World Rhino Day is marked every year on September 22 and celebrates all five remaining species of rhino: Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
The Day was first announced by WWF-South Africa in 2010. The following year, World Rhino Day grew into an international success, encompassing both African and Asian rhino species, thanks to the efforts of two determined women; Lisa Jane Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch in Zimbabwe and Rhishja Cota-Larson, an editor of Annamiticus blogging site who worked together to make World Rhino Day 2011 an international success, both online and offline. World Rhino Day has since grown to become a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals from nearly every corner of the world!
All of the world’s rhino species are under threat, mostly from poaching for their horn. The horn is mainly used for traditional Eastern medicine; however rhino horn does not have any medicinal properties. There is currently an alarming rise in the number of rhino being killed for their horn in Africa, affecting both the Black Rhinoceros and White Rhinoceros population. The three Asian rhino species, the Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, the Sumatran Rhinoceros and the Javan Rhinoceros, are also threatened by habitat destruction. Current population estimates are:
- White Rhinoceros – approx. 20,000
- Black Rhinoceros – approx. 5,000
- Greater One-horned Rhinoceros – approx. 3,000
- Sumatran Rhinoceros – Less than 100
- Javan Rhinoceros – approx. 40. (Yes 40, that’s not a typo…)
Kenya’s rhino population has suffered from the same demise as other rhino populations in the world. Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and county governments, private and community sanctuaries have been working together to minimize threats posed to Kenya’s rhino population.
KWS with partners have been marking the World Rhino Day on 22nd September annually since 2011. Last year the event was held in Nanyuki, Laikipia County.
The event brings together different stakeholders in the field of conservation as well as the general public and involves a variety of information dissemination activities focused on rhino conservation.
The World Rhino Day asks all of us to show our support for rhino conservation by planning various activities and campaigns. By working together on this day we can raise awareness and let the world know that we care about the plight of rhinos. By doing this, we will be able to highlight the efforts to demystify the myths and diminish the demand for rhino horn.
Given the increasing demand for rhino horn due to unfounded new non-traditional invented claims to create a market through the myth that rhino horn contains curative properties, it is critical to debunk these myths through education, awareness campaigns, and advocacy. Events like the World Rhino Day provides a good platform to reach out to the wider public on the plight of the rhinoceros hence the need for all to join hands to conserve them for posterity. It is also imperative that all conservation partners come together and participate in the event to enhance its impact. Ultimately, the event will contribute to Kenya’s efforts of saving the last great species and places on earth for humanity.
3.0 TARGET GROUP
The following are the target groups:
- School children
- Local communities,
- Conservation NGO’s
- County government
- Relevant National Government departments and the general public.
- General public
- International community
4.0 STATUS OF RHINO CONSERVATION IN KENYA
By end of 2014, Kenya hosted 1,047 rhinos; 648 black rhinos, 396 southern white and 3 of the 4 last remaining Northern white rhinos.
Kenya has the 3rd largest population of rhinos in the world after South Africa and Namibia, thus a success story in rhino conservation.