Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rhino Conservation

On Easter Monday we came together to create the world’s largest painting. Our good friends Harvey and Emma Jones (who are originally from South Africa) organised the event in aid of Rhino conservation.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate the Easter weekend and a chance to reflect on the choices we make and to ask of ourselves…”are we leaving the planet a little better or a little worse than when we found it”?

According to the World Wildlife Fund, there is a very serious biodiversity crisis.  Experts have estimated the rapid loss of species to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction. 

The site goes on to explain that unlike the mass extinction events of geological history, the current extinction challenge is one for which a single species – ours – appears to be almost wholly responsible. 

Rhino’s are the second biggest living land mammals after Elephants and they live for about 40 years.  Only 5 species of the 30 that once roamed this planet remain today.  The five species include the black, white, greater one-horned (Indian), Sumatran and the Javan rhinos.   All of these species are threatened in some way with three of these species listed as critically endangered.  The world Rhino population has fallen by more than 90% in the past 30 years. 

See:  http://www.wildlands.co.za/partners/project-rhino-kzn/

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia.  This fell to 70,000 by 1970 and today there are just 29,00 in the wild today. 

See: http://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/rhino_population_figures

With the approach of World Rhino Day it seems appropriate to raise awareness around the world and especially here in Australia. 

The dramatic increase in demand for Rhino horn in the East for medicinal and cultural reasons is a major threat to Rhinos in South Africa.  Harvey’s friend Brandon Challis, started the Rhino Record project in an attempt to raise awareness about the plight of the Rhino. Groups all over the world are painting 3x3m canvasses of Rhinos, which will be stitched together in a bid to create a painting the size of a football stadium and used to raise awareness first in South Africa and then to the countries where there is a market for Rhino horn - Vietnam & China.  The massive painting will be made of up 1,200 individual canvasses, which when assembled together will make the world’s largest painting and will be a Guinness World Record.  He is gaining exposure in the South African press.  

See: http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/arty-rhino-grabs-attention-1.1616684#.U1YR9NypOIw

We painted 2 of these canvasses in Sydney, which Emma will take to South Africa to donate to t
his cause.  Their two kids Rosco and Carmen set out the preliminary design for each of these canvases but the end result was a creative collaboration of all of those present.  It was a great example of what can be achieved when people come together to work towards a broader goal.

I hope my photos have captured the spirit of the day.  We find this cause inspiring.  I hope you do too.  Greed and indifference has created this problem.  What can we do to stop the extinction? 

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  ~Edmund Burk

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