Save the Rhino's 21st Birthday Celebration
Save the Rhino's 21st Birthday Celebration on Friday 7 November was a night to remember, raising lots of money for rhino conservation and celebrating 21 years since the charity was founded. Take a look at our gallery above, or why not read below to find out more about our guest speeches.
David Stirling, founder of Save the Rhino made a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported Save the Rhino over the last 21 years from early mentors like Rob Brett to William Todd-Jones who introduced David to our famous rhino costumes. Douglas Adams helped raise the profile of the charity by doing his trek in a rhino costume to Mount Kilimanjaro. All the trustees have been so fantastic in their active support and the staff work tirelessly to help the charity. Finally he thanked all Save the Rhino supporters.
View from the field
Richard is CEO of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which has one of the key black rhino populations in Kenya. Unfortunately the cost of protection is going up every year and they have been losing rhinos. Thankfully at the moment the overall population is still stable due to their hard conservation efforts but it is essential to keep up the hard work and to get the cost of protecting each rhino down to make it sustainable. They are trying to expand habitat to also increase their rhino populations.
As well as our introductory speeches, each year at our dinner events we set guest speakers a challenge to talk on a given theme - in under 7 minutes. This year we had 4 speakers taking on the challenge. We gave each speaker 21 slides, to talk on our theme of '21' (in honour of our birthday year).
Sophie Darlington is a wildlife cinematographer. She started 21 years ago when she took Bill Gates on a game drive not knowing who he would become of course. She fell in love with lions and wanted to film them. She had a fantastic mentor Hugo van Lawick, Jane Goodall’s husband who taught her about light and beauty in film. He taught her how to engage people with conservation through the art of film. Some animals like cute baby polar bears it is easy to make people fall in love with them but with other animals it is more of a challenge, especially if they are dangerous but then they are all the more fun.
Julian Rademeyer is the investigative journalist and author of Killing for Profit. Julian talked about a lot of the organised crime syndicates and how they had exploited so many of the loop holes in the system. Many villages in Mozambique particularly had their entire economies dependant on rhino poaching. At any one time in Kruger National Park there are several gangs of poachers operating in the park with one person carrying a weapon that is specifically targeted at rangers. He also talked about the high price faced by so many people in trying to protect rhinos and the difficulties and challenges authorities face.
Stephen Mangan is an English actor well-known for his appearances in TV shows Green Wing and Episodes. He gave a humorous take on the challenge showing guests 21 photos of himself and his quest to win awards. These ranged from being a young child aspiring to becoming an actor, trying to reach for the stars and failing to win any awards. His dream of award-winning finally came true when he won celebrity mastermind - with his specialist subject, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Mark Cawardine is a zoologist, a TV and radio presenter and a patron of Save the Rhino. He gave a talk on 21 vertebrates he had met in his career. This included Sir Peter Scott, founder of WWF, an Aye Aye which looks like a cat merged with a bat, Douglas Adams, Karl Jones who managed brought back the Kakapo (an endangered bird who wouldn’t mate naturally but would mate with a bowler hat and so Karl Jones used this to collect semen), Stephen Fry who isn’t quite so endangered, Sumatran rhino called Rosa who sang while she ate, great white shark, Walruss and finally he met the Dalai Lama who gave him great advice. He concluded with advice that had stayed with him: as long as we don’t pollute our water and air, change the temperature, and kill too many animals we will be ok.