World Rhino Day was celebrated on the 22nd of September and all 5 species, the Sumatran, the Javan, the greater one-horned and our local black and white rhinos were given the spotlight.
These precious animals, which are both shy and endangered, have for many years been under threat of extinction as poachers have ravaged population numbers for profit. Setting aside a day during the year to give these gentle creatures a little appreciation has helped to raise awareness, and in some cases money, to help fight to preserve these almost Jurassic looking animals.
4 Reasons why we love Rhinos
- They play a role in conservation
All animals, even us humans, are meant to play a role in nature. Rhinos are no different, in fact, the habitats they form a part of benefit from having them. As they consume copious amounts of vegetation they help to both shape and maintain the landscape. It’s not only their diet that helps keep the bush in shape, but also their movements through the bush. Their immense, heavy bodies can literally shape the bush as they walk.
Besides playing a role in their own habitats, they are also an important reminder for us to conserve the environment so that they will continue to have a safe place to live. Rhinos need plenty of food, and their habitats cater perfectly to sustaining them.
- They are a part of our heritage
All South Africans can take great pride in our amazing heritage which is deeply rooted in wildlife. South African conservation parks have rather large wild rhino populations and the conservation efforts going into keeping the species alive for future generations to enjoy are extensive. And since these creatures are a part of our heritage, it is important that we play a role in preserving them.
- Their current state is partly our fault
You and I aren’t the ones who are poaching, but humans in general are to blame for not taking a stronger position when it comes to the protection of these animals. Rhinos are slaughtered for their horns, often on behalf of a syndicate. Those who do the poaching are often poor community members, who actually gain very little financially.
We all need to play a stronger role in the protection of rhinos and perhaps we can start by somehow being more involved in the community.
- Rhinos bring in the tourists
We actually depend a great deal on our rhinos to bring in tourists. Each year, as guests from all over the world visit our national parks, many come with the hope of catching sight of our rhinos. Their very existence promotes our country and helps to create and sustain jobs in the tourism industry.