Running for Rangers: Combating the African poaching crisis one step at a time
Due to the recent demand for rhino horn, poaching has reached catastrophic levels. In South Africa alone over 1000 rhino were slaughtered in 2015, many more left injured or orphaned. The situation is worse for elephants, with some estimates suggesting that 100 elephants a day are being killed across Africa. Only the rangers and those that support them stand in the way of some of the world’s most dangerous poachers.
Running for Rangers are a dedicated group of individuals who run marathons and ultra-marathons worldwide to raise money for the welfare of these rangers. England Rugby Legend, Phil Vickery MBE, is an ambassador and Phil’s clothing company, Raging Bull, has provided the team with exclusive Running for Rangers polo shirts, which are being worn during the team’s most recent endeavor: the Peru Ultra-Marathon – an arduous 230km marathon through the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Running for Rangers is the first charity adopted by Raging Bull, a partnership born out of respect for the rangers and a love of animals.
Why is poaching such a problem? The market price of rhino horn now rivals gold for value (approximately $65,000 -$75,000 a kilo) and it is estimated that the trade in illegal wildlife products is worth over $17 billion a year. In the Far East, rhino horn is sold in Vietnam and China, and to a lesser extent Laos, as traditional medicine. Despite having been scientifically proven to have no medicinal properties whatsoever, it continues to be in high demand.
With a price per kilo of over $1200 for ivory in the far east, Elephants too are victims of this senseless slaughter. Used for ornaments, the decimation of elephants is continent wide, and we are facing the prospect of extinction of both these two species within a generation.
As poachers’ equipment becomes more sophisticated, so too must the Rangers. As a result, many private conservancies have withdrawn their funding and support, no longer able to match the escalating costs. The Rangers risk their lives to try and protect these species, living in tough conditions and they need support from us to be effective at their jobs and prevent these species from becoming extinct. Over a thousand rangers have been killed in the line of duty since 2003.
Funds raised by the team will go to Space for Giants, Tusk and Save the Rhino among others – conservation charities that are helping to ensure that all rangers are adequately equipped with good-quality equipment, training and general welfare. These are the men that are risking their lives to save these two iconic species – we must do all we can to help them! Any donations are most gratefully received and go towards the most worthy of causes.
To sponsor the team please go to: http://bit.ly/RunningforRangers