World Rhino Day is on September 22 and celebrates all five species of rhino: Black, White, Greater One-Horned (Indian), Sumatran and Javan rhinos. The global day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010 and has continued to grow and gain traction from followers. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species, thanks to the efforts of two determined women.
It all started with a simple email. In mid-2011, Lisa Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch in Zimbabwe was already planning ahead for World Rhino Day. She searched online for ideas and potential collaborators, and found Rhishja’s blog, Saving Rhinos. Campbell sent Rhishja an email, and the two found they shared a common goal of making World Rhino Day a day of celebration for all five species of rhino. In the months that followed, they worked together to make World Rhino Day 2011 an international success, both online and offline. World Rhino Day has since grown to become a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals from nearly every corner of the world!
Here are five reasons that rhinos matter to our earth and environment:
- Rhinos help maintain natural balance within their habitat by helping germinate the seeds of the Trewia tree. In addition, they help preserve grasslands that many other depend on and this is why rhinos are now classified as a “keystone species”.
- Rhinos are an umbrella species. This means by protecting rhinos we are also ultimately protecting the species in their shared habitat including birdlife, fish, insects and other mammals.
- Rhinos bring eco-tourism. In areas where rhinos and humans live alongside each other, these charismatic animals bring job opportunities through eco-tourism which, in turn, can help regenerate the local economy.
- Rhinos are apart of our national heritage. As long as humans have walked the planet, rhinos have also been part of our art, our cultural history and the fabric of life. If they became extinct, it would be a loss for humanity, but even more so for the communities where rhinos are part of their heritage.
- If rhinos become extinct, we’ve lost them to crime syndicates. The people running the rhino horn trade don’t just stick to the illegal wildlife trade. They traffic weapons, counterfeit goods and fund terrorism. They’re not the kind of people we want to win the poaching war, and you can help stop them.