Activism

Published on August 10th, 2011 | by Rhishja Cota-Larson

8

Mark Your Calendar: World Rhino Day is September 22 {Videos}

August 10th, 2011 by

The Planet’s remaining rhinos will soon have their day, thanks to an international campaign launched to celebrate these magnificent pachyderms.

As you know from reading my “Rhino Crisis Round Up” series here on Planetsave, these ancient mammals are under siege – all because of misguided beliefs about rhino horn’s alleged usefulness.

The Second Annual World Rhino Day is working towards eliminating the demand for rhino horn by highlighting efforts to debunk these medicinal myths.

Global scourge

The demand for rhino horn is indeed a global scourge:

  • In 2010, the illegal trade in rhino horn claimed the lives of 333 rhinos in South Africa. More than 200 rhinos have already been killed this year.
  • During the last six months, at least 20 European museums have been robbed by organized criminal gangs who specialize in the trafficking of antique rhino horns.
  • Loopholes in South Africa’s trophy hunting laws are being exploited to “source” rhino horn legally. Rhino horn syndicates are working with professional hunters to run rhino horn from South Africa to the illegal rhino horn market in Southeast Asia.
  • Instead of adhering to its obligation as a CITES signatory, it was confirmed that China is pumping millions of dollars into a “rhino horn scheme” and encouraging the consumption of rhino horn. Besides undermining decades of rhino conservation efforts, this scheme endangers the lives of people who are in need of actual medical attention.

Four of the five living rhino species, clockwise from upper left: Greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino, black rhino, white rhino.

The fifth rhino species, the Javan rhino, is seen in the video below:

The total population of all five rhino species is now estimated to be just over 28,000. Javan rhinos are the least numerous, with only 48 individuals surviving.

International campaign

The World Rhino Day tradition was established last year by WWF as an opportunity for people all over the world to take a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.

Continuing the tradition, World Rhino Day 2011 is an international team effort, led by Zimbabwe-based Chishakwe Ranch and US-based Saving Rhinos LLC (that’s me).

Co-organizer Lisa-Jane Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch noted on the Saving Species blog that one of the main aims of this year’s World Rhino Day is to debunk the myths that fuel the demand for horn and the poaching of rhino.

Rhino horn has no medicinal value, despite the long held belief to the contrary. Rhino are dying for nobody’s benefit – except that of the criminals involved in the poaching rings.

The World Rhino Day 2011 page is already set up on Facebook® (thank you, Chishakwe!) as an online “venue” for everyone to join forces, stay informed, and share plans for the Big Day.

NGOs, zoos, educational institutions, and the public are encouraged to participate in celebrating World Rhino Day 2011.

While I know of various plans hatching in South Africa and the US, here are just a few of the activities in progress:

  • Nepal: PARC/Nepal is putting up World Rhino Day posters and engaging in public awareness activities with local communities in the Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone.
  • Zimbabwe: Chishakwe Ranch is working directly with village schools, getting the children involved with projects, such as creating rhino posters.
  • Southeast Asia: TRAFFIC Southeast Asia is featuring rhinos in September, as part of their “Twelve in Trouble” online awareness campaign.
  • World-renowned Save the Rhino International is announcing World Rhino Day to subscribers in the September edition of their ezine, RhiNews.

There is a comprehensive list of ideas at “Are you looking for a way to make a difference?” on the International Rhino Foundation website.

In addition, I put together some suggestions on my blog at “Cookies, Crafts and Cocktails: Fresh Ideas for World Rhino Day 2011.”

‘All in for Rhinos’

Putting it all together: A crowdsourced project called ““All in for Rhinos” is being created to commemorate World Rhino Day 2011!

“All in for Rhinos” will feature photo and poster submissions, and short video clips contributed by the public, NGOs, zoos, and other businesses promoting World Rhino Day.

For more information about World Rhino Day 2011, you can email Chishakwe Ranch at management (at) chishakwe (dot) com, or contact us via the World Rhino Day page.

You can contact me via Twitter (@savingrhinos) or email (info [at] savingrhinos [dot] org) regarding World Rhino Day and/or the “All in for Rhinos” project.

I’ll be posting more information about “All in for Rhinos” and World Rhino Day 2011 on my blog.

In the meantime, here’s to the rhinos!

Photo #1 (clockwise from upper left): Suman Bhattarai (PARC/Nepal); Bruce1ee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons; black and white rhino © iStockphoto.com. Photo #2: © iStockphoto.com

Photo #3 courtesy and © Pam Krzyza

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About the Author

Rhishja is the founder of Annamiticus, a nonprofit organization which provides educational information and news about wildlife crime and endangered species. Rhishja has journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. At CITES CoP16 in Bangkok, she joined colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species from economic exploitation. When Rhishja is not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, she enjoys gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.



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