Save the Rhinos at Springbok Casino |

July 4, 2016 admin

Save the Rhino at Springbok CasinoThe lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and rhino make up Africa’s signature big five, a term that refers to Africa’s most wild animals. For those who have had the opportunity to see these magnificent animals up close in person in the wild, they can testify that is truly a peaceful and satisfying experience to see them in their natural habitats.  Unfortunately, one particular species, the rhinoceros, have fell victim to the ever growing act of poaching over the past few years.

What is poaching? Poaching is defined as “the illegal taking of wildlife, in violation of local, state, federal, or international law.” In the case of the rhinos, these animals are killed for the illegal trading of their horns. Some people believe that the rhino horn is supposed to have powers such as a cure for cancer, an aphrodisiac, and a cure-all for diseases and illnesses. It is these beliefs in some Asian nations that have led to the spike in rhino poaching for horn trading. Rhinoceros horn is now worth more than diamond and gold by weight, and the act of “illegal wildlife product trading” has now become the fourth most lucrative global crime.

There are so many organizations worldwide that work to conserve the rhino populations that inhabit Africa and Asia, but one in particular that Springbok fully supports is Aquila Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre.

What is the Aquila Animal Centre?

The Aquila Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre is a non-profit organization that was established in Cape Town as a place for animals to go if they could never be released into the wild again. It is also a temporary home for those animals needing a bridge between captivity and being released into the wild.

The group also aims to deal with the problems of rhino poaching and canned hunting as they grow more and more popular. Canned hunting is when an animal is kept in a confined area (most likely a fenced in space) and then hunted for sport, making it more likely to kill the animal since they cannot escape.

The Saving Private Rhino Initiative

In 2011, a terrible tragedy occurred at Aquila that saw three rhinos attacked, with 2 of them being killed and their horns taken. Since this incident, the initiative was established to ensure the future conservation of rhinos not just at the sanctuary, but of all of Africa’s rhinos and wildlife. In this program, Aquila offers the most integrative, comprehensive anti-poaching solution out there to all reserves in Africa that need help defending their wildlife.

Why are rhinos important?

Rhinos have been around for millions of years and play a very important part in their ecosystems. They eat mostly vegetation, which helps shape the landscape in which they graze. Rhinos also play a big role in ecotourism: tourists that pay to see rhinos can provide income for the local people, who depend on the natural resources of rhino habitats for fuel, food, and income.

Why does Springbok support Aquila?

Springbok Casino prides itself on being South African (the Springbok is a national symbol of the rugby team as well as the country!) so it holds the big five near and dear to its heart. Aquila does amazing work in trying to ensure the survival of the rhinos and that their animals are allowed to live in peace. If baby animals are taken from their parents and have no idea how to survive in the wild, Aquila takes these babies in and gives them a chance to live as comfortably as possible while not being entirely alone. They offer safety and a chance at life to the animals, where as to they would probably die on their own without survival skills.

A Call to Action

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were 500,000 wild rhinos across Africa and Asia. By 1970, that number fell drastically to just 70,000. Today, there are just 29,000 rhinos left in the wild today, and that number decreases every day! The black rhino, the smaller of two species, were once found in all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Their population has been decreased by 96% due to poaching, and their numbers only remain close to 5,000 in protected areas today. The white rhino has seen more resurgence in years due to conservation efforts. As little as 50 white rhinos were present in the wild in 1900, and today that number sits between 19,000 and 21,000, but their classification remains as ‘near threatened’.

Springbok encourages its players to support the work that Aquila does and raise awareness by liking their Facebook page. Showing support and awareness to organizations like these only increases their chances of more donations and more volunteers so that they can keep protecting our animals and saving precious species that are so valuable to our planet. This is only the first step of many, but Springbok has taken it, and so should everyone else!