Rhinos may not be as snuggly as the endangered giant panda, but they still need protecting. Victims of rampant poaching, as their horns are erroneously hailed as a natural Viagra, among other misnomers in Asia, all five species of rhinos are on the endangered list. Two species of rhino in Asia – Javan and Sumatran – are critically endangered. In honor of World Rhino Day 2013, annually held on September 22nd to raise awareness in saving the rhino, here are three ways you can help:
1. Visit Rhinos in Africa with Save the Rhinos
Since spotting rhinos in the wild are so rare, seeing one not only is an incredible experience but raises awareness as well. Traveling to see rhinos in their natural surroundings builds job opportunities and promotes protection of rhinos within the community. Here are few ways to not only see a rhino but also spend your vacation dollars supporting the non-profit Save the Rhinos:
Rhino Trek South Africa
Like to combine adventure with volunteerism, head out with Save the Rhino to trek through some of South Africa’s most beautiful game reserves.
Here are the deets:
Location: Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Duration: 5 days of trekking; 8 days in total
Distance: Average distance of 18kms/day (mountainous savannah terrain)
Group size: 8 participants per group plus two guides
In the heart of the Kingdom of the Zulu, at the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains our journey will start. As well as rhino, all these reserves also host various other big game such as elephant, buffalo, giraffe and hippo; not to mention being a birding “hotspot” with over 350 species present in this area. You will cover nearly 100kms in five days, trekking your way through savannah and the rolling mountains of this area.
For more information on the Rhino Trek South Africa, head here.
Rhino Climb Kilimanjaro
Many companies and charities offer Kilimanjaro challenges; none has Save the Rhino’s unique aspects:
- Trek on the little-used Rongai route where you’ll see few others and have a real sense of wilderness
- Go on safari in Mkomazi National Park after the trek and visit Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary- this is exclusive to Save the Rhino and not available with any other operator
- Have the satisfaction of visiting the project you’ll be helping to support and finding out first-hand the difference you have made
Read more about Rhino Climb Kilimanjaro here.
2. Donate to Non-Profits Working to Protect Rhinos
Can’t make it overseas to witness a rhino in the wild? The non-profit Save the Rhinos, International Rhino Foundation or World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are all legit rhino preservation organizations to donate to. Watch this short video for more info on WWF’s efforts:
Only 300 Sumatran rhinos exist today. Adopt one or give an rhino adoption as a unique gift to a loved one here.
3. Raise Awareness
Are you a social media butterfly? Flutter your wings for a little rhino love, especially on World Rhino Day 2013, September 22nd.
Here are some interesting facts to share using the #worldrhinoday hashtag, provided by World Wildlife Organization:
In almost all rhino conservation areas, there are other valuable plants and animals. The protection of rhinos helps protect other species including elephants, buffalo, and small game.
At least one rhino is poached every day because of exploding illegal Asian demand for its horn. Highly sought as a status symbol, the horn is also mistakenly believed to cure cancer in Vietnam.
White and black rhinos are virtually the same color – black.
The rhino species dates back to 50 million years ago.
The Javan rhino once roamed from northeastern India through Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the islands of Sumatra and Java in Indonesia. Today, as few as 40 individuals are thought to survive, making the Javan rhino one of the rarest large mammal species.
Black rhinos run on their toes and can go as fast as 35 mph.
To find a World Rhino Day 2013 event to attend near you, head here.
Photos of mom and baby rhino taken on our game drive last year in Masai Mara, Kenya.