More from the Sumter YDC Wildlife Protection Campaign
Story support and photos from Rescue 2 Restore Program Coordinator Chrissy Kaczynski
Did you know that a rhinoceros’s horn is made out of keratin – the same material in human fingernails and hair - and, yet, has no real medicinal value? Did you know that, despite the lack of health benefits to humanity, rhinos are critically endangered in the world and are being poached for sale? Did you know that there are groups in South Africa dedicated to saving poaching victims – rhino and otherwise - if they are still alive? If you didn’t already know these facts, you should ask the youth at the Sumter Youth Development Campus for more information about rhinoceroses!
After a recent visit to Zoo Atlanta (http://www.djjnewsandviews.org/whatsnewatdjj/viewnews.asp?newsID=527) zoo visit and through personal research, the Sumter YDC youth learned the story of “Hope”, a rhino experienced a very violent poaching injury yet survived. Saving the Survivors, the nonprofit volunteer organization that saved Hope, provided the youth with background on Hope's story as well as information about the poaching of rhinoceroses around the globe.
When the Sumter YDC youth learned that Saving the Survivors (http://savingthesurvivors.org/) was a small organization that is comprised of only two veterinarians and three other office workers, it was decided by the youth that they would make it their mission to raise money to send to group. A t-shirt was designed and sold on Booster.com with all the proceeds sent directly to Saving the Survivors. Over $600 was raised and sent to the appreciative Saving the Survivors staff.
In appreciation for their fundraising and eduation efforts, the Sumter YDC youth were able to talk for an hour with one of the veterinarians and founders of Saving the Survivors, Dr Gerhard Steenkamp. Through modern technology, the Sumter YDC youth were able to call South Africa in real-time, asking questions both pre-written and on-the-fly based on their interest in the topic and the information provided by Dr Steenkamp. During the talke, Dr Steenkamp said Saving the Surivors greatly appreciated the monetary donation and needed it, impressed and proud that the youths are educating people about the struggle with the poaching crisis. Dr Steenkamp’s only question for the youth was if he could have a t-shirt to show his support for the project in South Africa.
The youth at the Sumter Youth Development Campus were able to make an impact not only locally, but also worldwide through their service learning project. They will never forget these opportunities or the information learned throughout this project.