Minnesota Zoo's AAZK Chapter Launches "Heroes for Horns" Campaign to Fight Extinction of the Desert Black Rhino
Apple Valley, Minn. (September 23, 2016) – The Minnesota Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife and is currently a leader in saving the last free-roaming population of desert black rhino in the world from extinction. “Heroes for Horns” is a new campaign lead by the Minnesota Zoo’s Association of Zookeepers chapter (AAZK) to help raise awareness and support for the work being done on the ground in Namibia by the Minnesota Zoo’s conservation biologist, Jeff Muntifering, and its partner organization, Save the Rhino Trust.
“Heroes for Horns” provides Zoo members and advocates and animal lovers of the general public the opportunity to join the fight against the extinction of the critically endangered desert black rhino by collecting and making donations to help support successful initiatives, such as the Rhino Rangers program. This new campaign will wrap up with a family-friendly event at Brunswick Zone XL in Lakeville, MN on Thursday, October 13 starting at 5:30 pm, where participants will enjoy bowling, arcade games and laser tag, as well as meet Jeff Muntifering, who will be visiting from Namibia.
"This is the first year our AAZK chapter has teamed up with Jeff in support of the Minnesota Zoo's black rhino conservation,” said Taryn Dwyer, Minnesota Zoo AAZK member. “We couldn't be more excited to support his efforts all the way in Namibia from right here in Minnesota!"
Africa’s majestic rhinos are under siege from poachers that are currently killing, on average, 3 rhinos per day to feed the black market demand for rhino horn. Namibia supports over one-third of the world’s critically endangered black rhinos, including the last truly wild population that survives outside of protected areas in the rugged northwestern Kunene Region. It is here that the Minnesota Zoo, Save the Rhino Trust, and other partners work with local communities to save the desert black rhino. Zoo Conservation Biologist, Muntifering, provides scientific leadership and skills training to these rhino conservation efforts, and helps implement the Rhino Ranger Program. Initiated in 2011, this program is training, equipping, and motivating a new generation of local rhino stewards, or “Rhino Rangers”, that are improving rhino security while increasing the value that communities place on keeping rhino alive. The Minnesota Zoo is proud to be a partner on this and other successful long-term efforts in Namibia to save black rhinos.
The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).