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Remember to be aware of Rhinos!
Remember to be aware of Rhinos!

Sunday saw another 6.68 miles cycled, a Rhino scratch missed, and some more wonderful time with James while making more shared memories.

It was just James on Sunday but the two of us had a lovely time as we once again cycled through the delightfully quiet Blair Drummond estate and in to the safari park. We found the wonderful Katie and Amy who were our organisers for our day’s volunteering and then we waited. We had raffle tickets to sell and lots to show children on the touch tables but a Sunday morning in a Safari Park on a day in which rain was featured heavily in the forecast was not a busy time. It was quiet, eerily quiet with just the gentle padding and snorts of the Rhinos as they trot into the enclosure and affirm their position in life with each other. So while we waited, James was taken off to see the Elephants with Katie and I learned a little more about the Rhino. The white Rhino is now critically endangered. The only rung on the ladder above that is extinction. They genuinely are critically endangered in the wild. I then learned how, when they roam as a crash (herd) they keep down the vibrant growth of the thorny bushes that grow in the Savannah. But where there are no longer any rashes of Rhino the thorny bushes are taking over the Savannah. The result is the reduction in suitable grazing fodder for giraffe and elephant as well as the blinding of the big cats, and in particular Cheetahs, as they chase their prey into the thorny thickets. So the loss of one species stood a significant chance of accelerating the loss of further already endangered species as they fail to find fodder to graze, or a mate. How does a blind Cheatah find a mate with whom to breed? It was another tragic story of the importance of all these unique animals to the ecosystems in which they exist. Loose one and another swiftly follows and then another and the momentum builds rapidly towards entire ecosystems lost with their environmental services to us lost too.

Remember to be aware of Rhinos!
Remember to be aware of Rhinos!

As I learned more and my blood boiled so the crowds started to drift in. Gradually the Rhino compound started to fill with wonderful families. I met many children who were clearly deeply engaged with the environment and the deep trouble that it was in. Many of the children were so very knowledgeable and that warmed my heart. Our very survival as a species depends on us yes, but it would appear to be driven by the demands and expectations of the next generation. I witnessed many occasions in which the child’s fascination rubbed off on to the parent. It was wonderful to behold and gave a wonderful window of opportunity for the selling of raffle tickets. James and I were in our element as we asked the families whether or not they would be surprised to hear that our Rhinos loved to be scratched and tickled. Such a simple question that always drew surprised looks and giggles as I crept up behind the family group and asked the question. That usually grabbed their attention as they surveyed the two tonnes of beast in front of them and then I offered them the chance to purchase some raffle tickets while James worked asked the children if they wanted a ‘link to the wild’ wristband. We were employing rather crafty sales techniques to sell the bands and tickets but then the future of the Rhinos, our very future depended on it!!

I loved working with James and again felt proud of the way that he not only interacted with the adults but also engaged the children. It was a good day but sadly didn’t get to see James scratching a Rhino. The opportunity just didn’t arise. However the team were so impressed with James’ work that they have invited him to come over to meet the baby Rhino when Dot gives birth which is at anytime this week. Wow! Lucky James. What an opportunity and of course Dad would need to bring him over!!

So a great day had with a proud Daddy.

Yours aye

Archie
BtB!

The runners before the run
The runners before the run