To commemorate World Rhino Day, we paid a visit to the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The center is dedicated to saving the species from extinction.
CCTV America’s May Lee reports.
World Rhino Day: A global effort to prevent extinctionToday is the World Rhino Day, which has grown to unite every concerned individuals and organizations around the global for rhino protection. Here at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center is all about saving rhinos from extinction. CCTV's May Lee reports the story.
At the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the new $3 million state of the art facility has been home to six female southern white rhinos brought from South Africa late last year to potentially act as surrogates in the reproductive program.
One of the rhinos, Wallis, recently became a living example of the poaching crisis in Africa. She came to the center with a mysterious wound on her side that just wouldn’t heal. After several recent exams including an x-ray by the local bomb squad, vets detected metal fragments.
“We’re not 100 percent sure, but the way it’s acting the way the wound has been, we suspect there was a possibility that this was a poaching attempt,” Steve Metzler, the animal care manager for mammals said.
The fragments may or may not be removed from Wallis. Vets are still exploring the safest options.
“What’s amazing to consider is that these six Rhinos that were brought over from South Africa is the same number of Rhinos that would be poached in just two days,” Metzler added.
Michael Veale spends time every year in Africa working as an anti-poaching ranger. The work is tough, heartbreaking, and dangerous.
“There are some routine syndicate type poachers. The have a high cash payoff and they don’t want to lose that and they get violent over it and they’re willing to take rangers out. I’ve lost several friends over the last couple of years to this,” Veale said.
But with rising global awareness of the plight of rhinos, especially in Asia where demand for exotic animal products is high, advocates are holding out hope that there can be a collective effort to save the planet’s wildlife.
World Rhino Day was created in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund South Africa as a means to spread awareness of the endangered African and Asian species. In 2011 two women, Lisa Jane Campbell and Rhishja Cota-Larson, expanded the effort to use the holiday as way for zoos, nature reserves, NGOs, and other animal rights organizations around the world to network and combine resources in protecting all five species of Rhinos. Today, the holiday has become a sensation at locations around the world – and the online community.
To learn more about World Rhino Day and the different ways it is celebrated globally, visit:http://www.worldrhinoday.org.