By Kamcilla Pillay
Durban - A striking ad campaign to raise funds for rhinos that have survived poaching attacks has been launched and draws parallels with human amputees.
Inspired by stories of survivors – human and animal – and showing that loss can be overcome, Johannesburg-based media and advertising group Havas Worldwide approached conservation organisation Saving the Survivors to create awareness of animals disfigured by poaching – but still alive
The campaign shows amputees making the point that, thanks to rapid, expert medical help, their lives were saved.
Many rhinos, on the other hand, did not fare so well.
“Millions are thrown into anti-poaching efforts, yet we still see an increase in animals poached. Very little is aimed towards nursing these animals back to health, an area where, perhaps, this money would be better spent,” said Survivors founder Dr Johan Marais.
“People need to be made aware of the brutality with which the animals are killed. The ones left alive are left with horrific injuries, with huge parts of their faces gouged out, and bullet wounds in their legs,” he said.
He said there was “a gap” in understanding the physiology of the rhino and funds were needed for research.
“The official statistics regarding poaching are very conservative. Far more animals are lost each year. But many victims survive.”
The organisation works all over the world, including KwaZulu-Natal, trying to help injured animals.
Havas joined forces with other media groups such as Poster Scope, Adpost and iPoint, securing outdoor space and digital screens for the campaign.
The agency’s chief creative officer, Eoin Welsh, said: “We had to find a way to bring attention to their cause and work so that we can generate support. This is a slightly different initiative to creating public awareness of rhino poaching because their key objective is to help save rhinos that already have had their horns removed.”
One of the amputees in the campaign is 41-year-old Partington Mtatabikwa, who lost an arm and a leg in a mining accident. “I was lucky – help came. Otherwise I would have lost much more. Rhinos are seldom so lucky,” he said.
For more information, or to donate to the cause, visit: www.savingthesurvivors.co.za/