It was one of those moments that just made me want to punch the human race.
I was watching a Q & A with Dereck and Beverly Joubert, world-renowned wildlife filmmakers and National Geographic artists in residence, and the topic was rhino conservation and poaching.
The sobering reality I knew was bad enough: poaching is decimating the world’s rhino population and if it’s not stopped they will become extinct in our lifetime. But what I had not considered—what I could barely fathom yet knew was true the second the Jouberts brought it to our attention—there are scumbags on this planet that are banking on extinction. People who fund poaching to stockpile rhino horn so that when the last wild rhino dies they will make a killing on the open market. Pun intended.
The Jouberts, and many others, are doing what they can to protect and save the rhino. In partnership with &Beyond, a luxury experiential travel company with 35 lodges and camps in Africa, the Jouberts, in conjunction with their foundation, Great Plains Conservation, created Rhinos Without Borders, an initiative that pledges to translocate 100 rhinos from South Africa where they are being killed at an alarming rate, and airlift them to Botswana where the laws provide greater protection. So far they’ve moved 25 rhinos, with some giving birth to calves in their new home. How great is that?
The bad news: It’s not cheap. It costs $45,000 per rhino, that’s $4.5 million when it’s all said and done.
Before you get overwhelmed, nobody expects one person to donate $45,000 (though if you’re a gazillionaire, I hope you’ll consider it.) Every dollar counts. On the Rhinos Without Borders site, the costs are broken down so you can see how your donation will be spent, from vet bills and implants for tracking to chartered planes and security, post release. All of it is vital to make the initiative successful.
The truth is, the fight to save rhinos is being lost. When there are hundreds of millions of dollars to be made, programs like Rhinos Without Borders have a hard time treading water against a tsunami of greed.
On this #WorldRhinoDay, consider helping the battle stay afloat.
If you’d like to help you can donate HERE.