The number of rhinos poached in South Africa sky-rocketed last year and with 57 cases of rhino poaching already reported this year, 2013 should be a year in which we all take an active stance against the slaughter of these majestic animals. The white rhinos at the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve are always popular with guests and like many others we hope that we will be able to enjoy the company of these animals for a long time to come.
The large number of cars adorned with red rhino horns and the popularity of shopping bags that carry messages against rhino poaching suggests that many people are already sympathetic to the plight of rhinos. Yet there is always more that can be done. The anti-rhino poaching organisation OSCAP (Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching) suggests these additional ways through which rhino poaching awareness can be created:
- Participate in Rhino Fridays by wearing your ‘Save The Rhino’ type T-shirt and then talking to folk about it
- Share and forward any emails or newspaper articles that you come across with everyone you know. The more people that are talking about it, the more people are doing something about it the more chances there are that the powers that be will do more than they are to save our rhino.
- Whenever you or your family and friends participate in sporting events ie fun runs/walks, cycling events, triathlons etc, call yourselves ‘Team Rhino’, wear rhino T-shirts have a rhino mascot!
- Get your class or school to make Friday’s Rhino Fridays and get all your class mates to send a postcard to President Zuma.
- Encourage your school and or social group, art group whatever to start project like making a life sized rhino out of papier-mâché /wire, etc. Possibly in conjunction with a prominent business or your local radio station or newspaper. Have the rhino on display outside your school or at the front of a highly visible shopping cente (with their permission).
- Write about it, talk about it, share about it.
These are some of the things that we can do from the South African side, however, the sad reality remains that as long as there is a demand for rhino horn products, primarily in China, there will be poachers who are willing to keep up the supply. While stronger legal action against rhino poachers is needed in South Africa, it is also necessary that we put pressure on our government to engage seriously with the Chinese government around the need to create educational materials and to take other measures to dispel the myth that rhino horn is a remedy for a range of physical ailments. After all, history shows us that working together is crucial to overcoming great obstacles such as this one.
Read more about the rhino poaching issue on the OSCAP website.