The third blog in our Big Five series covers the rhino. This is no coincidence – today marks World Rhino Day. Today is the day the world celebrates this incredible species and reminds us all how crucial their conservation is.
These gentle giants are incredibly close to our hearts here at Lalibela. They are an iconic part of South Africa’s wildlife and losing them would be a massive loss. Rhinos are under constant threat due to poaching. Here at Lalibela, our anti-poaching unit is with our rhinos 24/7 to ensure their protection. We are not alone in this. Throughout the world there are non-profit organisations, businesses, and individuals working towards the mutual goal of eliminating rhino poaching.
In celebration of World Rhino Day, here are a few reasons why saving the rhinos is so important.
1. Big Five
As mentioned above, the rhino is one of the iconic Big Five. The extinction of the rhino would mean the end of an iconic part of Africa’s wildlife.
2. Ancient Creatures
Rhinos are ingrained in Africa’s identity. They are pre-historic creatures which have been around for 50 million years. They are even depicted in the ancient bushman rock paintings found in Southern Africa.
3. Umbrella Species
Rhinos are share habitats and interact with a number of different species. Their protection results in the protection of these animals, birds, insects, fish and plants too.
4. Local Communities
Because of its iconic status as part of the Big Five and second-biggest living land mammal, rhinos attracts a number of tourists every year. Tourism is one of the biggest contributors to South Africa’s economy – it is a crucial contributor to job creation and upliftment of local, rural communities. The extinction of the rhino would impact on tourism and on the lives currently being uplifted by tourism.
5. It is our responsibility
It is our fault as humans that rhinos are an endangered species, and therefore our responsibility to ensure they are protected. At the beginning of the 19th century there were approximately 1 million rhinos. Today, there are only around 28 000 remaining in the wild. We have caused this decline due to poaching, and misinformation about the medicinal benefits of their horns.
Find out more about World Rhino Day and how you can help here.