We want to change the world with. Yup, we said it. We want to make this world a better place one itty bitsy bikini at a time. And if you’ve been following us, you know that $10 from the bikinis we sell go toward a cause that’s near and dear to our ❤️. With our South Africa collection, we decided to partner with Project Rhino, a charity devoted to creating a better life for the rhinos in virtually every way possible. Launched in 2011, the organization works tirelessly to stop rhino poaching. Well, we sat down with the team and asked them to share a little more about their mission and what they’re doing as well as give us a little knowledge on biodiversity and why we ought to care about it. Here’s what they had to say:
Tell our mermaids just what Biodiversity is.
Biodiversity is the variety of all living things (species) which includes plant and animal life in the world or in one specific area.
Explain the importance of biodiversity in today’s world?
Generally, the greater the level of diversity, the healthier the environment. It is the process where biodiversity (living components in the environment) interact with the non-living components, to produce life supporting services such as air, clean water, soil etc. Basically, without these processes, and without healthy biodiversity, earth would not be comfortable place at all.
Tell us about Project Rhino and the work happening within the organization.
Firstly, we as Project Rhino have concluded that there is no single intervention that is going to stop rhino poaching (or wildlife crime) immediately. As such, we have taken a multi-pronged approach to tackle the issue. This also has a time element to it where we have our here-and-now interventions as well as those that are of a long-term nature. We also have a spatial consideration where we believe that the work carried out inside the Park is just as important as that which is done outside of it (rhino education and awareness programmes and local community engagements).
What makes Project Rhino different from other wildlife organizations
Project Rhino is made up of a number of member organizations. It was formed as a result of many different organisations uniting, on the realization that by working together and pooling our resources, we would be able to have a greater impact. We interestingly have members who include rhino owners, private landowners, communities, NGO’s and state entities. This has prevented a fragmented approach to dealing with a very well-informed enemy. I also think that our interventions are guided from the ground up in a very participatory way. In other words, we work closely with those who are at the coalface, to understand exactly what support would be most beneficial, rather than thinking that we have a good idea and it works somewhere else in the world, so it must be the answer to stop rhino poaching in that specific context.
Why is this partnership with Salty Mermaid so special and unique?
I firmly believe that we need to be thinking in the one-world paradigm, where healthy functioning and biodiverse systems across the planet are for the benefit of us all. Africa’s charismatic wildlife is unique and should be as important to an African as it is to any other global citizen. We all have a responsibility to effect positive today and I think the relationship with Salty Mermaid exemplifies that. Anyone can make a difference, no matter where or who or how old you are. Who would have thought – rhinos and quality swimwear? But throw in the word ‘responsible’, and it all makes sense. Thank you!
Tell us about some of the changes that have come about because of Project Rhino?
Project Rhino has added significant support to its member reserves since it was established in 2011. We have implemented a strategy which has short-term value (defending what we have now), but it is the long-term investment with difficult measurables, that I believe is where the greatest successes will lie. This is in the form of our youth education programmes, especially with those that live around these rhino reserves.
Share with us a fun fact about the rhinos themselves 🙂
❤️ Project Rhino aims to support the black and white populations of rhino. They are two very distinct types of animals – with the black rhino being the smaller (almost half the size) of a white rhino. So when we talk about saving ‘rhino’ we are talking about two very different species.
❤️ A black rhino calf runs behind its mother and a white rhino calf runs in front of its mother.
❤️ Although black and white rhino are so different in size, there is only 1-month difference between the length of their gestation period – white rhinos are pregnant for 16 months and black rhino are 15 months.
❤️ There is no color difference between a black and white rhino – both rhino’s enjoy mud wallows and so they often look similar, reflecting the colour of the mud that they have bathed in.
❤️ White and black rhinos can live together because they generally prefer different habitats – thicker bush for the black rhino and grassy areas for white rhino. The reason for this is that black rhino are browsers (leaf and small branch eaters) whilst white rhino are exclusively grazers (grass eaters).