Holiday Shoppers Can Help Rhinos on #BlackRhinoFriday
As holiday shoppers in the United States head to the stores the day after Thanksgiving—also known as Black Friday—for bargain deals, Africa’s rhinos are getting a horrific raw deal, according to the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).
The African conservation group is therefore urging shoppers to help protect Africa’s remaining 25,000 rhinos this holiday season by doing what they do best: shopping.
“Black rhinos are critically endangered and, along with their white rhino cousins, are facing extinction in Africa unless we act,” says African Wildlife Foundation Vice President of Marketing and Philanthropy Craig Sholley, noting there are less than 5,000 black rhinos left in the world. “But Americans can do their part to help save rhinos as they hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving—what we at African Wildlife Foundation are calling ‘Black Rhino Friday’—and throughout the rest of the holiday season.”
Specifically, shoppers can:
- Do your holiday shopping through online sites such as iGive.com, iMyne.com and Amazon Smile. All three sites donate a percentage of the money you spend shopping to charities of your choice. AWF is registered at each of these sites.
- African conservation groups battling to save rhinos on the frontlines need support. Make a direct donation to groups such as AWF to support on-the-ground efforts and raise awareness abroad about the plight of rhinos. AWF is a registered 501 (c)(3) organization so donations to AWF are tax deductible in the United States. Visit www.wz-yf.com/rhinofriday.
- Give through your workplace by authorizing automatic payroll deductions through non-profit organizations such as EarthShare, which manage workplace pledge giving campaigns for 43 environmental and wildlife conservation organizations.
- Join the #BlackRhinoFriday social media campaign that challenges consumers to focus on giving back and getting involved on this traditionally retail-oriented day.
“Sometimes the holiday season seems like it’s more about acquiring material goods rather than doing good. There are ways, though, to shop smart and help protect Africa’s rhinos at the same time. The smallest gestures can sometimes make the biggest difference,” says Sholley.
Demand for rhino horn—believed incorrectly in Asia to have curative properties—is driving a thriving black market trade, which has resulted in increased poaching in Africa. Last week, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs reported a record number of rhinos—1,020—lost to poachers since the beginning of 2014, surpassing last year’s annual toll of 1,004 poached rhinos.
AWF estimates that as many as 1,152 rhinos could be lost in South Africa by year’s end. It has established a US$10 million Emergency Response Fund—the same amount initially committed by the United States and China, two of the world’s largest economies—to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking in Africa. Via this fund, AWF’s efforts to save the rhino include supporting anti-poaching aerial and foot patrols, placing sniffer dogs at ports in Africa, and partnering with groups to produce celebrity-studded public service announcements in Asia.
“The situation is dire, but it’s not hopeless,” says Sholley. “We urge people to have fun shopping this holiday season but also be aware of the threats facing Africa’s rhinos and know that they can help make a difference when they purchase gifts.”