Rhino Conservationist Wins Environmental Award

Raoul du Toit is a Zimbabwe rhino conservationist who has helped to keep the few critically endangered black rhinos there alive. Their habitat is shrinking and poaching is a constant pressure as rhino horn powder now reportedly sells for $50,000 per kilogram.

Demand is driven by the false notion that rhino horn has medicinal properties; it is really mostly keratin, a protein also in human fingernails and hair. The demand is so voracious and obsessive that the number of black rhinos in Africa may be down to 3,000, from over 65,000 in the 1960s.

Zimbabwe is home to the fourth largest rhino population. Du Toit works in the southern part of the country, and has established the Lowveld Rhino Trust with help from the International Rhino Foundation. He has helped protect 350 black rhinos in southern Zimbabwe, particularly made difficult by economic volatility and political upheaval which increased poaching. He established the Lowveld Rhino Trust to help secure larger parcels of wild habitat–areas that currently make life possible for about 80 percent of the country’s wild rhinos. As a result of his efforts, only 21 rhinos were killed in the area where he works in 2010, down from 79 in 2009.

For his dedication and heroic efforts, he has been awarded a Goldman Prize, which is one of the most coveted environmental awards. Besides recognition as a winner, his organization will receive $150,000 for the continued fight against illegal rhino poaching and protecting their habitat.

He said, “Conserving rhinos saves much more than the rhino themselves–they are flagships for biodiversity and for national development based upon sustainable wildlife management in Africa.” (Source: Goldmanprize.org)

Image Credit:  Ikiwaner

Related Links

Rhino Horn Powder Has No Medicinal Benefits

Saving Rhinos One at a Time

116 comments

heather g.
heather g.4 years ago

This article mentions - Lowveld Rhino Trust
The Lowveld is in the eastern Transvaal - the area around the Kruger National Park and it is in South Africa, not in Zimbabwe.
After negotiating with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, South Africa has opened some national park borders to allow game to migrate without fenced borders along natural migration routes.

It would be very helpful and save the lives of many animals if South Africa could be given financial assistance to help it educate the Chinese and also discourage rural people from killing animals. Unfortunately, the Chinese pay a price higher than gold for this keratin horn.

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

Congrats! Thanks for the post.

Carol Harnwell
Carol Harnwell4 years ago

Dear Jake thank you for the wonderful work you do please go to our fb page "Outraged SA citizens against poaching" WE NEED YOU................

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Beth M.
Beth M.5 years ago

Wonderful!

caterina caligiuri

****** EVVIVA ******* great *cat

Judith C.
Judith C.5 years ago

Congratulations, Raoul du Toit.

Bruno Moreira
Bruno Moreira5 years ago

wow its nice to know that there are still people with loving hearts to care for these beautiful and amazing creatures and have the dedication to pursue the impossible and to fight against poaching. I LOVE RHINOS. I hope one day the population of rhinos will increase in the near future!!!!!!!!

Sarah Zemke
Sarah Z.5 years ago

Thank you!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

I wish that the beliefs about rhino horn could been shown to be untrue, and that every country would educate people to know this , and ban its use altogether.