“Governments must also take a tough stand. But the law alone cannot break this complex network. There has to be education on how to save and live peacefully with the rhino. Communities need to appreciate the value and importance of the rhino to humanity.”

Nobukhosi Moyo, Waterford School, Swaziland

Youth ambassadors representing 20 nations who attended the inaugural World Youth Rhino Summit in KwaZulu-Natal over World Rhino Day (21st – 23rd September 2014) hailed it a resounding success, and called for improved commitment to rooting out corruption, better use of funding and resources, more emphasis on education and awareness and greater political will to support the fight against rhino poaching and global wildlife crime, as they presented six hard-hitting Resolutions and a World Youth Wildlife Declaration to Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thomson and global conservation icon Dr Ian Player.


In the weeks building up to the World Youth Rhino Summit, the delegates were provided with background information on the rhino poaching crisis and wildlife crime.   6 ‘Critical Issues’ were selected as central to the problem and students were required to select one theme and do their own further background research.


The themes were as follows:

  1. Commercialization of Wildlife: trade, ecotourism and hunting
  2. Demand reduction, culture and society: can demand for rhino products be reduced?
  3. Wildlife Crime. Is this the World’s New War?
  4. The human tragedy – poverty and poaching are linked. Is there a way to address this tragedy?
  5. Protected Areas, Preservation & Conservation.
  6. Rhino Education & Awareness: what role can I play?

At the Summit, four academic Indabas equipped the delegates (Rhino Warriors), to become knowledgeable Ambassadors for Wildlife and provided the tools they would need to speak out against rhino poaching and wildlife crime in their own communities.


These 4 Indabas included:

Indaba 1 – Setting the Scene: using role playing and mind-mapping, the global reach and impact of the rhino poaching crisis was put into context.


Indaba 2 – Debating the Issues: lively discussions and debates that lasted long into the night on the 6 Critical Issues formed the background to the Resolutions, which were written by the Rhino Warriors themselves. Key to this was that the Rhino Warriors came to their own conclusions, with minimal adult participation. This 9 hour process encouraged critical thinking and problem solving: students were encouraged to create new arguments and different approaches to the problems at hand; they were able to call on the knowledge of conservation elders and experts, who were on hand to answer their questions.


Indaba 3 – Voices of Protest: Rhino Warriors showcased their voices of protest through drama, dance, poetry, art and other forms of creative expression, further helping them to distil information that would become the Resolutions.


Indaba 4formulating the Resolutions: this final Indaba summarised all the discussions and learnings of the Summit and resulted in the compilation of the 6 Resolutions, written by the delegates.