Rhinos have inhabited the African continent for more than a million years and they play a huge role in their ecosystem. The illegal trade with powder made of their horns, which in some countries in Asia still is considered as medicine or just a symbol of wealth, almost caused the extinction of the African rhinos.

In 1875, still more than 1.000.000 rhinos lived in the vast grasslands of Africa. Today the population of the two species black rhino and white rhino is estimated to contain around 5.000 and 20.000 animals, respectively. The senseless killing continues.

The scourge of rhino poaching is an example of the complexities of issues faced by conservation.  One the one hand ensuring local communities see tangible benefit from the tourism sector.  But on the other hand, dealing with sinister external forces, often too powerful to manage.  Faced with these challenges, one of few options available to conservationists is to protect this species by dehorning.

Bayala Private Safari Lodge is supporting a charity called Cycle of Life Charity Funds, in a joint effort to protect the rhino population in the area. In cooperation they started last year the Ride 4 Rhinos as another fundraiser, whereby cyclists can ride on the reserve with mountain bikes to explore the African Bush and the proceeds go towards rhino conservation projects.

Cycle of Life™ has funded an intensive care unit for endangered species. As well as provides funding to the region’s anti-poaching unit, which protects the white and black rhino population. Dehorning of rhinos is undertaken at Bayala to ensure conservation of one of the world’s largest rhino populations.

Tourism also has an important role to play in the conservation of rhino conservation and community beneficiation through job creation.  Admission to game reserves includes a conservation fee.  Tourists that visit game reserve are in this way also making a massive difference.  Some tourists may choose to join Cycle Of Life and Ride 4 Rhinos.

If you are inspired by this fun and innovative approach to funding rhino conservation please go to @cycle of life where more details for the Ride 4 Rhinos can be found.

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