A woman I definitely feel the world should know is conservationist, Lorinda Hern. This remarkable young woman has taken on the plight of South Africa's endangered rhino population, and over the past 5 years, played a crucial role in swaying public opinion from supporting the legalised trade in animal parts to targeted demand reduction in end-user countries instead - often in the face of aggressive opposition.
It was a brutal poaching attack on her family's private nature reserve that motivated Lorinda to leave her position as a full time university lecturer in 2010 and to devote herself to rhino conservation instead. Nothing ever prepared Lorinda for seeing at first hand, the horror of an animal she’d grown up with, mutilated and left for dead. She instantly made the decision that it was her duty to step in to do what she could to stop the slaughter and so, she founded Rhino Rescue Project (RRP). Few individuals in South African conservation circles have faced so much adversity, most likely because the revolutionary anti-poaching method Lorinda pioneered (where rhino horns are infused with animal-friendly compounds, colouring agents and radioactive isotopes to deter poachers) threatens several individuals and institutions that stand to profit from the legalised trade in rhino horn.
Despite being a prolific academic (obtaining all her under- and post-graduate qualifications cum laude) Lorinda is involved hands-on in the treatment of every animal RRP works on. At almost 6" tall, Lorinda looks like she would be equally at home in front of the camera or in the boardroom. Proof that you don't have to fit a certain "profile" to be successful in any field - you just need conviction, passion and integrity. This visionary conservation powerhouse will stop at nothing to see the animals she loves safe from harm - even if her views make her unpopular in established (and still predominantly male) conservation circles. "I refuse to sit idly by whilst rhinos go extinct on our watch. My greatest fear is children will one day ask me what I was doing while rhinos went extinct and I would have to answer: 'I did nothing; I thought someone else was taking care of it.' We don't have that luxury; we have to be our own heroes in this story".
Everyone can learn from Lorinda's tenacity in pursuit of her goals, to embrace the “out of the box” thinking women so often bring to the table. To date, Lorinda and her team have safeguarded at least 300 rhinos and they have no intention of stopping there. Because of extraordinary women like this one, society DOES have the luxury of saying "someone is taking care of it". Lorinda inspires many with her quick wit, her cool, calm air when things get heated and the graciousness, gratitude & humility with which she gets the job done, despite making enormous personal sacrifices so that an iconic African behemoth may live for our children's children to see and enjoy.
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