“Boom Boom Boom – let me hear you say Rhino. Rhino!”
A rhino is dying every 22 hours. The poaching has to stop now!
This was the message promoted by Rhino Africa and friends – including Getaway Magazine, Green Renaissance, Wildlife ACT, Aquila Game Reserve, the DA and Saving Rhinos – outside Parliament in Cape Town today to mark the second annual World Rhino Day. Several hundred people attended the event including representatives from the press and media.
After an introduction from David Ryan, CEO of Rhino Africa, Gareth Morgan MP, read out a statement by Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape:
“This Thursday, the 22nd of September 2011, the Democratic Alliance joins the many concerned South African’s who have gathered at parliament to commemorate the second annual World Rhino Day. It is crucial that we come together as South Africans to stop rhino poaching. I would have loved to have been there in person, but let me take this opportunity to offer my full support to your efforts to stop the poaching of rhinos.
The fact is that there has been a huge surge in rhino poaching over the last two years. In South Africa, nearly 600 rhinos have been killed since the beginning of 2010. We have to stop the killing.
On behalf of the party I lead, and the government of the Western Cape, we commend the efforts of the thousands of South Africans from government, civil society and business who work so tirelessly to stop rhino poaching.
On Tuesday the Democratic Alliance raised a motion in parliament, in which we condemned the cowardly act of rhino poaching. We will continue to raise this issue at the highest levels to ensure it remains firmly at the forefront of the national agenda.
As we commemorate World Rhino Day, let us redouble our efforts to protect rhinos and indeed all of our natural heritage. We cannot afford any further delay. Thank you.”
As a member of the tourism industry Rhino Africa has a vested interest in sustainable tourism. Africa does not have the historic cities of Europe – we have magnificent landscapes and spectacular wildlife. It is critical that we protect our most precious resources for generations to come.
Already this year, 287 rhinos have been killed in South Africa, 16 of them the critically endangered black rhino. Most were killed in the Kruger National Park, a huge draw for wildlife loving tourists.
There is so much collective willpower but with so many initiatives out there, individuals do not know who or what to support. The Government needs to take the lead. Government needs to set out a clear, long term strategy and co-ordinate the private sector who have the resources and finances to put an end to poaching. The South African Government also needs to put more pressure on Asian Governments where the demand stems from.
Asian and African governments must work together to disrupt trade chains and to bring wildlife criminals to justice. Demand for rhino horn and elephant ivory is threatening to destroy a large part Africa’s natural heritage. We want to see illegal markets for these products in Asia shut down for good.
While government is spending money to combat poaching, the fact remains that poaching is on the increase. Urgent and co-ordinated action is required. Understandably, African governments often neglect wildlife conservation in favour of more pressing social and economic agendas, meaning that a private sector initiative is paramount if we wish to stave off the decimation of this unique species. But while individual efforts are hugely commendable the only way we are going to vanquish poaching is by working together.
For World Rhino Day the Green Renaissance team together with a few passionate volunteers made and erected 282 wooden crosses at Sea Point in Cape Town to symbolize the Rhinos killed this year in South Africa. When you have to make this many crosses you realize just how many Rhinos have been killed. If you have time try go to Sea Point promenade and walk through the crosses to fully understand the plight of our Rhinos.
Photos By Green Renaissance
Thank you to all of those who turned up today and for all those who have shown their support in other ways. Thank you in particular to our valued clients without whose patronage none of the good work that we do would be possible. By booking with Rhino Africa you allow us to continue the critical conservation and community work that we undertake.