Cinco de Rhino
May 5th is known in many circles as Cinco de Mayo (okay, most circles), but to many zookeepers, it’s Cinco de Rhino. This is the perfect time to host a rhino fundraiser for the rhinos conservation. The American Association of Zookeepers (AAZK) usually hosts Bowling for Rhinos around this time. This year, many AAZK chapters chose to host virtual fun-runs to raise awareness and funds to help rhino conservation.
I’ve seen tons of different ideas for these events– 5K Your Way (San Francisco), Run for Rhinos (several chapters are hosting this), and my personal favorite (Puget Sound chapter in Seattle), Dash for the Crash.
We call it Cinco de Rhino to celebrate and honor the five species of rhinos alive today. Cinco=five. And it’s important to learn what we can so we can be inspired to action.
So let’s dive into the realm of the rhino as we get ready to Dash for the Crash!
Rhinos in Trouble
Fun rhino fact- a group of rhinos is called a crash. So, when we do a dash for the crash, we’re having a little bit of word-play but quite literally saving groups of rhinos.
There are five species of rhinos in the world– the white rhino and black rhinos, which reside in Africa, and the Greater one-horned rhino, Sumatran rhino, and Javan rhino in Indonesia. All five species are considered endangered or threatened. In fact, the Sumatran rhino and the Javan rhino are among the most endangered mammals on earth. There are only 60 Javan rhinos left, and only 80 Sumatran rhinos.
Sadly, the Sumatran rhino is struggling even more than the Javan rhino. Javan rhino populations, while dismally low, are considered stable. Javan rhinos are found only in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia. Here, they are carefully protected by park rangers, but their limited space limits how many can sustainably survive. What Javan rhinos desperately need is more protected land. Sadly, outside the boundary of Ujong Kulon National Park, Javan rhinos are ruthlessly hunted and poached.
The Sumatran rhino has a devastating story. When I was first introduced to rhinos in 2009, the Sumatran rhino population was around 300. In a little over 10 years, their numbers dropped below 100, and today, there are only 80 left. Rhinos reproduce slowly, so Sumatran rhinos cannot compete with the numbers being poached.
Sumatran rhinos also hold a special place in my heart. They are the smallest species of rhinos, and the closest living relative to the wooly rhinos from eons past. They sort of remind me of a Jim Henson character. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them show up in the world of the Dark Crystal.
However, what I truly love about Sumatran rhinos is how zoos have had a profound impact on saving this species. In 2012, the first Sumatran rhino was born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary after two males, both born at Cincinnati Zoo, were sent there to help boost the Sumatran rhino population.
Increasing populations is just a small part of the solution to saving rhinos. We must do our part to help stop poaching and stop deforestation, the two top challenges all rhino species are facing.
Dash for the Crash
So what can we do to save rhinos?
Raising awareness is key. Contributing to organizations that are fighting to protect and preserve our rhino species is vitally important, too. Lewa conservancy, a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya, relies heavily on fundraising efforts to equip researchers and rangers. Simply eliminating one Starbucks coffee a month and donating that money to rhino conservation can help turn the tide on extinction.
This is why I’m participating in Dash for the Crash virtual 5K, and created ZooFit’s Wildlife Workout Dash for the Crash. Because honestly, why not have a little bit of fun while learning about rhinos and raising money?
ZooFit is all about making fitness fun and impactful. So to celebrate Cinco de Rhino, I created a special Wildlife Workout– Dash for the Crash.
This is a quick (15 minutes) cardio blast that will leave you smiling and sweaty.
5 Rounds — 3 minutes each round
- 10 Rhino Dashes (about 20-25 feet)
- 5 Rhino Charges after each “dash”
Finish the 10 dashes and rhino charges and rest the remainder of time. Repeat for 5 rounds. Ideally, you will want 30 seconds-1 minute of rest between rounds.
Modify the exercises as necessary. Walk, jog, or sprint the rhino dash. Use the rhino charge as a stretch or as a cardio exercise. You do you and have some fun!
If you are only getting 20-30 seconds rest, or not recovering enough between rounds you can modify one of 3 ways:
- Decrease the distance for the dash
- Decrease the number of reps of either dashes or rhino charges
- Increase the time to 3:30
You can also increase the intensity if you are resting more than 1 minute or want to test your fitness more
- Decrease the time to 2:20 or 2:45
- Increase the distance
- Increase the rhino charges to 10 (5 each side)
Either way, let’s get ready to dash for the crash! Run for rhinos!
Living green, and training positive.