"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." These are the words of acting head of communications SANParks, Paul Daphne commenting on the organisation's celebrations of the third annual World Rhino Day on 22 September 2012 worldwide.
This year's theme for World Rhino Day is "Five Rhino Species Forever", which celebrates both the African and Asian rhino species. At the time, the statistics for rhino poaching in the Kruger National Park (KNP) stood at 489 for this year.
"It is indeed worrying that we are still losing such a high number of rhinos but the increasing number of successful arrests and steeper sentences such as the combined 58 years imprisonment imposed on two suspected rhino poachers recently is encouraging." The KNP had arrested 49 suspected poachers up until the time of the celebrations, this year. This is not only thanks to the increased cooperation from ordinary members of the public but from corporate South Africa joining the fight against rhino poaching.
At the recent 702 Walk the Talk and the Jacaranda FM Spring Walk, SANParks decided to Walk for Rhino's, a campaign to create awareness for the plight our country's rhino and to encourage zero tolerance towards rhino poaching, to stop the killing of our national heritage. Daphne says, "Rhino poaching is a crime that is undoubtedly fuelled by a thriving black market trade in rhino horn. The community needs to take part in anti-rhino poaching initiatives. We need to go out there and expose these selfish people who are undermining our country. They live in our neighbourhoods and they should be identifiable through their lifestyles."
Rhino Day 2014
To celebrate Rhino Month, many global organizations have developed campaigns to raise funds and rapidly spread awareness to stop rhino poaching.
On 20 September Race for Rhinos, presented by Resolution Health and Durbanville Hills, will take place at van Gaalen MTB Track in Magaliesberg. The proceeds of the event will go to the Renosterveld Trust and Poachedrhino.org.
The Rhino Day March will be held on 21 March in Pretoria. The march is organized by Unite Against Rhino Poaching, SANparks and the Department of Environmental Affairs. Participants will march from Church Square to Pretoria National Zoo.
To help fund the Rhino DNA Indexing System, Castle Lager Boucher Legacy, are relying on the support of public to make SMS donations.
Social Media For Good
Many organizations are using social media as a platform to create awareness. Go Rhino created "Share the Rhinopiness" campaign to create awareness among the youth and to promote their World Youth Rhino Summit for 21 - 23 September. The aim of the summit is to engage young conservationists to come up with strategies to reserve the rhino and other wildlife.
Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) in association with International Rhino Foundation launched a "Selfie for Rhino" social media campaign. Contestants are encouraged post self portraits ('selfies') along with an inspiring message to encourage the public avoid consuming the rhino horn.
Other notable global efforts for rhino day includes Czech Republic's photographic competitions to raise awareness for the war against rhino poaching and to celebrate.
The Cincinnati Zoo and the Botanical gardens will be honoring rhino by giving visitors a chance to learn about endangered rhino.
For more information about World Rhino Day, visit: http://www.worldrhinoday.org/