Every month in South Africa, rhinos are found dead after being killed for their horns. Last year alone, 1175 were murdered for their horns, which are made largely from keratin, the same protein found in hair, fingernails, and animal hooves. Their horns are used in traditional Chinese medicines, but more recently, their horns are regarded as a status symbol in parts of Asia, where wealthy high-rollers like to be seen sprinkling powdered rhino horn into their drinks.
With China and Vietnam’s ruthless demand for this ‘delicacy’, rhino numbers are dropping at a rapid rate, bringing the threat of their extinction even closer… to within the next decade. And although those fighting the war on wildlife crime keep improving their resources and technology, so does that of the poachers who are funded by international criminal networks. Ending poachers’ path of destruction requires sophisticated equipment, training and support – all of which requires constant funding.
Enter Project Rhino KZN.
Project Rhino KZN was launched on World Rhino Day, 22 September 2011. They have partnered up with the Hawks, as well as like-minded organisations (private and community-owned reserves, rhino owners, leading conservation NGOs and anti-poaching security specialists) across KZN who bring their expertise to protect KZN’s rhino populations.
You can see the video of their ongoing battle here. (WARNING: graphic content).
They have also teamed up with MRP Sport with the sale of rhino print t-shirts for kids, women and men. By purchasing these tees, a portion of the sale of each one goes Project Rhino KZN to secure the technology, awareness and support needed to conserve our rhino populations. Our most recent cheque handover saw the MRP Sport team hand over an amazing R311,123 – all thanks to MRP Sport’s loyal customers.
Another Project Rhino KZN initiative involves talking to the youth in the universal language of art. The Rhino Art campaign is aimed at schools nearest the reserves where rhino populations are most abundant. What’s most upsetting that less than 2% of the children at these schools have seen a rhino in the wild. If you’d like to get involved and find out how you can sponsor a school, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Rhino Art campaign here.