As you know, PARCA recently hosted our friend from Africa. We enjoyed almost two full weeks of sightseeing, showing him our little corner of the world, and telling stories. He shared his stories of the impact of conservation work with docents and staff at the Philadelphia Zoo and with PARCA supporters. He shared many stories about how the work we are all doing not only benefits the rhinos, but also the people. The obvious impact is on those working directly with the rhinos – vets, helicopter pilots, those with jobs tracking and monitoring their safety, and even the safari guides. But there are so many other jobs supported by these efforts…reservation agents, baggage handlers, and all of the other folks working for the airlines who fly tourists in to see the rhinos and all the safari camp staff.
One of the best stories he told was about his own family. He had been working with the teams for a long time planning for the arrival of the rhinos. His family started to tease him at some point that they didn’t believe the rhinos would ever come. When they finally arrived, everyone was impressed and certainly appreciated the magnitude of the work. However, it was an even bigger impact and REALLY made them care about the rhinos when he told them that the reason he was getting to come to the U.S. was because of the rhinos. He told them that without the connections he had made with people through the rhino conservation work, he would never have been able to make the trip. He said that the respect for the rhinos increased even more when they realized what this project made possible for him personally.
We all loved this story and had to share it with you. It really is not just about the rhinos!