Traveling the world for nearly six full years now has taught me a lot. I’ve learned so much about so many different cultures, have a much deeper understanding of all the different religious faiths, have learned to acknowledge that every country has innovation solutions to the same problems so many of us face — and that no one country is perfect — and seen the countless impacts that humanity and the race for global modernization has had on the people, plants and animals around the world — both for the better and for the worse.
Unfortunately in many places the good that humans are doing is outweighed by the bad, even if done so unintentionally. Perhaps the biggest victims in all of this is the natural wildlife. Animals are being hunted for food, killed when they devour crops, and left homeless when their natural habit is destroyed by logging or to build a new mall. All of these factors have contributed to the rising rate of extinction, which experts now put at between 200 and 2,000 species every year.
Seeing all the harm that is facing so many species around the world, I cannot help but get involved and try to make a positive difference whenever an opportunity presents itself. One such opportunity arose recently when over 120 of my fellow travel bloggers and I joined forces to help the plight of Rhinos in South Africa.
Every eight hours a rhino is killed for it’s horns — and that is just in South Africa alone! (source) At this pace there could be no wild rhinos left in South Africa in a mere five years and they could be extinct in a matter of decades.
Rhino removal from the natural in ecosystem would have a catastrophic effort on South Africa. As research has shown, the removal of a key megaherbivore from the food chain starts a domino effect that leads to other plants and animals decline, or even complete decimation. (source)
To help combat this, one bold plan set in motion by Great Plains Foundation is the Rhinos Without Borders initiative. It involves the systematic relocating of rhinos from South Africa to Botswana, where poaching is much less of a problem. Botswana has the lowest corruption rate in all of Africa. Plus as a result of local government’s “shoot to kill” stance on poachers and the fact that the military is in charge of overseeing the rhinos protection (as opposed to a loose-knit group of park rangers), Botswana is fast becoming a rhino safe haven. While this is not a solution to the problem, it is at least a temporary fix, in addition to being a role model that other African countries should — and hopefully one day soon will — emulate. Thus far Rhinos Without Borders has already relocated six rhinos to Botswana and is attempting to up this number to 100 in the coming years.
Unfortunately the cost of catching, transporting and releasing 100 rhinos is nearly $5 million, or $45,000 each.
That is why the good folks at Travelers Building Change have stepped in and started a fundraiser. Not to raise $4.5 million, no, but to at least raise $45,000 as part of a campaign aptly named #JustOneRhino. We also hope this will raise awareness of the current plight of rhinos not just in South Africa but throughout the continent. Together with such amazing sponsors as International Expeditions and Adventure Life, among many others, we are working together to raise this $45,000 and spread awareness.
As a way of showing their gratitude to those who contribute to the campaign, each of the #JustOneRhino sponsors has graciously donated some amazing prizes. These include:
A Ten Day Galapagos Voyage for one. Valued at $5,298
Courtesy of International Expeditions view full trip details
A Ten Night Wellness Package for two in Nicaragua. Valued at $5,241
You’ll be staying at Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa learn more
A Seven Night B&B Garden View Suite in Barbados. Valued at $5,187
You’ll be staying at Cobblers Cove Hotel learn more
A South Africa Big Five Safari for two + swag bag. Valued at $5,000
Courtesy of Adventure Life view full trip details
Vouchers for two to various resorts around Southeast Asia provided by Secret Retreats:
- (2) The Scent Hotel in Koh Samui, Thailand. Valued at $1,500.
- Bali Jiwa Villain in Bali, Indonesia. Valued at $1,000.
- 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in Koh Kong, Cambodia. Valued at $900.
- Flower Island in Palawan, Philippines. Valued at $900.
But that’s not all, there is more! Other prizes include:
- (2) tours in India
- 2 nights in an Italian Villa
- 2 nights Renaissance at Asheville
- HDR timelapse video camera with lens
- Dinner/Brunch Cruises
- WeWOOD Watches
- eBag Luggage
- ExOfficio gift certificate
- African Elephant Photo Pack
- Travel Blog Success Lifetime Membership
- Blogger Mentorship Package from Green Global Travel
How Can You Help?
By making a donation to #JustOnRhino. Big or small, every dollar helps. At the time of publication we are about 1/3 of the way to our goal, which means we still have a long way to go in the next three weeks. The last day to donate is February 28th, 2015.