It is all too easy to get lost in frustration and despair in the war for rhinos. Each life means so much, and each death weighs heavy in the heart, BUT each victory is just as significant.
My gift to all of you this holiday season: HOPE.
#1-Thanks to programs that transform poachers to rangers like what AfricanParks has done in the Congo, minds are changing. (see: Second Chances: Success in the Congo)
#2-Community incentives that give people a reason to be invested in their own wildlife and rewarded for that investment, like in Zimbabwe (see: Zimbabwe Leads the Way)
#3-Zoos have a new role in conservation, through in-depth scientific analysis (of rhino dung) they have learned more successful methods of breeding rhinos including use of artificial insemination. (see: Rhino Dung Research)
#4-There is a plethora of technology being integrated into the war on poaching (drones, microchips, poison injections into the horn,etc.)
#5-Awareness is spreading! The elephant poaching billboard in times square was a huge endeavor (see: The Elephant in Times Square). Ad campaigns in China and Vietnam, and education in Africa are helping. There has also been increased celebrity involvement (Leonardo Dicaprio, Prince William, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan,etc. )
#6-The US is increasing involvement in wildlife trafficking with President Obama taking a stand, pledging funds to anti-poaching efforts in Africa and creating the anti-poaching Task Force.
#7-There is now military involvement in Kenya from the British paratroopers, helping to train rangers. (see: British Paratroopers Train..)
#8-South Africa has stepped up military involvement in the parks. (see: War on Poachers Intensifies)
#9-All of the people on the ground who work tirelessly from the rangers at the parks working to protect the rhino, to the the Rhino Orphanage and other groups who rehabilitate the orphans after a poaching, to the veterinary staff and the behind the scenes organizations who work to fund all of it.
With numbers as low as 50 left in the wild in the early 1900s, the southern white rhino has now increased to over 20,000 and has become the most populous of all the rhino species.
Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993. Thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programs across Africa black rhino numbers have risen since the early 1990s to a current population of 5,055.
We CAN do this.
Dr William Fowlds, DVM in South Africa is seeing a difference.
“ The international momentum against wildlife trafficking is starting to rattle some sabers. I can’t say the same for our corrupt systems and poor political competence. However, there is a groundswell of positives even in SA and we have to simply keep going. If we put ourselves on the line, we will turn this tragedy around.”
So please don’t give up! Fight for them!
You can join the fight and help greatly by donating to Fight for Rhinos.
Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence. ~Lin Yutang