Monday, January 14, 2013

Endangered Species Monday - Let's Save the Rhinos in 2013

I could never choose just one animal. I mean really, let's face it, if I could save all the endangered species I would. To say that one is more important than another is not right because they are all equally important and needed on this planet. However, sometimes one animal stands out among the rest. For me that animal was a rhino. A special connection was made the moment that I touched and fed the rhino brothers at the San Diego Zoo. I had looked into the eye of an endangered species and I would never be the same.

In December I made a decision to make 2013 the year that I personally made a difference for the rhinos. After reading recent news articles, I have never been more sure of a decision.

A record 668 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2012 - that is a 50% increase over 2011. This figure astounds me. I shed a tear for each one of the rhinos lost when I read articles about the killings. We must put a stop to poaching and educate people about what rhino horn really is - keratin - the same thing as out hair and fingernails. Rhino horn is not medicine!

Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I saw this headline on twitter the other day Poachers hack baby rhino with axe ... Wait, was I reading this right? This couldn't possibly be true. What good is killing a baby rhino? There is no horn to take from a 2 month old baby rhino - this is uncalled for and made me so angry. So angry and so sad that all I could do was cry. This poor defenseless rhino was being attacked because she got in the way of the poachers who were cutting off her mother's horn.

2013 is not getting off to a very good start for the rhinos. As of January 11th, the death toll is already up to eight and if this baby doesn't survive it will be nine. I have no time to spare. The number one way for me to help the rhinos is to create awareness. I will also share stories, photographs and raise as much money as I possibly can. So far I have two ways of raising money for the rhinos ...

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Half Marathon - I will not be able to run the half marathon because I am volunteering to help with the race and with Cinco de Rhino that evening. However, I can still virtually run the race and raise money for the greater one-horned rhinos. Your tax-deductible donation on my fundraising page will help make a difference. $5 or $10 or $25 it doesn't matter - every little bit helps.

I have also written a letter addressed to President Zuma as part of the One More Generation letter writing campaign. (Our letters are #557 and #558 - letters are listed alphabetically so scroll down to Fryer) These letters are a way of creating worldwide awareness and bringing our pleas to stop the poaching to President Zuma himself. I would love it if you would write a letter too!

Something has to change. This needs to be the year that wildlife poachers are stopped before it's too late. There is not much left that we can do for the Northern White Rhinos and the Javan and Sumatran rhinos are not far behind. If the numbers keep climbing at 50% increases, then we will be that much closer to another animal facing extinction.

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