On September 22nd, 2012, the third annual World Rhino Day was celebrated, with over a dozen countries participating!
World Rhino Day brought NGOs, zoos, rhino sanctuaries, and concerned citizens across the globe together to raise awareness and funds for the five species of rhinoceros — all of which are under threat from the illegal rhino horn trade.
World Rhino Day was initiated by WWF in 2010 and has since become a global phenomenon. Here’s a look at some of the World Rhino Day 2012 success stories:
All of the Sumatran rhinos enjoyed a special basket of treats, prepared by their keepers.
To mark World Rhino Day, Save the Rhino International in London held its very first wine tasting event! 60 people enjoyed a fascinating evening, with Neil from Linton Park Wines delivering an informative talk about the seven different wines he had brought for guests to taste.
At the event, the work of Save the Rhino was introduced and guests took part in a rhino myth-buster quiz to help raise awareness. The event was kindly hosted by Vivat Bacchus restaurant, London Bridge.
In Hanoi, Education for Nature-Vietnam joined CITES Vietnam, the US Embassy in Vietnam and other wildlife protection organizations, in a World Rhino Day ceremony. Hunting, illegal trade, and rhino horn consumption led to extinction of the Javan Rhino in Vietnam in 2010, and now Vietnam is one of the main markets contributing to the killing of rhinos elsewhere, especially in South Africa.
Within the framework of this event, ENV held a small wildlife trade exhibit with information boards and banners. The general message of the exhibit was to stop consumption and trade of rhino horn, as well as other wildlife.
In Harare, Zimbabwe, citizens gathered for musical entertainment and a parade, where they marched from Town House to Africa Union Square. Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment addressed the crowd, saying that 2012 was special in that it was dedicated to the Year of the Rhino and should inspire co-operation for rhino conservation amongst countries, governments, private sector and individuals.
As in previous years, South Africa went all out for World Rhino Day, with multiple events organized by concerned citizens, businesses, and conservation groups. Acting Head of Communications at South African National Parks (SANParks), Paul Daphne, said, “World Rhino Day is an opportunity to highlight the efforts being made to fight the scourge of rhino poaching around the world and to debunk the myths and reduce the demand for rhino horn.”
Skydive for Rhinos is an African Conservation Trust (ACT) initiative with the objective of raising R10 Million for on-the-ground, verifiable Rhino conservation and anti-poaching efforts in South Africa.
Another popular event in South Africa was the Rhino Run.
The Rhino Run was a huge success, with all 5 runs going off well around South Africa on Saturday. We had complete weather extremes, from pouring rain in Gauteng, to light rain in Cape Town and PE and Durban, to blistering heat (32C in the shade) in Mpumalanga, but a great time was had by all. We had somewhere between around 1700 runners in total country wide.
Meanwhile in Namibia, Sue Wagner from Save the Rhino Trust reports that World Rhino Day was “Amazing!”
I have been blown away by the phenomenal support of local people and businesses. Close to 30 different businesses gave us gift vouchers and prizes for our event and many were also represented at the function. In short, I would say, a successful SRT event that raised immeasurable awareness on World Rhino Day as well as some significant funding.
Kids from three schools — The International School of Walvis Bay, Private School Swakopmund and Namib Primary — took to the streets of Swakop, wearing masks and carrying posters and, in just over two hours, raised close on to N$ 6000 (US $728)!
Rhino Travels and Rhino Media & Communication in Guwahati, Assam, India, hosted a thought provoking presentation on the conservation of Rhinoceros in the different parts of the world: Current Challenges in Conservation of Rhinos in Rhino Range Countries.
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya hosted an entire “rhino week” and provided local residents a chance to get into the conservancy for free and see rhinos. On World Rhino Day, Ol Pejeta partnered with Laikipia Wildlife Forum to host a cycling with the rhino competition to raise awareness in Laikipia.
There was a huge turnout with over 100 participants cycling. Children also had a painting competition depicting rhinos and different messages.
Also in Kenya, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy took high school students from one of the Lewa sponsored schools on a game drive round the Conservancy, where they had the amazing opportunity to see a family of white rhinos lazing around by the roadside.
A rhino fact quiz was held, and the winner received a beautiful autographed coffee table book.
Nepal’s World Rhino Day was celebrated with grassroots coordination between the Mrigakunja Buffer Zone User Committee, Prakriti Pathsala Network Jhuwani Resource Center, and Save the Rhino Foundation Nepal.
Student drawing and essay competitions on rhino conservation were held, with “The Role of Students in Rhino Conservation” as the essay focus. In addition, an Educational Toolkit covering all five rhino species was distributed to participants. Local media coverage was extensive, and included Radio Chitwan, Beso Television, Chitwan Khabar, the Chitwan Post, the Pardarsi Daily, and the Kayakairan Daily.
At Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW, Australia, funds were raised for the International Rhino Foundation from the “Jump for Rhinos!” at the Jumping Castle on Saturday, and from Rhino Trail keeper talks, the keeper cookie sales, from a behind-the-scenes tour given to the Dubbo Field Naturalists group, and a little bucket shaking at the visitor plaza.
Funds were also raised with Munch Mobile rhino cookie sales (“Munch for Rhinos!”), donation buckets at the gift shop and ticketing desk, and Zoofari tours and framed print sales.
Rhino Internet sponsored a fundraiser at the Phoenix Zoo in honor of World Rhino Day, and sold custom designed t-shirts — with all proceeds going to the rhinos.
The Rhino Internet team was onsite at the Phoenix Zoo with keepers, visiting the white rhino Half-Ear, and helping to raise awareness about rhinos.
Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, held an awareness-raising event featuring keeper talks, hands on activities, and t-shirt sales to benefit rhino conservation.
Visitors also purchased raffle tickets to win a chance to meet Cameron Park Zoo’s resident rhinos, Babe and Jabba!
At Zoo Basel in Switzerland, a special information booth was set up to call attention to the urgent need to protect rhinoceroses. Zoo Basel uses a portion of proceeds from admissions to support an in situ project in India.
Federal Air placed a World Rhino Day badge on its website
Edinburgh Zoo held a number of special rhino activities for kids, including coloring, making a rhino mask, and being a “rhino ranger” to identify either Bertus or Samir, the Zoo’s greater one-horned rhinos.
Please join rhino supporters around the globe for World Rhino Day 2013! In the meantime, check out additional photos and events on the World Rhino Day Facebook page!
Continuing the battle
The battle to protect rhinos from rhino horn syndicates, wildlife traffickers, and corrupt elements continues. South Africa’s rhino death toll for 2012 reached 381 two weeks ago, with some sources claiming that the figure is now closer to 400.
Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia has been successfully protecting the unique, desert-adapted black rhino for 30 years.
Following last year’s successful World Rhino Day, Save the Rhino Trust is getting ready for a “bigger and better” World Rhino Day 2012 celebration!
We feel an enormous sense of responsibility towards this last truly free-ranging black rhino population in the world. This year, we again plan to commemorate World Rhino Day and to go bigger and better than we did in 2011.
Save the Rhino Trust Namibia participated in World Rhino Day last year through the following events and activities:
A banner advertising World Rhino Day was carried on the website.
A free editorial in The Namibian newspaper on September 2nd, which resulted in a donation from a Canadian visitor and a subsequent donation from his 9 year old daughter.
Sunshine Tours, one of Save the Rhino Trust Namibia’s sponsors, donated a much-needed 4×4 vehicle.
On September 22nd, various suppliers of both Sunshine Tours and Save the Rhino Trust attended a function where SRT gave a presentation. From this event, an individual Swakopmund girl decided to sponsor a rhino calf and Tacho Namibia decided to donate two vehicle tracking systems!!
Posters advertising World Rhino Day were displayed at strategic places and folded bookmark-size brochures raising awareness of the plight of rhinos were distributed to all travellers on Sunshine Tours shuttle buses on World Rhino Day.
World Rhino Day 2011 messages and posters created by the children of Mondesa Youth Opportunities
Save the Rhino Trust Namibia visited three different schools on World Rhino Day 2011, giving presentations on rhino and the threats they face. At one school, four posters were made by the children with messages about saving rhino and were distributed to the President’s Office, as well as the offices of the Minister of Environment and Tourism, the Minister of Mines and Energy and the Minister of Justice. Subsequent to this, one child spoke out for the rhino on a school visit to the Houses of Parliament — so the message really got through!
Message to the Prime Minister:
“We would like to thank you for putting so much effort into protecting and preserving one of our most spectacular wonders of nature for future generations’ economy and education. We are really determined to stop poachers. By using the media, there is a great chance of educating Namibians about these AMAZING ANIMALS. We hope you will prioritize this issue because RHINOS will otherwise go extinct very quickly and our children will not be able to see these AMAZING ANIMALS OF AFRICA!”
Message to the Minister of Environment and Tourism:
“We would like to thank you for taking the rhinos into consideration and caring about them. Even though the rhinos are becoming extinct, we understand that you are doing everything in your power to prolong the lives of the rhinos. Thank you for making farmers and people aware of poachers that want to destroy the rhinos for personal purposes.”
Message to the Minister of Mines and Energy:
“We would like you to join us in a way that you can HELP us by just doing your part. Mining is something good and fun, we think, but part-time nature is crying because we don’t take care of its valuable creatures including rhinos.”
Message to the Minister of Justice:
“Namibia is very proud of our rhinos, but rhinos are being poached every day across Africa. We hope that if the poachers steal our rhinos, you will punish them very strongly. Their motive is to make an income, but poaching is not the solution!”