The rhinos of South Africa desperately need our help. Poaching in Africa is at an all-time high. Rhinos are being killed at the rate of one every nine hours. In 2014, over 1000 rhinos have been killed, a rate that is dramatically rising each year (just ten years prior, only four rhinos were lost). It is clear that this problem is getting worse. There are only 5000 black rhinos left on the continent, a 97.6% reduction since 1960. It is estimated that this rhino population will become extinct over the next 10-20 years.
You might wonder… why are rhinos being killed at such alarming rates?
It all comes down to money.
Killing rhinos for their horns is a very lucrative business. The street value for rhino horn is estimated at around $45,000 a pound on the black market. It is sold mostly in East Asia where it is believed to have healing and aphrodisiac properties, despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to back these claims.
The sad reality is that the Black Rhinoceros is critically endangered and being killed faster than the species can breed and populate themselves. Similarly, the Western Black Rhinoceros has officially been declared extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources (IUCN) in 2011; the Vietnamese Rhinoceros has been extinct since 2009. Let’s ensure that the Black Rhinoceros of Africa does not suffer the same tragic fate.
The extinction of the Black Rhino would have a devastating effect on the entire African grassland ecosystem. These giant herbivores graze and eat only certain kinds of plants and grasses, which in turn allows other types of plants to grow. In regions where the rhinos have foraged, there is evidence of more short grass lawns, which equates to a more diverse landscape across the savannah. When the rhinos are gone, this will have a disastrous impact on a variety of other plants and animals.
Rhinos Without Borders
Thankfully, we have some forward-thinking conservation advocates who are aiming to help the rhinos overcome this dire situation. Enter Rhinos Without Borders, a project of hope for the rhinos of South Africa. The project is spearheaded by National Geographic Explorers In Residence / Great Plains Foundation founders / award-winning filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. The idea behind Rhinos Without Borders is to raise money in order to relocate members of the hunted and endangered rhino population from South Africa to Botswana, where they will have a highly increased chance of survival. Botswana has the lowest poaching rate in all of Africa – the Botswana Defense Force ensures that these animals will not be killed. With a no-nonsense approach to stopping poachers (a “shoot-to-kill” policy), along with low political corruption rates, Botswana appears to be the best place for the rhinos to survive in Africa.
Moving rhinos from South Africa to Botswana isn’t cheap. It will cost approximately $45,000 to relocate one rhino. The goal is to move at least 100 rhinos into the wild in Botswana where poaching is virtually non-existent. The end goal is to develop a new breeding nucleus where the rhino population can thrive. Rhinos Without Borders hopes to increase the Botswana national herd to reach a target of 400 rhinos by 2016. They hope to raise at least $5 million to attain their goals of moving at least 100 rhinos to Botswana to keep them from being poached and going extinct.
How can we help?
Travelers Building Change and Green Travel Media have partnered to form the #JustOneRhino campaign to help raise money for Rhinos Without Borders. This project includes 100+ bloggers (including us!) to bring awareness to their plight. Their goal is to raise $45,000 for Rhinos Without Borders, with 100% of the donations being used to relocate one rhino. As Travelers Building Change founder, Jeremy Scott Foster states:
The rhino poaching situation in Africa is critical and, given the incredibly high cost of saving them, we wanted to focus our efforts on a difficult project that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should. With rhinos due to become extinct within the next 20 years, it seemed almost obvious that this was the organization we needed to support.
The efforts of both Jeremy Scott Foster and Green Travel Media co-founder, Bret Love have been enormous. They have partnered with some amazing companies who have generously donated some fantastic prizes. With each donation to Rhinos Without Borders, you will be entered to win some incredible travel prizes, including some once in a lifetime experiences! Here are the prizes you can win with your donation:
Cobblers Cove 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 Hideaway and Spa on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Value $5,241
• Vouchers for 2 people at Bali Jiwa Villain in Bali, Indonesia. Value $1,000
• (2) Vouchers 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
• Vouchers 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 Renaissance Asheville
• Travel Blog Success Lifetime Membership
• African Elephant Photo Pack
• HDR Timelapse Video Camera w/Lens
• Blogger Mentorship Package from Green Global Travel
more coming soon!
Donate to #JustOneRhino Now at Travelers Building Change!
Be sure to follow the hashtag #JustOneRhino on Twitter, and please share this article with all of your friends to spread awareness about this project. The campaign runs from December 1st, 2014 until March 1st, 2015. Be sure to donate by March 1st! The prize winners will be announced on March 3rd, 2015 (World Wildlife Day).
It is vital that we do something to help the rhinos. We must try to undo the harm that is caused by others to these majestic creatures. Time is running out.