Posts Tagged With: change

A new Chapter

In 2017, you helped us send appoximately $1500 usd to HESC (Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center) and $1000 to OPC (Ol Pejeta Conservancy) toward the funding of their APU canines.

We appreciate all you’ve done!

2018 will be a year of transition for Fight for Rhinos.

We have gone through some personal changes in the last months and I will now be soley responsible for Fight for Rhinos.  This means I will still be advocating for our rhinos, but will temporarily suspend active fundraising endeavors.
And donations received via PayPal from January 2018 on, will be forwarded to HESC, as I strongly believe in the progress and direction of their program.
I am extremely grateful and inspired  to work with you all the last several years in having made such a difference for so many rhinos, and the people protecting them. Most especially, it has instilled in me hope for their future!

So proud of Bullet, one of the first APU dogs at HESC!!

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Will there be rhino horn under the tree?

In 2013, sadly the most popular Christmas gift in Vietnam was rhino horn. The use of horn, as well as other rare animal products is deeply embedded in Vietnamese culture, and is a current trend of a luxury item within the country’s elite.

Vietnam occasions for horn use Wildact 2015

-WildAct Vietnam 2015

Vietnam has the tragic distinction of being the country MOST responsible for the growing demand for rhino horn. The majority of consumers are mid to upper income males, conforming to the egotistical social pressures of  ‘the rarer the product, the more “valuable” or “cool” it is to have.’

Knowing the market, and being an influential businessman, Richard Branson has become an advocate and voice in the fight against horn use in the country. In September, he spent an evening in Ho Chi Minh City with the country’s elite.

“Listening to 25 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs around the table, I quickly learned how much the issue has already become part of a national conversation – one that has caused great embarrassment for a country of 90 million people that is rapidly entering the global market. But change is difficult to come by, stifled by a lack of interest in conservation issues and also by insufficient enforcement. On the upside, as I learned over dinner, younger Vietnamese seem to understand the seriousness of the problem and no longer wish to be associated with these harmful habits.” -Richard Branson

face campagin

A campaign geared toward the business men who utilize horn.

Yet according to a survey of Vietnamese youth (15-40), conducted by our Rhino Alliance partners, WildAct, there is little understanding of animal welfare. Despite the  conservation education campaigns that have been introduced, there are a great deal of Vietnamese youth still wanting to own wildlife products.

It is difficult to obtain true numbers indicating actual growth or decline in usage, but the number of poached rhinos this year is at an all time high, with at least 1500 poached in 2015.

Wildlife consumption and use is a social event in the country. It is a matter of changing tradition and trends.  To better understand the difficulty of this, imagine if turkeys  became endangered; could we convince people to stop consuming them every November?

In the meantime, how many rhino horns will be gifted this Christmas? How much longer can they sustain the slaughter and demand?

The silver lining is that in WildAct’s survery, nearly 98% of the youth agree the government should do more for wildlife conservation. Continued education and empowering the youth is the key to curbing the demand.

wildlife ambassadors for rhinos

Investec supports a program for youth ambassadors for wildlife in Vietnam.

 

 

 

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China’s one-year ban on ivory-what does it mean?

DSCF8777

photo: Tisha Wardlow/Fight for Rhinos

China’s State Forestry Administration said in a statement posted on its website that it would “temporarily prohibit” trophy imports until Oct. 15, 2016 and “suspend the acceptance of relevant administrative permits”.

Chinese media quoted the “relevant SFA official” as saying the temporary suspension was designed to give authorities time to evaluate its effectiveness, and possibly take further, more effective measures in future.

Are they feeling the pressure from the rest of the world? Are they serious about trying to make a difference? What good does a year do?

Pardon the skepticism, but let’s look at China’s track record.

“In 2002, China was the principal driver of the illegal trade and made very few seizures,” said Tom Milliken, director of eastern and southern African operations for Traffic, which monitors the trade and advises Cites.

In 2008 South Africa initiated a one-off sale of stored ivory. This brief sale, though legal, renewed interest and increased demand within the Chinese culture. Ivory prices skyrocketed, but the “legal supply” was exhausted. Immediately following this sale, according to CITES, “record levels of ivory were seized and sustained throughout the period 2009 to 2011.”

In January of 2014 and May of 2015 China destroyed ivory in a public crush. Yet China officially sanctions 36 ivory-carving workshops. Every year they assign a quota of 5 to 6 tons of “legal” ivory to the carving industry.

Counterproductive to say the least.

In fact according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, when you talk to the ivory dealers they say that amount of allocation only lasts one month. And so the other 11 months is illegal ivory. In an undercover investigation, the carvers admit “at least 90% of the ivory in China is illegal.”

ivory carving brent stirton

One of 36 ivory carving factories in China. photo: Brent Stirton

To think there will be no compromise to said “prohibition” within the year or that the government won’t deem the ban suddenly unnecessary is unrealistic.

But if there is a silver lining it is this: the very fact the  government feels compelled to alter a centuries old tradition by this display means they are feeling the world pressure. There is hope.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why March for Elephants and Rhinos?

This weekend marks the second annual Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. In cities across the world, people will be gathering, uniting to raise their voices against the poaching and destruction of two of our most iconic species.

But what’s the point?

In key consumer cities and areas of transit of ivory and horn, there will be MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) obtained and delivered to the embassies; like  South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, Vietnam, and China.

In other cities like San Francisco and New York, groups are writing petitions to be delivered to local and state agencies on the on same day.

And at the very least, creating education and awareness for local communities and schools is vital to the future of not only these two species, but our wildlife in general.

FFR rhino ele

In a nutshell the Global March seeks to:

  • ask for political will and leadership to end wildlife trade
  • have governments adopt stronger legislation for wildlife traffickers
  • ask governments to put a complete ban on trade of wildlife parts
  • shut down all ivory and horn industries

Whether in person or behind your computer, you can a part of the change. Please see the Global March page for a city near you.

global march logo

 

 

 

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Zen for Rhinos

Vietnam is the country responsible for the most demand in rhino horn.

75% of Vietnam is Buddhist.

Recently the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) announced they would actively promote guidelines and awareness toward the illegal and immoral use of rhino horn.

According to the IBC newsletter, “We should move from Compassion to Action…putting forth the need for a pioneering Buddhist initiative that translates Buddha’s teachings of compassion and wisdom into action for the good of all sentient beings.”

Vietnam’s Buddhist leadership has agreed to launch a comprehensive public outreach campaign against the use of rhino horn on the grounds that it is steeped in violence towards animals, biodiversity and human beings (poachers, rangers, and the victims of illegal trafficking in drugs, arms and people).

It’s consumption therefore is unacceptable for any Buddhist and has to stop.

vietnam feeding rhinos breaking the brand

Image from Breaking the Brand.

 

 

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Cecil’s Final Roar

The killing of Cecil the Lion demonstrated the reality of “Big Five” trophy hunting, and struck a chord with the world’s conscious.

The fact is that trophy hunting is not only legal, but encouraged in countries as a means of making money. As the adage goes “Money Talks”.

With public criticism and disdain for the hunts,  money is undoubtedly the bottom line with the recent decisions of seven major airlines, who declared they will no longer transport animal parts on their flights.  No airline wants to be seen as complicit in the practice.

This is an example of how public opinion and pressure can fuel change. YOUR voice, YOUR choices do have an impact.

This is a major victory, and we commend the following airlines for taking a stand:

thank you airlines

Photo: Lobby for Lions

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Change for Rhinos Starts TODAY

So much of the fight for rhinos starts with awareness. It is amazing how many people simply don’t know about their danger of extinction!

We all know there is strength in numbers. So let’s start the new year with a bang. Each of you reading this post- Fight for Rhinos challenges you to post one of our messages OR one of your own! Tweet or FB- reach out to the world.

We can stem the poaching. Change starts with YOU. Don’t wait. Do just one thing today.

Rhino facts

 

50 mill years

unless mom is killed

 

extinction is forever

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Think Big, Start Small, Act Now”

Alyssas rhino drawing

Drawing by Alyssa

..That is the sign hanging over General Jooste’s desk in his office in SANParks. Watching a  rhino take its final breaths, after having it’s back broken and it’s horn hacked off by poachers, prompted Jooste to begin his current position overseeing anti-poaching efforts in Kruger.

The bloody struggle, demands and frustration he, and everyone on the ground must bear witness to daily is unimaginable. Yet, he stands firm. He continues to do what he can, fulfilling his part in the war.

So what can we do? Most of us aren’t decorated military generals, or park rangers. But paying heed to his motto – we can ALL do something.

Mike & Sam

Mike & Sam

Mike and Sam, a UK couple were married in May of 2014. Both having grown up in South Africa, their love of the bush, and heartbreak over the escalation in rhino poaching, they asked that in lieu of wedding gifts, people contribute money to be donated to rhino conservation. From there, they’ve started to ask other couples to continue doing the same. Thus, Wedding Gifts for Rhinos was born.

Alyssa is a 7-year-old girl who was brought to tears when she heard of our rhinos being killed. With the help of mom and dad, she sells chocolates, printed with a picture she drew of a rhino. Since then, she has branched out, selling knitted rhinos, stickers, etc. The money she gets is being saved toward her end goal of buying a sniffer dog for anti-poaching efforts at SANParks. She has already raised over R15000 in 2 months.

Alyssa with knitted rhinos

Alyssa with the adults who help make her knitted rhinos.

Sam

Sam

Sam is a certified guide in Southern Africa whose love of rhinos inspired him to do the 500km Rhino Awareness Walk. Moved by his grandfather’s words “none of us inherited our wildlife from our grandparents, but it is loaned to us by our children”, he is doing what he can – walking to raise funds and awareness in his community toward wildlife poaching.

In 2012, Tracy, the owner of an arts and crafts store in South Africa, was moved to do something after she saw the poaching of Thandi and Themba. She began selling “rhino tears”, necklaces she designed to raise funds to fight poaching. Her original goal of selling 20, has gone beyond 700 necklaces worldwide.

Tracy

Tracy

Selling lemonade, losing weight, growing a beard…people old and young, no different from you and I have found ways to do what they can to help our rhinos.

Don’t feel helpless! Join us and do something today! Sign petitions, donate, volunteer, join the global march for elephants and rhinos in your city, sell artwork…use your talent, your time…do what you can.

Think Big..Start Small..Act NOW!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Candle in the Dark: Hope in China

China – the mere mention of the country sets animal lovers on edge. It’s no secret they bear a huge responsibility for the demand of horn and ivory, paving the destruction of rhinos and elephants, among other animals.

But there is reason to hope. The animal welfare movement is alive and well in China. The younger generation is aware, and becoming less tolerant of cruelty toward animals. With increasing attention from social media, animal protection issues are pushing to the public forefront.

chinese activists

Activists protest dog and cat meat industry.

The past couple of years, Chinese animal welfare advocates have

* banned the U.S. rodeo from entering Beijing
*demonstrated against the import of seal parts from Canada *
*ended barbaric live animal feeding in zoos
*prevented the construction of a foie gras factory
*rescued thousands of dogs and cats from the meat trade
*made stricter terms on harming endangered species(anyone who eats endangered species, or buys them for other purposes, is punishable by up to 10 years in jail)

In addition China is home to 50 million vegetarians and vegans, according to Peta.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

Social media was responsible for alerting volunteers to intercept this truck filled with dogs bound for slaughter.

The New York Times reports that revulsion at animal abuse is growing, and citizens have been taking matters into their own hands, rescuing dogs and cats from slaughter, and  banding together to lobby government for animal protection laws.

China has some laws protecting endangered species of wild animals, but no protection for other animals within the country.

A proposed draft of China’s first comprehensive animal welfare law, the China Animal Protection Law, was issued in September 2009, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. It has yet to become law.

Some of the organizations currently working in China, and with the government trying to change current laws are Animals Asia, Peta Asia, and Chinese Animal Protection Network.

According to Animals Asia, “After more than 20 years working in China, we know how fast things can change – and we know already from working with various government departments in Beijing and Sichuan Province, that there is definitely a growing recognition and sympathy towards the issue of animal welfare generally which did not exist 10 years ago.”

Yao Ming's shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

Yao Ming’s shark protection campaign helped reduce fin demand by 90%

No doubt that social media and celebrity endorsements are helping the movement along. Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, and pop singer Yu Kewei, artist Ai Weiwei, and actress Sun Li are actively campaigning against bear bile farms, rhino horn and elephant tusk use, and other endangered species slaughter.

China has lagged behind the most progressive nations in animal protection legislation for more than 180 years. But their time is coming. Realistically it has been and will continue to be slow, as younger generations push back against the older generation, more set in their ways.

 As a  Korean animal rights activist Sung Su Kim puts it:

“Culture has often been used as an excuse to turn away from suffering, and people in both Asia and the West often use cultural relativism to soothe their conscience for doing nothing”.

“Surely we want to regard various practices in our history (such as slavery and cannibalism) as something to be rid of rather than treat them as ‘culture’ and demand respect accordingly.”

jacki rhino ad

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

What Difference Will YOU Make?

In honor of Jane Goodall, who just celebrated her 80th birthday. ““What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -J.G

 

 

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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