by Ayan M.

This article was written by sixth grade student Ayan M.

They are muscular and massive but can accelerate at frightening speeds. Rhinoceros, commonly abbreviated as rhinos, are fantastical animals. Yet, rhinos are being murdered at an extremely alarming rate. According to three are killed every day in Africa alone, and at this rate, they are going to become extinct in the next few decades. 

What is Happening?
A lot of people are unaware of the dire situation rhinos are facing. Rhinos are being murdered for scientifically unproven reasons. In some Asian countries, the rhino horn is believed to cure cancer and other diseases. Traditional doctors grind up the horn and other ingredients into a liquid called muthi. Poachers in Africa sell rhino horns illegally to these traditional doctors. 

The way rhinos are poached is gruesome, to say the least. Many poachers don’t have time to kill the animal because they might get caught. So instead poachers hack the horn off a sedated but living rhino, leaving the body to bleed to death; similar to shark finning. Typically, authorities are bribed to let the horns through under a disguised name where they are shipped to China or Vietnam—the two main consumers of muthi

Getting Involved

I believe that the world will be a poorer place if rhinos do not survive into the next generation. To be part of the solution, I am trying to raise awareness and financial support in the war against poaching. The way I go about this is by sharing the message of rhino conservation and selling my artwork to donate to the cause. I have used my passion for art to create my best pieces and sell them to people who are interested in helping rhinos. So far, I have raised enough money to adopt three rhinos at Thula Thula, a game reserve in South Africa.

Thula Thula was founded by Lawrence Anthony (1950-2012), dubbed the “Indiana Jones of conservation.” Anthony rescued animals in the Baghdad Zoo during the Iraq War, and also he attempted to save the Northern White Rhino from deep in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo. When he founded Thula Thula, he adopted a herd of rogue elephants about to be shot and calmed them into a happy herd living in his reservation. Sadly, he passed away in 2012, and his wife Francoise Malby-Anthony is now running the reserve. She has created an orphanage for abandoned baby animals, such as rhinos whose mothers have been poached, and written a book called An Elephant in My Kitchen, where she talks about the conservation of rhinos. It is with Francoise that I have adopted three rhinos—Lisa, Mona, and Thabo.

Rhinos are majestic animals and we need to work together to protect their species before they go extinct. How can you help do your part? Please head to the International Rhino Foundation website to learn about the many ways you can help!

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