World Rhino Day – Dedicated to Conserving the World’s Rhinos.
World Rhino Day is an international observance celebrated on September 22 every year. Inaugurated by WWF South Africa in 2010, its purpose is to raise awareness of the need to protect the five existing species of rhinoceros: white rhino, black rhino, Indian rhino, Javan rhino and Sumatran rhino.
All rhino species are threatened by poachers for the illegal trade in rhino horn. The horn, made up of keratin (a protein found in hair, fingernails and animal hooves), is perceived by certain Asian cultures to have medicinal properties. In fact, no scientific studies support this belief.
At the beginning of the 20th century, 500,000 rhinos roamed Africa and Asia. By 1970, rhino numbers dropped to 70,000, and today, around 27,000 rhinos remain in the wild. Very few rhinos survive outside national parks and reserves due to persistent poaching and habitat loss over many decades. Black, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos are classified as Critically Endangered. White rhinos are classified as Near Threatened globally.
#WorldRhinoDay gives NGOs, conservation bodies, businesses and concerned members of the public an opportunity to raise awareness of the plight of these unique and threatened species.
Why Rhinos are Important in Africa
Rhinos have been around for millions of years (10 – 20 million years) and have evolved as an intrinsic part of their natural ecosystems. The white rhino’s extensive grazing habits have helped to shape the African savanna.
As one of Africa’s ‘big five’, rhinos are a popular sighting for tourists and an important ecotourism drawcard, which, in turn, benefits local communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on the tourist industry.
It is essential that we protect rhinos, not only for future generations, but also for the future of our wild animals and wild places. Rhinos are an integral part of our ecosystems and our heritage.
How You Can Help
Working under constant pressure can take its toll on rangers, the frontline of protection for rhinos in South Africa. For many rangers, this war has been relentless, requiring the skills of a battle-honed soldier.
For the SANParks Honorary Rangers, every day is rhino day. Here’s how you can help us to help them.
For World Rhino Day, why not add SANParks Honorary Rangers as a beneficiary on your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet Card
Our Conservation Services National Project raises funds and provides support and equipment for rangers and counter-poaching initiatives in our national parks.
Our K9 Project Watchdog supports rhino conservation by supporting the K9 anti-poaching units. Using well-trained dogs for anti-poaching initiatives in the Kruger National Park has been considered a game-changer in the fight against poaching.
To donate to K9 Project Watchdog