9 Best Charities for Protecting Rhinos (Complete 2021 List)

9 Best Charities for Protecting Rhinos (Complete 2021 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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There are 5 species of rhino in the world, yet every single species is threatened with extinction. Poaching efforts in the 1980s decimated populations across Africa and Asia which resulted in the iconic rhino being brought to the edge of extinction. Rhino charities work tirelessly to apprehend poachers and also build sanctuaries to hopefully save these beautiful, enigmatic animals from disappearing entirely. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for protecting rhinos?”

The best charities for protecting rhinos in terms of overall impact are Save the Rhino International (greatly reducing poaching numbers), the International Rhino Foundation (collaborating with zoos, government ageincies, and conservation organizations), and Tusk (pioneering rhino conservation).

Whether you want to fund programs to inspire new rhino conservationists, help charities feed and care for orphaned rhino calves, or just want to ensure that these iconic animals are around for future generations to appreciate, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for protecting rhinos are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Protecting Rhinos Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over Africa and Asia to ensure that every rhino is protected from the relentless poaching efforts that are risking the whole existence of these species. They also invest in translocation programs to move endangered rhinos to protected areas where they can be monitored closely. 

Most of the chosen charities work directly with local governments, communities, and rangers, to actively deter poachers, remove dangerous snares, and provide medical treatment to injured rhinos. Others focus on breeding programs to ensure that rhino populations are sustainable for the future. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Protecting Rhinos

Below are our favorite charities for protecting rhinos (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Save The Rhino International: We Save Rhinos

Save The Rhino International is a UK-based charity that was set up by Dave Stirling and Johnny Roberts in 1993. Shocked by the black rhino epidemic that saw populations fall from 65,000 in 1970 to just 2,475 individuals in 1993, the two rhino enthusiasts set off on a ‘Rhino Scramble’ across Africa to raise money. By the end of that year Save the Rhino International was formed. Today, the charity raises funds to support rhino conservation programs across Africa and Asia, with a particular focus on the two most endangered species; the Sumatran Rhino and the Javan rhino. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Save the Rhino International has a 99.08% program expense ratio according to Charity Navigator, which reflects their high proportion of income that goes directly to charitable causes. Based on their financial report, the charity spends 87% of its income on charitable activities and 13% on raising funds. 

“All five rhino species thriving in the wild”

Save the Rhino International

What they do: Save the Rhino International raises funds to support rangers working in Africa and Asia to apprehend poachers. The charity also runs annual workshops for anti-poaching canine units across Africa, bringing individuals together to share knowledge and learn new skills to combat rhino poaching. Their pioneering Lolesha Luangwa environmental education program targets schools surrounding the North Luangwa National Park in Zambia, working to involve pupils in positive environmental projects to support the long-term survival of rhino populations.

What they’ve achieved: Save the Rhino has helped reduce the rhino poaching numbers by more than 50% since 2014 through various initiatives. In 2019, they sent £2.5 million to rhino programs across Africa and Asia. This included a $100,000 donation to the Sumatran Rhino Rescue project which has helped to build a new veterinary lab at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park. In 2014, the charity launched the revolutionary Chi Campaign to educate the public and reduce the demand for rhino horns in Vietnam. Since the launch, over 5,000 businesses have joined the movement, with many CEOs publicly pledging not to consume rhino horn.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Save the Rhino International through their website, or you can organize a fundraising event to raise money for the charity. Save the Rhino International also has numerous opportunities for you to volunteer with them, including office and event volunteer roles. 

International Rhino Foundation: Fighting For Their Survival 

The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) was initially set up as the International Black Rhino Foundation in 1989, in response to the intense poaching that was devastating the Black rhino populations in Zimbabwe. But already by 1993 the team, including current IRF Treasurer Lee Bass, came to realize that all five rhino species were in jeopardy and changed their name accordingly. Today, the charity works closely with local communities to protect rhinos and their habitats through targeted protection programs. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The International Rhino Foundation has a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“A world where rhinos thrive in the wild.”

International Rhino Foundation

What they do: The International Rhino Foundation works with over 1,000 individuals and numerous zoos, government agencies, and conservation organizations, to support and manage rhino conservation projects in Africa and Asia. In 1996, alongside the Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI), the International Rhino Foundation set up the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Lampung, Indonesia, as a groundbreaking breeding facility to save the Sumatran Rhino from extinction. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, the International Rhino Foundation has invested over $1 million in research grants to support rhino conservation. Thanks to the protection and habitat management conducted by the International Rhino Foundation, the population of Greater One-horned Rhinos in the Orang National Park in Assam has risen from 68 to 101 in 5 years. And this population is now the largest in India. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the International Rhino Foundation through their website. You can even symbolically adopt a Black Rhino, where your donation will fund monitoring operations and the care of orphaned calves in Zimbabwe. 

Helping Rhinos: Innovation In Conservation

Based in the UK, Helping Rhinos was set up in 2012 by Simon Jones after he worked on rhino conservation projects in Africa. Today, the charity raises awareness of the issues facing rhino populations through their education programs and raises funds to support various rhino conservation projects in Africa and Asia. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their annual report, the American branch of Helping Rhinos spends 99% of their income on charity projects, with 1% being spent on operating costs. At the same time, the UK branch of Helping Rhinos spends 65% of their income on charitable donations, 20% on raising funds, and 10% on running charitable events. 

“Helping rhinos survive at sustainable levels in their natural habitat.”

Helping Rhinos

What they do: Helping Rhinos fund conservation projects that support the development of sustainable rhino populations through research, political advocacy, anti-poaching initiatives, and through their international education program Rhinocation. The charity also works with local landowners and other conservation charities to set up and maintain wildlife conservation sites for rhinos across Africa. In 2017, alongside the Zululand Conservation Trust, Helping Rhinos set up the Zululand Rhino Orphanage that provides 24-hour care to rhino calves that have lost their mothers through poaching.

What they’ve achieved: Thanks to the funding efforts of Helping Rhinos, Ol Pejeta Conservancy (a wildlife haven in Laikipia, Kenya) is now home to the largest population of Black Rhinos in East Africa. The record-breaking success of the haven has seen them go from just four black rhinos in the late 1980s to 135 individuals in 2019. Helping Rhinos also funds the Black Mambas anti-poaching unit that comprises 36 women who patrol the 50,000 hectares of the Balule Nature reserve for snares set up by poachers. Between 2013 and 2020, the Black Mambas had reduced poaching incidents in their area by 63%.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the charity through their website. You can also adopt a rhino to support the care of orphaned calves, or sponsor a member of the Black Mamba anti-poaching unit. 

Tusk: Advancing Conservation Across Africa

Tusk was set up in 1990 by Dr. Sir Christopher Lever in response to the devastating impact of the poaching crisis in the 1980s, which pushed black rhinos to the brink of extinction. Today, the charity tackles the illegal wildlife trade, particularly in rhino horn, and works to educate local communities on how to coexist with local wildlife. Tusk also funds wildlife conservation projects across Africa. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Tusk releases their financial statements annually. According to their 2020 report, 74% of their expenditure was spent on protecting endangered species and their habitats, 24% on environmental education and promoting human-wildlife coexistence, and 2% on advocacy and awareness. 

“To amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa.”

Tusk

What they do: Tusk partners with local organizations to set up long-term conservation initiatives for flagstone species across Africa, including rhinos. They invest heavily in anti-poaching efforts and advocate for tighter border controls to stop the illegal wildlife trade. The charity also supports the conservation of habitat corridors that link natural wildlife habitats with restored habitats, totaling 10 million acres of land. In addition, they provide environmental education and outreach programs to educate local communities and school pupils on effective conservation management. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, Tusk has financially supported and helped to pioneer successful conservation initiatives across 20 countries. This has increased protection for over 70 million hectares of land and more than 40 endangered species. The charity’s Save the Rhino Trust program monitors and protects over 25,000 hectares of Black Rhino habitat in Northeast Namibia and works with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to provide training, resources, and equipment to anti-poaching operations in the area. Their pioneering Pan African Conservation Education Program has now reached over 500,000 local school children in 33 countries.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Tusk through their website or set up a fundraising event to support the charity. You can also purchase items from their online shop, where a portion of the profits go directly to the charity. 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF): Taking Action For Our World

The World Wildlife Fund was founded in 1961 by a group of scientists and conservationists including Sir Peter Scott and Sir Julian Huxley, with the aim of stopping the degradation of the planet’s natural environment. Today, the organization is the world’s largest conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide and conservation projects in over 100 countries. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The World Wildlife Fund holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together.”

WWF

What they do: The World Wildlife Fund works on ambitious programs to create green corridors for wildlife, protect forests and oceans, and advocate for a global commitment to end the illegal wildlife trade. The charity is also heavily involved in rhino breeding programs and conservation efforts; transporting rhinos to newly restored habitats where they can be protected from habitat loss and poaching efforts. 

What they’ve achieved: In partnership with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Eastern Cape Parks, the WWF set up the Black Rhino Ranger Expansion Project in 2013. Since the project’s launch, 12 new black rhino populations have been established in safe habitats and 201 black rhinos have now been relocated. And in 2019, the WWF invested £23.5 million in restoring habitats and protecting endangered species across the globe. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the WWF through their website or you can adopt an animal to fund the work of the charity. You can also visit WWF’s online shop where 100% of the profits go directly to the charity. 

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: Working Across Kenya To Secure Safe Havens For Wildlife

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 by Dame Daphne Sheldrick DBE in honor of her late husband, famous naturalist David Sheldrick. Even today, David is seen as one of Africa’s most pioneering National Park Wardens after he transformed Tsavo, a wasteland, into Kenya’s largest and most famous National Park. Nowadays, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a haven for orphaned elephants and rhinos. The trust also works to protect key ecosystems and areas of wilderness in Kenya to secure the survival of these species for years to come. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator which is the highest score that a charity can achieve. 

“The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust exists to protect Africa’s wildlife and to preserve habitats for the future of all wild species.”

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

What they do: The Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts’ Orphan project has achieved worldwide acclaim for its successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. In conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the charity also runs eighteen anti-poaching teams to apprehend poachers who threaten wildlife in the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area, the Meru National Park, and the Mau Forest. In addition, the charity runs five mobile veterinary units and a quick response team to tend to injured wild animals across Kenya.

What they’ve achieved: By the end of 2020, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust had successfully raised 17 orphan rhinos and 263 orphaned elephants through their Orphan Project and their mobile veterinary units had successfully attended to 732 injured wild animals. Overall, the vet units have now saved 7,299 wild animals. In the same year, their anti-poaching teams confiscated 9,067 snares from the National Park and arrested 189 wildlife offenders. The Kamboyo intensive protection zone designed to protect wild rhino populations now covers around 20,000 square kilometers and offers some of the best rhino habitat in Kenya. The amount of land now protected by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust covers 330,000 acres

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through their website. You also have the option to foster an orphaned rhino or elephant in their care. Additionally, you can purchase any of the much-needed items on the charity’s wishlist, including milk for their orphans or bolt cutters to release wild animals from snares set by poachers. 

Fauna & Flora International: Biodiversity Champions

Fauna & Flora International was set up in 1903 by a group of British and American men in colonies in Africa, including Edward Buxton who had previously sought to protect wildlife areas of the UK. The original goal of the society was to safeguard the future of Africa’s large mammal species, including rhinos, elephants, and the Oryx. Today, the charity works with governments, large corporations, investors, and local communities to tackle the habitat loss and poaching threats facing Africa’s flagstone mammal species.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Fauna & Flora International has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 93 out of 100 encompass rating from Charity Navigator.

“To conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide.”

Fauna & Flora International

What they do: Fauna & Flora International works in over 40 countries supporting 140 conservation projects to protect endangered species and their habitats, including all five endangered rhino species. They do this by partnering with local communities and law enforcement officials to maintain protected areas and combat the illegal wildlife trade. The charity is also committed to using the latest technologies in their conservation efforts, from 3D mapping of conservation areas to their pioneering Spacial Monitoring and Reporting Tool which measures and evaluates the effectiveness of local wildlife law enforcement patrols and conservation activities. 

What they’ve achieved: In 2020, the charity influenced conservation efforts across 50 million hectares of land and supported over 800 rangers on the ground. In the same year, they gave over £5.4 million in conservation grant funding to conservation projects. With the aid of the Arcus Foundation, Fauna & Flora International helped to set up the 364 km2 Ol Pejeta Conservancy which now holds the largest population of Black Rhinos in East Africa. Today, the charity continues to support the reserve by relocating threatened Black Rhinos into the sanctuary and setting up hi-tech monitoring systems around the reserve. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Fauna & Flora International through their website or you can sign up to become a member of the charity by donating a set amount monthly or annually, where you will receive annual updates on their work and achievements. 

Rhino Conservation Botswana: Giving Rhinos A Future In Botswana

Rhino Conservation Botswana was set up in 2000 by Map Ives. Map had lived in Okavango Delta, Northern Botswana for 40 years and launched the charity to address the lack of resources available to the Botswana government to effectively monitor wild rhino populations. Today, the charity works to reintroduce rhinos to Botswana in order to establish wild breeding groups that are safe from poachers. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Rhino Conservation Botswana has a 98.98% program expense ratio from Charity Navigator, which reflects the percentage of the charity’s expenses that are spent on its charitable programs and initiatives. Based on their annual reports, the charity spent 79% of its income for that year on charitable activities. 

“Dedicated to monitoring and protecting wild black and white rhino in Botswana.”

Rhino Conservation Botswana

What they do: Rhino Conservation Botswana works with numerous like-minded partners and the governments of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, to reintroduce black and white rhinos into the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. Working with Wilderness Safaris and Rhinos without borders, the charity rescues rhinos at risk from poaching and relocates them to the Okavango Delta region, where they are then monitored closely. The charity also conducts research into the long-term sustainability and environmental impact of reintroducing rhinos and has set up a rhino DNA database of all the rhinos in Botswana to help with future population management decisions. 

What they’ve achieved: In total, Conservation Botswana have successfully translocated more than 100 Rhinos to Botswana. For example, in 2019 Rhino Conservation Botswana successfully assisted in the translocation of 14 rhinos to Botswana and undertook 17 rhino darting operations to treat injured rhinos and fit tracking devices for monitoring. And in 2013, the charity was integral to the completion of the largest ever cross-border translocation of black rhino.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Rhino Conservation Botswana through their website. You can also purchase items from their gift shop where 100% of the profits go directly to the charity. 

African Conservation Trust: Preserving Africa’s Rich History

The African Conservation Trust (ACT) was set up in 2000 by Carl Grossmann as a volunteer organization to monitor Hippo and Wild Dog populations in Malawi. In 2003, the ACT began to focus on South Africa and now implements erosion control and conservation programs in the area. In 2011, the charity set up Project Rhino in collaboration with 37 like-minded organizations to combat rhino poaching. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The African Conservation Trust has achieved a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment accreditation, which showcases the charity’s dedication to financially supporting black people in the South African economy. The African Conservation Trust is also a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“Committed to building a sustainable and collaborative environmental, conservation, and heritage sector.”

African Conservation Trust

What they do: The African Conservation trust assists small non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation in Africa through their Nsimbi partnership program, with the hope that building the sector will increase conservation efforts. Through their CWC Africa project, the charity is working to expand protected conservation reserves to prevent the areas from encroaching human development. Their Project Rhino program supports field operatives and provides funding and resources for anti-poaching and conservation teams in the field. 

What they’ve achieved: Through their Project Rhino program, the African Conservation Trust has raised over $334,000 every year to protect rhinos in their natural habitat and support field staff tackling wildlife crime. Zap-wing, a partnership initiative between the African Conservation Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, is the world’s first integrated aerial anti-poaching program in South Africa and provides vital surveillance to 26 game reserves covering more than 300,000 hectares of land. The initiative has now been nationally recognized for its proactive approach and success at deterring poachers from the Northern KwaZulu-Natal area. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the African Conservation Trust through their website. You can also donate via the Yoco or Given Gain portals where you have the option to allocate your donation to a specific project. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for protecting rhinos. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is just up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to protecting rhinos – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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