Upon nearing the birth of my first child towards the end of this month, one can’t help but reflect on a multitude of life’s aspects, as I am sure all of those parents reading this would strongly attest to. From how we intend on raising the little one, to what environment we desire to place ourselves in, what we expose them to, and essentially what world they grow up in.
Almost ingrained in everyone that finds themselves either working at Londolozi or visiting us, is a much deeper connection to nature or the essence to find ourselves closer to it. Barry wrote a blog not so long ago on a topic known as Biophilia where, in a nutshell, he dives into the ‘whys’ of our desire to view and observe nature and beautiful things. Although we, as a human race, find insurmountable joy in observing beautiful places, incredible views or vistas, animals, people, cars, or tactile objects (each to their own), some still seem to feel that the world owes us something.
When, as we step back to view the bigger picture, we are in fact a tiny little cog in the engine that runs the world. No matter how small, however, the influence of our cog is enormous. We are no longer merely living on the planet but rather altering the way it functions. WE NEED THE PLANET MORE THAN IT NEEDS US!
As this change accentuates there are a number of umbrella species that are unable to adapt quickly enough to keep up. In addition, through direct human influence, animal populations have been reduced.
One species in particular, which I personally hold close to my heart is the rhino, which, today, is celebrated on World Rhino Day. Rhinos are the umbrella species that create awareness for all the others in the ecosystem, and they are in crisis. But rather than shying away from the facts and the truth, let’s embrace it, raising awareness, and, in doing so, begin to resolve the issue.
At the root of the rhino crisis is the myth that rhino horn contains curative properties. World Rhino Day highlights efforts to debunk the myths and diminish the demand for rhino horn.
It is an ongoing fight to prevent the plight of the rhino, and short-term actions only do so much. More attention needs to be directed towards the longer-term plan.
Education and elimination of the demand
Education comes in two main areas: locally raising awareness amongst local communities to show just how severe the problem is and incorporating them into our protection efforts, and efforts to decipher the myths of why rhino horn has, incorrectly, become so valuable and to bring about a change of mindset amongst the followers of these theories on an international scale.
Through safe havens such as Londolozi and cooperation with a number of reserves within the private sector, rhino numbers are on the rise again. This furthers the cry for support as it is a 365-days-a-year effort where efforts are concentrated and more effective. Being aware of the crisis is the first step. Each doing our own part will ensure that not only rhinos but many other species will be around for our grandchildren and their children to see. Through one night at Londolozi, you become part of the conservation effort. The education of eight children and one adult, the welfare of five employees and their dependents, the Tracker Academy and Goodwork Foundation excel, and most importantly the creation of safe havens for rhino and other species. Your Safari means, The Power to Make Change!
Thankfully though, through repeated drives and campaigns, the required awareness of the threats to their survival is ever-spreading, and the hard fight to save the species is gathering momentum. Hopefully, this magical and prehistoric animal may be around for my children to grow up with. Happy World Rhino Day!