Cinco de Rhino Raises $28,000 in One Day to Help Protect Rhinos During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reserve Relief Fund to provide more than $200,000 in emergency support to reserves impacted by loss in tourism.

Strasburg, Va – A one day fundraising event, Cinco de Rhino, held by the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), increased an emergency fund designed to provide urgent support during the COVID-19 crisis to game reserves that protect rhinos in Africa. Game reserves have been severely impacted by the tourism shutdown.

Cinco de Rhino, held on May 5th each year, raised a preliminary amount of $28,000 from individual donors. Donations are still being counted and this amount could increase. For the first time this year, the event was held virtually and was also part of the new Giving Tuesday Now event in the United States.

The emergency support raised will increase IRF’s Reserve Relief Fund, which was established to help bridge the gap in lost tourism revenue and other COVID-19 impacts with necessary operating funds for vital wildlife reserves. The fund, seeded at more than $200,000 with lead gifts from IRF’s major donors, will make grants to reserves on a rolling monthly basis to help pay staff salaries, purchase health and safety equipment, and keep rhino protection units in the field where they are needed.

“On behalf of IRF, I would like to thank all of the individuals who gave during these difficult times,” said Nina Fascione, executive director of IRF. “Your support of rhinos through Cinco de Rhino and Giving Tuesday Now is greatly appreciated and will help the men and women who are on the front lines protecting rhinos at this critical time.”

With COVID-19 lockdowns in place leading to a complete halt in tourism, reserves are facing serious budget shortfalls. While reserves are doing their best to keep team members employed, some reserves are already asking staff to work for reduced pay.

“Rhinos and other wildlife are reliant solely on rangers for protection at this time,” said Fascione. “With the lack of tourism dollars, and even of tourism itself, it is important that we mobilize to protect rhinos against poaching threats that occur every day, and that may rise as desperation increases. Team Rhino responded to that call.”

A rhino is killed every 10 hours in Africa, and more than 9,000 have been poached in the last decade. “Game reserves are integral, providing habitat and protection to populations of both white and black rhinos. Thanks to generous donors, IRF will be able to provide the emergency support that reserves need to survive and for rhinos to continue to receive protection vital for them to thrive in the wild.”