Acacia Africa Asks Students To Upload Bad Hair Selfie For Rhinos
Acacia Africa is asking students to sign up for the Bad Hair Day Challenge, the tour operator's #SaveInongwe campaign focused on saving Africa's rhinos.
The simple snap selfie, nominate or donate approach is nothing new, but this attention grabbing initiative is a play on keratin, rhino horn comprised of the same substance found in our own hair and nails. For kudos or cure, in some Asian countries the demand is off the scale, these members of the Big Five living under the constant threat of attack - their horns worth more than gold on the black market*.
Arno Deport, Sales & Marketing Manager at Acacia Africa comments "Highly sophisticated syndicates operate to feed the demand, and these endangered mammals are in need of support from all corners of the globe. Wildlife crime is the fourth largest illegal activity in the world after drug trafficking, counterfeiting & human trafficking - rhinos in the wild facing extinction by 2026."
The statistics are damming, 1,030 of South Africa's rhinos already falling prey to poaching in 2014, that figure eclipsing last year's count of 1,004. In the run up to 31 December the number is more than likely to rise and it's just one of many hard facts we have to face, says the Africa specialist.
Namibia's vast, sparsely populated terrain has remained relatively free from poaching over the last two decades, its darker days telling stories of a savage slaughter - the 1980s a low point for black rhino. The country has come under attack again this year with 22 rhinos on the hit list, and experts are now worried the poaching crisis could be spreading across the border from neighbouring South Africa. In July, Kenya suffered the worst poaching incident in more than 25 years, the Kenya Wildlife Service reporting that two armed gangs killed four rhinos for their horns at a private ranch near Nanyuki. Put the statistics in perspective and they spell a disaster of armageddon like proportions: South Africa home to more than 80% of Africa's rhinos.
“With such a grave wildlife tragedy looming it's hard to imagine what a selfie will achieve but generating awareness and donations will make a difference and it's important not to lose sight of the positive changes being made on the ground," says Delport.
Just months away from having a specialist military unit that will combat poachers, and the southwest African country is considering a plan to deploy drones to support rangers. Kenya has started using high-tech surveillance equipment to track poaching gangs, and South Africa is creating a stronghold within the Kruger to protect its rhino population.
Acacia Africa's #SaveInongwe campaign hashtag spells out the positives - Inongwe a white rhino residing in Zambia's Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Saved from a snare by rangers earlier this year, the pregnant rhino (a significant event as rhinos only give birth every two to four years) was originally from South Africa and part of a earlier translocation project. Under 24-hour armed guard no rhinos have been poached in the park since 2007.
Deport comments, "While Inongwe is part of a success story, Africa's national parks and reserves vary significantly in size, for example the Kruger is comparable to the size of Wales. Conservation over these vast distances comes at a cost and by signing up for our Bad Hair Challenge, and nominating and donating we hope we can bring some of Zambian park's success to the rest of Africa."
To participate in the Bad Hair Day Challenge:
1. Upload your Bad Hair Day selfie to Facebook or Twitter
2. Add the #SaveInongwe hashtag
3. Nominate or donate to Save the Rhino International or your favourite charity
Acacia Africa offers a 5% discount to all ISIC holders and students travelling to Africa in 2015 will have the opportunity to visit Inongwe on an optional walking safari, many of the tour operator's camping overland expeditions passing through Livingstone. Acacia Africa is also running an early booking promotion on selected camping and accommodated overland tours with savings of up to £455pp on bookings made before 31 December.