The RhinoProtect initiative involves the encouragement of debate and discourse around the issue of rhino poaching with a view to finding sustainable and long-term solutions to an unacceptable situation. Furthermore, the organisation’s initiative is to raise awareness not only about protecting rhinos, but about debunking the myth around the efficacy of rhino horn as medicine. Spreading the word about the rhino’s plight through media and events, as well as the support of sponsors, partners and the global community, caps the RhinoProtect initiative.
On the ground, at Inverdoorn Game Reserve in the Western Cape, the initiative has been to set up an orphanage for rhino calves who have lost mothers to poaching. This mission came to fruition in 2012 when an orphanage was successfully established at the reserve with the rescue of two calves from Limpopo, whose mothers had been killed by poachers. In future, RhinoProtect hopes to save even more calves, rehabilitating them for release back into the wild.
The initiative began at Inverdoorn with the development of a horn treatment which was administered to the reserve’s rhinos, who have been safe since then. After they were injected with the treatment, it was rolled out to other rhinos in South Africa, spreading the word that there was another solution for protecting rhinos. This inspired the move to constantly search for new solutions and methods to make the horn an undesirable product for poachers.
The next important step involves making the horn undesirable to consumers and end-users, by making them aware that rhino horn is NOT medicine and that it decreases the global rhino population, impacting biodiversity and the natural heritage of many nations in Africa and Asia.
In this battle, we must remain open-minded and flexible in a situation that becomes increasingly difficult as demand increasingly rises and poaching continues unabated. Above all, we must never give up hope in the cause.