About Whale of a Time
Whale of a Time is riding the wave of change, promoting successful stewardship of our planet to create a peaceful, morally just, humane and sustainable culture, while ensuring survival of all species and their natural habitats. Whale of a Time organises creative and fun, inspiring and empowering events on environmental issues to encourage active participation living a sustainable lifestyle inspired by a positive attitude. We engage young and old from all walks of life through the Whale of a Time Community, the Whale of a Time Festival and the Whale of a Time Workshop. Our work has been recognised by many national and community and environmental awards schemes.
Whale of a Time Tweats
Thursday, 22 September 2011
On World Rhino Day, we’re working to call attention to the plight facing the world’s rhinos. Rhinos in Africa and Asia are facing a battle for survival, with the situation in Africa particularly dire. This year, more than 285 rhinos have been lost to poaching in South Africa alone – experts predict that more than 475 animals will be killed by the end of the year. No more than 27,000 rhinos are left on Earth.
For centuries in Asia, rhino horn has been used to treat fevers and other infections, although studieshave shown that it has no real medicinal value and many traditional Asian medicine practitioners have come out against its use. International trade in rhino horns was banned in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) after a massive groundswell of poaching threatened to annihilate rhino populations. The demand for horn has peaked again in the past few years after false claims about its cancer-curing ability emerged from Vietnam. Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same protein found in human fingernails and hair.
With black market rhino horn value surpassing that of diamonds and cocaine, rhino poaching is a high-stakes, organized endeavor undertaken by a range of shady characters, from government officials and foreign diplomats to gangs of violent criminals. In addition to China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, a new market in Vietnam, sparked by the cancer-cure rumors, has emerged with a vengeance. In addition to killing wild rhinos on the hoof, rhino horns are even being stolen from museums. According to Europol, there have been at least 40 thefts or attempted thefts from European museums since January.
Although more than 90% of the world’s rhinos have been decimated by poaching over the last 40 years, black, white, and Indian rhino populations have been increasing over the past decade. After so much effort and funding has been ploughed into rhino protection in Africa, we cannot lose the momentum. We look to each country’s national authorities to hold up their side of our shared commitment to conserve rhinos.
In South Africa, two Vietnamese were recently sentenced to maximum jail terms after they were arrested with 20 rhino horns that had been illegally acquired from legal hunts. In Zimbabwe as well, poaching convictions are more often leading to maximum sentences now. If strict sentences continue to be imposed, there may finally be a chance that the poachers will back away from their all-out assault on rhinos.
African rhino species are not the only ones in trouble. In Indonesia, the Javan rhino is down to no more than 44 animals in one population. Work is underway to lay the foundation for establishing a second population. Ironically, the last Javan rhino is thought to have been poached from Vietnam this year. Sumatran rhinos, which now live only on the island of Sumatra and in the state of Sabah, Malaysia, have had their population cut in half over the past few decades; the species is now down to no more than 200 individuals.
It’s not all gloom and doom though. We know how to bring these species numbers back up. But we have to get poaching and other human-induced losses under control. Along with all of our partners, we hope to call attention to the good, the bad and the hopeful news through World Rhino Day this Thursday. Please help us.
What can you do to celebrate World Rhino Day?
Help educate others about the rhino poaching crisis – forward this email to your friends and co-workers. (You can also visit our website to find more materials to educate yourself and others.)
Make a donation to support anti-poaching efforts.
Check out these ideas for raising awareness and funding for rhino conservation.
Learn about ways to reduce your own impact.
Make posters, buttons, or other materials to display in your home, workplace or school on World Rhino Day. (Visit the World Rhino Day facebook page and Saving Rhinos' website for ideas and downloads.)
And, finally, let us know how you’re celebrating! Please share your photos, ideas and comments on IRF’s facebook page.
Watch this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvYpn84dL14&feature=player_embedded
How can you help the rhino?