World’s top surfers help guard endangered rhinos

World’s top surfers help guard endangered rhinos

On a lay day during the recent 2015 J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), top surfers Kelly Slater, 11-time world champion from the US and Australian WSL Title Contender Owen Wright, joined renowned wildlife veterinarian Dr William Fowlds and the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF) on a special operation to dart and fit a tracking collar to the leg of a threatened white rhino. Exposing these top athletes to the vital tracking components applied in protecting this iconic species allows them to share in some of the work that the Chipembere team and those under the rhino conservation are doing to better protect rhinos from poachers. Approximately 4,800 black rhino are left and are classified as critically endangered, while the 20,000 remaining Southern white rhino are classified as near-threatened. Even so, poaching levels have reached crisis point. “We are losing three rhinos a day in South Africa, and thousands each year,” said Dr Fowlds. “It’s a catastrophe. We need to tell the world what the poachers are doing to these animals.” “There is such a staggering rate of decline in rhino numbers,” commented Slater. “I just don’t understand how anyone could do such things to these amazing animals. It was a privilege to assist the CRF team members, who have dedicated their lives to protecting the rhinos they love so much.” “It’s hard to understand why the poachers are actually doing this. It’s senseless,” said Owen. “To be part of the process of placing the bracelet around the rhino’s foot and the microchip in its nose was amazing. It...

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