Young ‘Rhino Champions’ campaign against poaching

2013-06-19 00:00

YOUNGSTERS have joined the fight to save the country’s rhinos from extinction.

This is according to Aaminah (11) and Afeefah (8) Patel, from Robertsham in Johannesburg, who are visiting schools as part of the Rhino SA campaign to make children aware of rhino poaching and encourage them to get involved.

RhinoSA last week appointed the two sisters as “Rhino Champions” in recognition of their creative contributions to saving South Africa’s rhinos. The organisation was so impressed by the siblings that they have even asked them to write speeches about rhino poaching to motivate children to get involved.

It all started when Afeefah sent a letter to President Jacob Zuma, begging him to save the rhinos.

In reaction SANParks honoured her with an award at its annual Kudu awards.

This award goes to people who contributed to conservation. She also received prize money of R20 000, which she donated to the Unite Against Poaching campaign.

This was the start of an international letters campaign launched by Rhino SA. The aim is to get children across South Africa involved in the fight against rhino poachers by sending a letter to Zuma, which will be handed to him by Aaminah and Afeefah later this year.

Irene Huysamen, Rhino SA spokesperson, said they already have more than 7 000 letters to hand to the president.

Afeefah and Aaminah often visit the Kruger game reserve with their parents and there they fell in love with the “animal that looks so old and wrinkled”.

Saddened by the images of rhinos without horns, Aaminah wrote a poem that ends with a plea by Mr Rhino.

The sisters hope to involve more children in South Afrca. “They can do anything. Draw a picture or write a letter. All that matters is that everyone starts to help,” Afeefah said.

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