By Josie Gurney-Read
“Time really isn’t on our side at the moment,” says Charlie Mayhew, Chief Executive of the Conservation Charity, Tusk Trust. “The decimation of elephant, rhino and lion numbers is escalating so much that we don’t have a lot of time left."
Rhino poaching in South Africa hasn’t slowed. In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached, now it is estimated that, on average, three are lost every day, with an estimated loss of around 800 this year.
This means that, annually, South Africa is losing four per cent of its rhino and much of the poaching is actually occurring in the best protected areas.
In April this year, it was reported that the last 15 known rhinos in Mozambique were shot dead in the Mozambican part of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
While demand for the horn continues, a solution to the issue is being sought by conservationists. Suggestions have included; de-horning rhinos under anaesthetic, legalising the trade, putting dye in the horns, stricter law enforcement and decreasing demand through better education.
Twenty years ago, only 2,000 black rhinos remained, while conservation efforts have brought the species back from the brink of extinction, to an estimated 5,000, the issue remains serious today.
It was with this in mind that in August this year, Worldwide Experience, the education arm of the Mantis hotel group, launched a competition in partnership with Tusk Trust and the Born Free Foundation, giving 16-19 year olds the chance to submit a group video to highlight the plight of the rhino in South Africa; showing what they would do to further conservation efforts.
Due to demand, the competition has recently extended the deadline, so groups now have until 21 March 2014 to submit entries.
Alongside the competition, a school curriculum has been developed by Digital Explorer, with a selection of materials aimed at both GCSE and A level geography students.
Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop, founder of Digital Explorer says: “The relationship between humans and the environment is an important part of the curriculum. As the population grows, young people need to have the information to make decisions about what the planet will look like in the future." More....