Rhino Poaching: How Did We Get Here?

For too long now, foreign criminal groups have manipulated Africa’s poorest and most desperate peoples to poach and brutally decimate our rhino population. They steal thousands of horns every year. Ultimately, robbing our children of a precious resource that is a part of their birthright.

Sudan, the world’s last male northern white rhino, who died in March 2018. Photo: Ami Vitale

While the poaching happens in Africa, the horn trade is based in the East where people use rhino horn in traditional medicines and valuable artefacts, such as dagger handles.

The work we support on-the-ground involves creating economic opportunities for local communities that mean they don’t have to poach to survive, rehabilitating poachers, and re-positioning rhinos as a valuable living resource to locals through tourism initiatives that give back to communities. This dovetails with state-of-the-art protection of rhinos including de-horning, tracking technology, increased security and zero public reporting on rhino populations, and co-ordinated efforts with law enforcement to stop the trade in our ports and borders. We are doing everything we can to control it in country.

Samburu warriors from Sera in northern Kenya encounter rhinos for the first time
Samburu warriors from Sera in northern Kenya encounter rhinos for the first time on a visit to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in another part of the region. Rhinos were poached off Samburu land years before. Photo: Ami Vitale

We need your help to reach the end-users of rhino horn products and persuade them to stop the demand.

Boycotting has been proven to be the only successful way of eliminating a trade. Until as recently as the 80s fur was a must-have fashion item, flaunted and sought-after across the globe. By the 90s, anyone wearing real fur was vilified and spurned by society. This was achieved by mass awareness of the atrocities of the fur trade and a “no fur” campaign, with celebrity endorsement and stunts like buckets of blood being publically tossed on ladies wearing fur coats. Soon no one wanted to wear fur.

Rhino conservation
Rhino-keeper Kamara is hand-raising Kilifi, an 18-month-old rhino, and two other babies at Ol Pejeta Conservancy – the last of a Kenyan population near extinction. Photo: Ami Vitale

History has taught us that the only way to stop the killing is to stop the demand. That may seem an insurmountable problem unless, like us, you understand the power of global networks…We need to work together to educate the globe and keep up the conversation.

Let us stand together to ensure that our children and grandchildren do not look back and wonder how we could have stood by and allowed this tragedy to happen.


The Rhino Bill of Rights is a manifesto to save and protect endangered rhinos in Africa; a proclamation to affect real change, before it’s too late. Timeless Africa Safaris will donate R1 for every signature, up to an amount of R10,000, to high-impact rhino conservation projects and non-profit organisations dedicated to their survival. Share it with everyone you know, spread the importance of this message far and wide, and let’s take action against the loss of this precious species.
Sign the Rhino Bill of Rights