Youth commit to save rhino

2014-09-22 00:00

THE sun scorched down on the dusty grass of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve as the World Youth Rhino Summit began yesterday.

The beating of African drums welcomed 140 youth delegates aged between 15 and 17 representing 20 nationalities; 10 students and teachers from Vietnam, 40 educators and community leaders from 9 countries and 50 conservation experts as well as U.S. government representatives, to the grasslands of South Africa.

The mission of the summit is to engage youth conservation leaders in rhino and wildlife conservation and protection strategies as well as empower young delegates from around the world.

“The fight to save the rhino is not going to be won in game reserves and courtrooms. It needs to be fought in the hearts and minds of ordinary people who are willing to stand up and work towards a global movement. The youth of the world are a powerful community, and in the past 18 months of working with them, it is clear that they have opinions and suggestions and want to play a role in decision-making,” said Sheelagh Antrobus, co-ordinator of Project Rhino KZN.

Participants will enjoy three days of a traditional African experience including song and dance as well as informative and empowering seminars from world-renowned experts in the field. However, it’s not all fun and games. The young delegates will come together in discussing and issuing resolutions to the threat of poaching throughout the world. Thereafter, on the last day, they will present a World Youth Wildlife Declaration to the government.

Caio da Rocha, a young international delegate from Brazil who is currently living in Mozambique, said that “by solving the rhino problem we are solving a bigger issue of the poaching of all animals”.

Hilton College pupil Daniel Dix (17) said that rhino poaching is a huge disaster that not a lot of people know about.

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