Some of my most memorable travel experiences have been the moments when we have had up close encounters with animals in the wild.
The time in Borneo when some curious wild bearded piglets came to sniff us out.
The amazing afternoon of swimming with dolphins in the wild at Pipa Beach in Brazil.
The other time in Sri Lanka when we watched enormous blue whales breaching the ocean’s surface.
When we spotted a moose from the window of the train on our Cross Canada Adventure.
The time in Louisiana when we saw alligators on a tour of the swamp.
We share this planet with so many incredible and awe-inspiring creatures, but unfortunately one impressive species might not be around long enough for our children or grandchildren to have the thrill of seeing them on their travels.
The sad truth is that the African rhino is in danger of disappearing from this earth forever.
In South Africa right now one rhino is being poached every seven hours, which means that at the current rate the rhino will be extinct within the next 20 years.
My future children could be asking me, “Mom, did you ever see a rhinoceros when they were still alive?” I’d rather not have to answer that question. Instead I’d rather be able to take my children on a safari in Africa to see one for themselves.
Why are Rhinos Being Poached?
Many years ago people thought that ingesting ground up rhino horns would improve their libido, so the rhinos were killed simply so that their horns could be used in this sought after treatment. However, these medical claims have been disproved for many years and it has been illegal to use rhino horn in medicine for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped poachers from killing these majestic animals and selling their horns for big bucks on the Asian black market.
The rapid decline of the rhino population threatens not only the environment of many African nations, but their economy too. Ecotourism and wildlife safaris are an enormous industry in eastern and southern Africa, generating $80 billion every year for the local economy. People travel from all over the world for the opportunity to observe the “Big 5” – Leopards, Lions, Elephants, Buffalo and, of course, Rhinos.photo credit: lamsongf
If the rhinos disappear, the famous “Big Five” will dwindle to the “Big Four.” In fact, the countdown might continue even further as Africa loses approximately 5 lions per day and 5 elephants every hour to poaching. This will set off a downward spiral – tourism revenue plunges which increases poverty which leads to more poaching. It’s a terrible situation that could have irreversible results.
Also, Rhinos are considered an “umbrella species”, which means that if they go extinct it would also affect many other additional plant and animal species. If the rhinos disappear, it would create chain reaction that would have a very serious environmental impact.
So What Can We Do?
So the rhinos are screwed right? There’s nothing we can do? Wrong.
There is a plan to get South Africa’s rhinos out of danger – and you can help.
Rhinos Without Borders is a charity with a plan to move the rhinos from South Africa (where 80% of the population is currently located) to Botswana – which has the lowest poaching rate on the continent. Botswana has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to poaching, as well as being more remote and less populous, so it is a much safer place for the rhinos to be.
The RWB project is being spearheaded by Great Plains Foundation founders Dereck and Beverly Joubert– National Geographic Explorers In Residence, acclaimed wildlife photographers/ filmmakers, and conservation advocates famous for their work in saving Africa’s Big Cats.
It’s not cheap to airlift rhinos to safety, so we are trying to help them raise at least $45,000 for #JustOneRhino. If we can save one rhino, this will raise more awareness of the situation and will help to save others.
Every little bit counts, so you can do your part by getting a ticket for the raffle in which you have a chance to win over $30,000 worth of prizes.
What Can You Win?
Here are some of the amazing travel experiences you could win when you buy a ticket to support this great cause:
International Expeditions http://www.ietravel.com/
- 10 day Galapagos Voyage for one. Value $5,298
Adventure Life www.adventure-life.com
- South Africa Big Five Safari: Kruger & KwaZulu-Natal + Swag Bag for 2 people. Value $5,000
Cobblers Cove Hotel, Barbados http://www.cobblerscove.com/
- 7 nights bed & breakfast in Garden View suite. Value $5,187
Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Nicaragua www.littlecornhotel.com
- 10 nights’ stay & wellness package for 2 people at Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Value $5,241
Secret Retreats www.secret-retreats.com
- Vouchers for 2 people at Bali Jiwa Villain in Bali, Indonesia. Value $1,000
- Vouchers for 2 people at The Scent Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Total Value $3,000 ($1,500 for each 2-person package)
- Vouchers for 2 people at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Koh Kong, Cambodia. Value $900
- Vouchers for 2 people at Flower Island, Palawan, Philippines. Value $900
Other prizes include dinner and brunch cruises, hotel stays, luggage, and cameras.
Other prizes include dinner and brunch cruises, hotel stays, luggage, cameras, an ExOfficio gift certificate, and a blogger mentorship package. You can see the complete list of amazing #JustOneRhino prizes and enter here. http://travelersbuildingchange.org/prizes/
Entries are $20 for ten entries, $30 for entries entries, $50 for thirty entries, and $500 for 500 entries! All entrants will receive a zip file with twelve photographs of rhinos from the Jouberts, and you can enter the last day of February. Winners are announced on World Wildlife Day, March 3rd, 2015.
Want to Learn More?
If you want to find out more about rhinos, here are some very interesting links:
By making your donation you will not only have a= chance to win some amazing travel prizes, but you will also be doing your part to save these incredible creatures from extinction. Thanks so much for your support!