Africa & Beyond – the next world-first Kingsley Holgate Expedition
YOUTH MESSAGES OF HOPE HEADING FOR NEPAL THIS WORLD RHINO DAY (22 September 2018)
Well known explorer Kingsley Holgate’s latest expedition ‘Cape Town to Kathmandu’ has a special rhino conservation focus and is carrying messages of solidarity against rhino poaching from South African youth to Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
In a first-ever youth-focussed rhino conservation activation between the two countries, the expedition team will return to South Africa with reciprocal messages of support from Nepalese children.
Like Africa, Asia’s rhino populations have also been decimated by poaching, driven mainly by demand for rhino horn from China and Vietnam. Today, less than 2,000 greater one-horned rhinos remain in the wild, with only two populations containing more than 100 rhinos: Kaziranga National Park in India and Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
“Chitwan National Park, despite being on the border with China, is a rhino conservation success story,” said Kingsley. “Tens of thousands of greater one-horned rhinoceros once roamed throughout South East Asia, but the population was reduced by poaching and human population explosion to only a few surviving pockets.
“Nepal’s population reached a low of just 100 rhino in the 1960s but today, Chitwan is home to a growing population of 600 greater one-horned rhino, thanks to political will, support from the King of Nepal and commitment from neighbouring communities.”
Holgate is a keen conservationist and founder of the award-winning Rhino Art youth education campaign, which in partnership with Project Rhino, has now reached over 500,000 school children throughout South Africa and abroad in the past five years. Its premise is simple yet effective: using art as the medium, children living in communities bordering game reserves receive a fun-filled, rhino conservation lesson and are encouraged to create their own Rhino Art messages. The programme also assists game reserves to build good relations with their neighbouring communities and generates awareness of the real threat rhino poaching poses to tourism and rural job creation.
Using a specially-designed Rhino Art template that contains both the South African and Nepalese flags and images of both African and Asian rhino species, the Cape Town to Kathmandu expedition visited schools in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, conducting educational Rhino Art events and soccer matches.
“We were amazed at the response,” said well-known conservationist Sheelagh Antrobus, who heads up the expedition’s community conservation work. “The children not only created amazing rhino-themed art pieces but also wrote heartfelt messages of solidarity to their counterparts in Nepal.”
Hundreds of Rhino Art messages from South African children are now stored in the expedition’s three Land Rovers and are en route to Nepal. These will be handed over to Nepalese conservation officials and children living in communities bordering Chitwan National Park, before Kingsley and the team head to Kathmandu for the expedition’s finale in mid-December.
For further details contact:
Sheelagh Antrobus email firstname.lastname@example.org