Every year on September 22nd, World Rhino Day is observed globally. This day, initiated by WWF South Africa in 2010, serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to safeguard the five remaining species of rhinoceros. In the early 20th century, these magnificent creatures roamed freely, with their population exceeding 500,000. Tragically, today, there are fewer than 27,000 rhinos worldwide.

South Africa, a country known for its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, has been hit hard by rhino poaching. In 2023 alone, over 231 rhinos have fallen victim to the senseless brutality of poaching. This grim statistic adds to the heart-wrenching toll of over 10,000 rhinos lost to poaching since 2008 in South Africa.

However, amid this disheartening reality, there is a glimmer of hope. The MyPlanet Rhino Fund, a beneficiary of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet program, is taking meaningful steps to protect and preserve these majestic creatures. Established in 2011, this fund has directed over R25 million towards supporting best practice initiatives in rhino protection and conservation.

One of the fund’s core missions is to aid organizations dedicated to rhino security. This includes efforts to secure rhino populations, provide essential equipment and technology, offer training to conservationists, enhance detection methods, and manage rhino populations effectively. The MyPlanet Rhino Fund operates with a clear goal: to ensure a future for rhinos by combatting the very real threats they face.

In South Africa alone, there are still 12,968 white rhinos and 2,056 black rhinos, representing a critical opportunity to protect and conserve these species. Additionally, other parts of the world are home to rhino populations, such as the greater one-horned, Sumatran, and Javan rhinos in Asia.

Rhinos are not just remarkable creatures; they are integral components of ecosystems and a vital part of our heritage. Their presence shapes the landscapes they inhabit, and their existence supports ecotourism, which, in turn, sustains local communities reliant on the tourism industry.

Pieter Twine, General Manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, emphasizes the importance of continuous efforts to protect these animals. “We need to protect rhinos for future generations, but also for the future of our environment,” he says. “Rhinos are an integral part of our ecosystems and our heritage, and it’s vital that we continue to work every day – with every swipe – to combat the serious threats they face.”

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