Every seven hours, one rhino dies at the hands of a poacher. It’s a startling statistic, given that there are fewer than 30,000 of them left worldwide.
Enter Rhinos Without Borders, a charity with an outlandish idea. Instead of hanging around for the weak policing of national anti-poaching laws to improve, it is flying the horned mammals from high-risk areas to countries where their safety record is much better.
And the grand scheme to move 100 such animals over 1,950km from South Africa to Botswana found an ally in Singapore, in luxury vacation specialist Quotient Travelplanner.
“Over the years, I have noticed an acceleration of one theme,” explains its creative director, Wei Lim, 35. “Nature activities or products of nature are less available because of climate change, deforestation, or extinction due to poaching.”
Through outright donations and fund-raisers with safari holidays thrown in, Quotient has pledged to support the cost of translocating one rhino – US$50,000 (S$70,000) – as part of its Rhinos Can Fly corporate social responsibility initiative.
“Most humans are unable to grasp the impact of compound effect to their benefit, never mind the even greater exponential effect of human industry on a seemingly distant species”
Wei Lim, Creative Director, Quotient Travelplanner
Even so, getting potential donors to open their chequebooks has been challenging. Lim laments: “The timepieces worn at one fund-raiser alone would have paid for the translocation of all 100 rhinos, yet we struggled to meet our target for one rhino that day.”
He attributes this not to selfishness, but mankind’s inability to grasp how the balance of our delicate planet can be easily upset due to the exponential effect from the extinction of the rhino.
“Most humans are unable to grasp the impact of compound effect to their benefit, never mind the even greater exponential effect of human industry on a seemingly distant species,” he adds. “An example most can relate to is this: Given a choice of receiving $5 million today or one cent doubled each day for 30 days, most would take the first option, even though the second would give you $5.3 million on the 30th day alone, excluding all previous 29 days.”