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It’s World Rhino Day, so it’s time to channel your rage and frustration about rhino poaching into meaningful action that could help save these iconic beasts from extinction. Don’t think it’s possible? Well, at one point, there was only a handful (literally 10 to 50) white rhinos left on Earth, in the middle of a royal hunting ground in South Africa. Now, there are about 20,000. Successful conservation is possible, even in the direst of circumstances.
Inspired? Good. Here are five ways to help rhinos, which are facing a terrifying surge in poaching over the past decade.
Adopt a Rhino!
Sounds expensive, but it isn’t. For as little as $30, you can “adopt” one of seven rare Sumatran rhinos under the care of the International Rhino Foundation — they even have names! There are fewer than 100 of these rhinos remaining in the wild. They live in isolated forests that are being destroyed to make room for the cultivation and production of palm oil. Your adoption includes an official certificate and a photo of your rhino, so you can blast your new buddy all over Instagram.
Help End Corruption
Rhino poaching is absolutely out of control in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and judicial corruption is believed to be the driving factor. Operating with impunity because they know they’ll be able to buy their way out of court, organized crime syndicates are keying in on the rhino horn trade. And with the price of a single horn fetching astronomical returns due to surging demand in China and Vietnam, the risk is worth it to the bad guys.
Jamie Joseph of Saving the Wild is a native South African working on the ground to expose the widespread corruption that is fueling rhino poaching. And so far, she’s crushing it. Dumisani Gwala, the alleged rhino-poaching kingpin operating in KZN, has been arrested, but his case has been delayed more than 16 times since 2014. Jamie is determined to see justice delivered. Help her by supporting her work and organization.
March Against Extinction
Marches have proven to be a big success over the past year, and another is just around the corner. The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos will take place on Saturday, October 7th. Here’s a list of participating cities. If there’s no march nearby, you can start your own!
Report Instances of the Illegal Wildlife Trade
There’s an app for that! It’s called Wildlife Witness, and it lets anyone anywhere in the world anonymously report the illegal wildlife trade — rhino horn or otherwise. The app also provides tips on how to safely look for clues to aid your sleuthing, as well as plenty of info to keep you up to date and educated about the animals you’re protecting. Get it in the app store.
Support the Awesome Organizations Fighting for Rhinos
There are several organizations doing rad work to protect and conserve rhinos, but all those scientists, staff and equipment cost big bucks. That’s why your credit card is such a potent weapon in the war to end poaching and preserve rhinos forever. Different organizations specialize in different areas. Here are a few options:
- The World Wildlife Fund is tackling most aspects of this issue, including habitat protection, addressing the illegal trade, monitoring and tracking rhinos, establishing new populations and strengthening law enforcement.
- The African Wildlife Foundation is engaging the public, providing sanctuary for rhinos, recruiting wildlife scouts and working with the legal system.
- The International Rhino Foundation uses conservation and research to support viable populations of the five remaining rhino species and the communities that coexist with them.
- Save the Rhino funds local, ongoing conservation programs to protect and increase rhino numbers and population distribution in Africa and Asia.
- The Rhino Project is working to devalue rhino horns by contaminating them with dye while they are still on the animal (without incurring any harm to the rhino, of course) so they are inedible and there is no incentive to poach and traffic them.
- Saving the Wild is working to end judicial corruption in South Africa and bring alleged rhino-poaching kingpin Dumisani Gwala to justice.