Home News Education World Rhino Day: Education For Co-Existence  

World Rhino Day: Education For Co-Existence  

Today, we’re celebrating World Rhino Day and putting a spotlight on the work of our project partners in Assam, northern India. 

Our front-line conservation partners extensively protect three National Parks and one Wildlife Sanctuary, that collectively are home to around 2,885 greater one horned rhino – out of a global population of less than 4,000. These incredible creatures, who bear the amusingly apt scientific name Rhinoceros unicornis, are the state animal of Assam, and our work here has been shown to instil a sense of pride and belongingness in local communities.  

The greater one horned rhino is equally as important to the ecosystems it inhabits as to the people living alongside them. As the rhinos munch their way through vegetation, instinctively favouring some plants over others, they naturally increase plant biodiversity and enable more species to grow and thrive. Ecosystems with greater biodiversity (and therefore more in harmony), act as natural carbon sinks and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Furthermore, greater horned rhinos are true, armour-plated landscape engineers! Their browsing activity keeps grasslands near river systems closely cropped, which makes these areas more appealing to smaller herbivores and other animals too. 

They even promote new forest and grassland growth, dispersing the seeds of the vegetation they consume already handily encased in natural fertiliser – their poop!  

Rhino Goes to School 

Our hugely popular ‘Rhino Goes to School’ education activities teach local children to love rhinos and help them learn more about environmental issues, as well as giving them important transferable skills. Nature orientation camps, funded by DSWF, are much loved by the local communities and represent a dynamic way of instilling a passion for conservation within young people and students.  

At DSWF, we believe that it is only by engaging communities directly impacted by human-wildlife conflict, or entrenched in the illegal wildlife trade, that we will be able to create a better future for all. Our projects show that, by utilising the power of community members and educating young people, we can create a sustainable future for both humans and wildlife. 

Through the programme, local students are taught about the environment, wildlife, and coexistence. The impact of the programme has gone beyond education, instead, also inspiring a sense of stewardship and pride in those participating. Crucially, our ongoing support has enabled the programme to reach communities residing in the furthest fringe villages of rhino-bearing areas – i.e., those in closest proximity to them. 

Image Credit: Aaranyak.

Key Figures 

41 ‘Rhino and Tiger Goes to School’ days took place in Assam, reaching a total of 6,020 children.  

Two longer and more intensive education activities also took place, with the aim of giving participating children in-depth knowledge of conservation and the importance of wildlife.  

One Nature Camp took place – a three day long residential camp for 300 students, which involved classroom-based activities as well as nature walks and safaris.  

A summer Nature Camp was also held – a 25-day programme in the school holidays, which all the attending students enjoyed.  

Image Credit: Save the Rhinos Trust.

Back to School 

Did you know that DSWF offers a comprehensive Education Programme, of which rhinos play a key part? Specifically, our Rowdy Rhinos session is aimed at children aged 5-11 years and focuses on crafting a rhino from clay whilst learning about global conservation efforts. 

We also incorporate rhinos and their importance to biodiversity into several other of our free workshops and talks, so if you’re a teacher or school worker, please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.  

Adopt a Rhino with DSWF 

Why not celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by adopting a rhino with DSWF! By adopting a rhino, you’re helping fund projects like the ones mentioned above, working with local communities to fight wildlife crime, protect prime habitat, and safeguard rhinos in their natural environment. Adopt today from just £3 per month.

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Andrew White
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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