturally and practically they’re not arrogant. They realize they have to keep updating their equipment, so there’s a real drive to make sure these forces are ready for poachers. There will be a ramped-up effort, the specifics of which I’m not going to tell you. But these rhinos are going to be protected.
More on that later…
Rhinos are equal parts magnificent and surreal and I feel blessed to have seen them in the wild. While they can look prehistorically fierce, they are gentle creatures that prefer to keep their distance. Even rhinos that have acclimated to humans roaming their habitat are far more skittish than their lion and elephant counterparts, and until last year I never viewed any at length. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of stray horn or a large grey butt moving through some dense foliage, but that was about it.
In June, 2014 that all changed. I was on safari in Timbavati, South Africa, and our group was high on a ridge overlooking a crash (the term used for a group of rhino) relaxing on the deep, sandy banks of a river. There were seven altogether, a large number considering rhinos don’t typically form tight herd structures, and we were beside ourselves with excitement as we watched them greet each other, drink from the river, and play.
I learned that night that rhinos squeaked. Yep, you read that right. Squeak. Those giant grey tanks with horns that can pierce flesh, sound like helium escaping from a balloon. It was hysterical and wonderful and incredibly endearing. (You can listen to it here)
I knew after that night that I could no longer think of them as an abstract creature that lived thousands of miles away from me. They squeaked, my heart melted, and suddenly they were all too real. Their plight became all too real.
Just One Rhino
I don’t know about you, but the statistics above are overwhelming. Trying to wrap my head around saving an entire species is daunting, but focusing on one rhino, well, that seems doable.
Join me and over 100 travel bloggers in an initiative aptly named Just One Rhino (#JustOneRhino). Led by Travelers Building Change and Green Travel Media, we want to raise $45,000 so that Rhinos Without Borders can move one rhino from South Africa to Botswana. 100% of the proceeds raised will be used to fund the rhino relocation process.
I know that seems like a lot of money but this kind of initiative requires a small army of specialists, rangers, veterinarians and pilots, not to mention trucks, helicopters and months of preparation.
We’d love it if you would help; here’s where you can DONATE
Wait, you didn’t click the link. Hmmmm… if the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get by contributing to the health and well-being of an endangered species isn’t enough to get you to click the link above then consider this:
There are prizes to be won.
Just One Rhino has amazing partners that are offering over $30,000 dollars in trips and other cool stuff. Once you donate you’ll be given virtual “tickets” and have the opportunity to choose the top three prizes you want to win. On March 1, 2015, tickets will be drawn via lottery and, come on, you know you’ll win!
Check out the prizes below and most importantly, don’t let rhinos become extinct on our watch. Help us. Help them. Donate now.
Cobblers Cover Hotel, Barbados: Seven nights bed and breakfast in a Garden View suite. Value $5, 187
Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Nicaragua: 10 nights’ stay & wellness package for two people at Yemaya Island Hideway and Spa on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Value $5,241.
- Vouchers for 2 people at Bali Jiwa Villian in Bali, Indonesia. Value $1,000
- (2) Voucers for 2 people at The Scent Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Total Value $3000 ($1,500 for each 2-person package)
- Vouchers for 2 people at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Koh Kong, Cambodia. Value $900
- Voucher for 2 people at Flower Island, Palawan, Philippines. Value $900
- eBag Luggage
- WeWOOD Watches
- Dinner/Brunch Cruises
- 2 nights in an Italian Villa
- 2 Tours in India
- ExOfficio Gift Certificate
- 2 nights in Renaissance Asheville
- Travel Blog Success Lifetime Membership
- African Elephant Photo Pack
- HDR Timelapse Video Camera w/Lens
- Blogger Mentorship Package from Green Global Travel
—Rhino Fun Facts and caption info from Save The Rhino