The subject of this post is slightly different to what I usually talk about but it’s an issue I feel strongly about. The crisis of Rhino poaching, or poaching of any animal, is something that needs to change so I decided to write about this to help raise awareness.
I recently attended the Helping Rhinos event ‘Wild World of Rhinos: Their moment of truth’ at the Royal Institution in London.
Helping Rhinos is a charity that works to protect rhinos against poaching and support conservation, while providing education about the plight of the rhino and other endangered species in Africa. Without charities such as this, rhinos will be extinct within 10 – 15 years.
Why do rhinos need our help?
- Rhinos are under huge threat from poaching. There is demand for rhino horn particularly in Vietnam and China as it is seen as having medicinal benefits – but it has been proven countless times that there are NO benefits at all.
- Rhino horn is seen as a ‘hangover cure’ and symbol of wealth in these countries – again rhino horn provides no help after a heavy night out and the fact they are being killed for greed and money is so sad.
- Rhino horn is as valuable as gold on the black market, and international criminal cartels are behind most of the trade.
- Although I won’t go into it here, the poaching of rhinos for their horns is carried out brutally and violently. There is no quick death, but hours of suffering and babies watching their mothers being killed in front of them.
And finally, perhaps the most shocking fact of all:
There are only three northern white rhinos left on the planet. THREE.
And this is all down to the actions of man.
The event took place in the very impressive Royal Institution in London. Think grand staircases and corridors lined floor to ceiling with old books.
Guests were able to wander round the venue and have a look at the art and exhibits that were there – all rhino and conservation themed of course! We were served drinks and nibbles and it was a great opportunity to talk to other guests.
After the drinks reception we then took our seats and were treated to some brilliant speeches!
First up was Simon Jones, CEO of Helping Rhinos, who introduced the event and spoke about the charity and its aims.
We then heard from Richard Vigne, CEO of Ol Pejeta. Ol Pejeta is a wildlife conservancy in Kenya where the last three northern white rhinos live. The money raised from the event would all go towards supporting the conservation efforts there. Ol Pejeta also provides sanctuary to other endangered species and works with the community to provide jobs, healthcare and education.
We also heard speeches from Giles Clarke and Simon King (who you might recognise from Big Cat Diary).
All three guest speakers were very inspirational – all highlighting the importance of taking action now before it is too late to save the species.
After an informative question and answer session it was time for an auction led by Jonty Hearnden (from Cash in the Attic)! This was the first time I had been to an auction and it was so exciting. The bids came in thick and fast for the different pieces of art up for auction and the generosity of people who were willing to donate large amounts of money to an amazing charity was brilliant to see.
The main piece was a painting titled ‘The Last Three’ by Karen Laurence-Rowe, depicting the last northern white rhinos left in the world. It was a beautiful and dramatic piece, and as Jonty pointed out, it is pretty much priceless as in the near future this rhino species will no longer exist.
The message that stuck with me the most from the evening was that of Simon King. He highlighted that while it is sad that we are faced with this situation we must have hope for the future – that through education and awareness we can bring an end to rhino poaching and the suffering of animals, and change the opinions of those who think it is an acceptable thing to do.
Overall the event raised over £55 000 which is an amazing amount that will be put to good use in the fight against rhino poaching.
After the event I wanted to make a difference and help this amazing charity as much as I could… so meet my adopted baby rhino, Nandi:
For just £5 a month you can adopt your own – that’s basically the cost of a cup of coffee and cake and it’s so easy to do!
And you know that person who is impossible to buy for, well this is the perfect present and they can receive updates and info about their baby rhino throughout the year! The link to the adoption area of the website is here:
And you can check out the whole website for the charity while you’re at it too!
Finally , Some wise words to end on from Anne Frank:
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Photo Credit: Rupert Rivett. I was kindly given permission to use these photos by Simon Jones.