We are bombarded with the statistics of rhino poaching on a daily basis. The numbers and the stories are so horrific that for many of us, we have become completely desensitized. Another rhino death, another day.
Which is why when I met up with the lovely South African actress Michelle Bradshaw recently and spent the better half of an hour listening to her passionate plea on behalf of Africa Conservation Trust, I was moved. There are people out there, like Michelle, who still care.
Africa Conservation Trust, a major role player in the quest to stop rhino poaching, led to a 2012 initiative called Skydive for Rhinos. This was the brainchild of Sheelagh Antrobus from Africa Conservation Trust and Michelle became an ambassador for the cause. This forms part of Project Rhino KZN, a collaboration of 14 other leading conservation agencies, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and private game reserves. Together they raise funds in a transparent way to put an end to rhino poaching.
“I find it a travesty that a creature that has roamed the earth for 150 million years, that is an umbrella species, that protects so many species, that plays a role in the environment and the ecosystem, and is so magnificent is becoming extinct,” Michelle said to me. “They are wild and how dare human avarice destroy a beast of this nature.”
In an often apathetic society, to hear such a concerned and emotional outcry is not only refreshing, it’s needed.
Michelle’s plea is simple. The team has opened an SMS line where every SMS sent costs R10 and R6 goes straight to Africa Conservation Trust for the rhinos. The funds go towards specialist training, aerial surveillance, the training and education of the community and specialised resources.
What she reminds us all is that to be a part of this planet, one must respect and care for every single species that it is made up of. The rhinos need our help and all it takes is an SMS.
When the war against rhino poaching is won, will you have played a role?
SMS ‘Rhino’ to 38008.