The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) in conjunction with the J-Bay open, stop number 6 in the ASP’s world surf championship tour, mobilised the force of three of it’s most celebrated surf stars and their network to help raise awareness about the plight of the endangered rhino species.
Last week, world champion surfers Kelly Slater, Martin Potter and two-time J-Bay open event winner Jordy Smith visited the Chipembere Rhino Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that works towards active protection and solutions to stop rhino poaching in South Africa. The Chipembere Rhino Foundation’s key focus is to provide adequate equipment and training to help protect the species.
The three surfers and the ASP crew spent the day learning about the issue surrounding poaching and the need for rhino protection, as well as getting up close with the “gentle giants”, that are under such great threat. ASP have utilised video content and social media channels to document their visit to Chipembere. Their visit and subsequent publicity is an important tool in spreading the word and mobilising active citizenry on a global scale and marks support from yet another voice of contemporary culture.
ASP created a short film to help let people know what they had experienced, spread awareness and raise the profile of the rhino poaching issue.
Dr William Fowlds, speaking on behalf of the Chipembere Foundation affirmed the significance of their visit in saying, “We are not going to solve the crisis from within South Africa. The whole global community has to get behind this and the ASP is helping by sharing the reality of what happens. If we don’t get that message out we won’t ever be able to stop what’s happening.”
Their support comes at a time when South African rhinos need it the most. 558 rhinos have been killed for their horn in 2014, which is approximately 100 more deaths than at this point last year. There are roughly 25,000 rhino’s left in the world and South Africa, home to 73 percent of the total population, lost over 1,000 to rhino poaching in 2013 alone.
The rhino poaching death toll is rising, despite substantial efforts to lower it. It’s at this time, that we all need to play a part in rhino protection, as surf champ Potter stated “this is one problem we can fix by spreading the word and educating the younger generation.”
If you feel inspired to play a part to protect endangered rhinos, you can donate to the cause by buying one of our beaded rhino art figures. Our beaded rhino art is hand-made by local craftsmen and created as our unique way of taking a stand against rhino poaching. Our business is centred around the beauty of the African wildlife and we need to be involved in its conservation.