Jeremy Taylor is turning 40 next month and this is great news for the world’s remaining white rhino population.
The man from upstate New York is dedicating his big 4-0 milestone to Sudan, the last male Northern white rhino on Earth. Coincidentally, Sudan is 40-years-old and currently lives under 24-hour armed guard at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
After reading about the plight of Sudan, Taylor decided to take action and use his upcoming birthday to raise awareness and charity monies to boost rhino conservation efforts.
“Sure, I could ask for money to help pay for my week in Maine this summer, or for the new camera I want to get, but this birthday I want to help save rhinos!” Taylor wrote on his fundraising page. “These magnificent creatures are facing extinction within my lifetime if something is not done. I don’t want to think of a world without rhinos.”
The World Wildlife Fund estimate that there were over 2,000 Northern white rhinos in 1960.
But a boom in poaching in the latter half of the 20th century meant that there were only 15 of the animals left in 1980. There are five alive today; Sudan and four females (lucky boy).
Poachers can make a healthy profit from rhinos. Their horns sell for $75,000 per kilo, driven by high consumer demand in China where many believe that the keratin-rich horns can make people look younger and cure diseases. But consuming the horn is just like biting your fingernail – keratin is just gelatinous hair.
Taylor is hoping that his 40th birthday fundraiser will go some way to help put a stop to the needless slaughter of these majestic animals.
“I may never have a chance to travel to see these magnificent animals in the wild,” Taylor said in a statement. “But if I do, I hope that there are still some left to see!”
Those wishing to chip in for the cause have up until Taylor’s birthday on July 18th to donate.