Saving Rhinos One Coffee at a Time
WORDS: LINA CRONIN
When passion meets practicality, you know you’re onto a good thing.
For Shannon French, founder of Rhino Horn Coffee, it was a love of coffee, social impact and rhinos that led him to start this organisation whose mission statement is to be a vocal advocate for rhino conservation, raising funds for underfunded rangers through coffee sales.
“Rhino is a keystone species. [If we protect them], other wildlife benefits from the flow on effect. If we don’t act now, this prehistoric animal will become extinct in our generation. I am not prepared to sit back and do nothing.”
In today’s economy, rhino horn is worth more than gold and diamonds put together. Statistically, a rhino is killed for its horn every 8 hours. This means that the stakes are high, and poachers go to extreme lengths to kill rhinos, with the horns being sold as part of the worldwide illegal wildlife trafficking network.
As the International Anti-Poaching Foundations explains, “anti-poaching rangers form the first and last line of defence for nature. Without proper training, equipment, management and support they cannot defend the world’s heritage for future generations.”
This is exactly why Shannon wants to fund ranger training and resources through his coffee sales:
“The idea came from my experiences in Africa volunteering as a Ranger with The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF). Having served in the Australian army service and operations overseas, I felt I could contribute physically first. But after seeing the often poorly equipped Rangers and seeing their hard work, love and dedication to conservation I wondered how I could help from Australia.”
So, why coffee?
“I had previously helped to found Wild Timor Coffee, which works closely with villages in Timor Leste where our old patrol bases were,” explains Shannon.
“We were able to help build schools and provide water to the village we once protected. I thought that I could try and do the same for Rhino.”
For coffee lovers, the Rhino Horn Coffee online shop already has lots of opportunities to contribute to the organisation’s cause, from purchasing coffee to T-shirts, mugs and even equipment for rangers. 100% of profits go toward rhino conservation, and even milk for orphaned baby rhinos! Find out more also on Facebook and Instagram.
Image credits: copyright © IAPF and Rhino Horn Coffee
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As a journalist with an international tourism management degree, Lina has worked and volunteered in many countries; including for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in Spain. She now offers her skills to Our Planet Travel on a regular basis – which we are very grateful for. Lina also assists with our social media activities. Currently Lina works for Ecotourism Australia.
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