With rhino population figures at a crucial level, there has been no better time than now to introduce an innovative new incentive to raise money to protect an animal that has roamed the earth for more than 50 million years. Rhinos are critically endangered, with only around 29,000 left across the entire world, which includes all five species. Thousands of rhinos are being brutally slaughtered every single year for their horns, which are currently worth more than their weight in gold. The main demand for rhino horn comes from Asia, where it is believed that rhino horn contains medicinal properties. Despite these beliefs, rhino horn is actually made of keratin, which is the same protein that makes up our own hair and nails.
The new campaign is called ‘Remembering Rhinos‘ and is a follow-up to last year’s successful campaign called ‘Remembering Elephants’. It is a collaboration between some of the world’s best wildlife photographers, all brought together by the creator of the book, Margot Raggett. The images throughout the book have been donated by the photographers and include Steve Winter, Ross Couper and Frans Lanting. The book hopes to raise money to protect the vulnerable rhinos from dying out completely.
I spoke to photographer and creator of the project, Margot Raggett, who launched a Kickstarter which will help to fund the costs of printing the book. She explained, “Coming off the back of the success with Remembering Elephants, I think Remembering Rhinos is tapping into a real need people feel to do something positive. There is so much negative news around, not least in conservation, and we are giving people a practical way to get involved and help.”
The original target for Remembering Rhinos was £20,000, which was quickly surpassed within just three hours of the Kickstarter launch. Now, just three days later, the campaign has raised £61,000, which is only likely to heavily increase until the deadline in one month’s time.
The success of last year’s Remembering Elephants managed to raise over £135,000 to fight ivory poaching through the Born Free Foundation, throughout projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Mali, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Raggett continued by saying, “I hope that as our momentum builds, each book in the series (because there will be more) will raise even more in terms of both awareness of conservation issues, but also funds to help tackle them.”
Poaching rhinos for their horns has reached epidemic levels, as they can currently fetch up to £23,000 per lb, for something that literally has the same benefits as biting your nails. The only difference is, gaining this effect from rhinos results in their brutal murder, meaning rapidly declining populations, and thousands of rhino calves being left without a mother.
I also spoke to Denise Eriksson, who is the photographer behind the cover photo of Remembering Rhinos. She said, “I feel so honored to have my picture on the cover of Remembering Rhinos. The rhino situation is so critical and the situation is just getting worse and worse. I think it’s a great way to spread awareness, as people will be able to look at some of the most amazing rhino photographs in the world, and also realise how much they need our help before it’s too late! It is really amazing to be part of something like that!”
Rhinos have ruled the earth for millions of years more than humans have inhabited it. And yet it is only in relatively recent years that the prehistoric animals are dying out. There are only three northern white rhinos left in the world, Javan and Sumatran rhinos are currently critically endangered, and a subspecies of the Javan rhino has already been declared extinct in Vietnam. The time to act is now, and as always, together, we can all make a difference.
To learn more about the campaign, as well as watching a heart wrenching video, and to get your own copy of Remembering Rhinos, with all proceeds after printing costs going to anti-poaching efforts, just click here.