By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
It’s not that long ago that Elle MacPherson made a huge gaffe when she stated that the secret behind her long, thick mane was…rhino horn. Not only is it utterly immoral to use animal parts as part of your beauty routine, but it’s also illegal. Duh. And perhaps the biggest irony is that taking rhino horn, which is high in keratin – has never been proven to actually boost hair health. In fact, you’d be better advised to eat your fingernail clippings if you’re after some quality keratin (ew, right?)
Luckily, there are a few more clued in celebs that are doing the opposite of what MacPherson’s doing – that is, they’re actually helping to save the rhino. Here are 3 of our top celebrity philanthropists saving the rhino today.
The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in Tanzania is one of the actor’s favourite places, and he’s long donated funds to help its work.
This black rhino protection and breeding program has been led by Tony Fitzjohn for over twenty years with great success, thanks not only to DiCaprio’s support, but due to its strong local and governmental partners., has had great success protecting and increasing the numbers of black rhinos. Currently, there’s a much expanded population of this magnificent species is thriving in Mkomazi along with other species, such as African wild dogs, elephants, and lions.
Of the project, Leo stated: “The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is dedicated to supporting its efforts to more than doubling the number of rhinos in the sanctuary.” Additionally, his support on this project will support the expansion of the sanctuary by 100% and provide critical protection measures.
To further raise awareness, he and other celebs, including Ruby Rose, lent their faces to a campaign showing the noses of humans cut off, to depict exactly the kind of cruelty poaching inflicts on the rhino.
Nikita Kahn wears a few hats – and you can guarantee that none of them are fur! A philanthropist, interior designer and founder of lifestyle blog, NK Her Lifestyle, Nikita spends most of her days at real estate and interior design firm. But in her free time – if you can call it that – she can be found acting as part of the board for the Peninsula Humane Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or working on the White Rhino Center she founded at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
Of her work there, she says: “We’re trying to save the northern white rhinos from the brink of extinction. There are currently only 3 northern white rhinos left in the world they are all in Kenya under 24-hour protection. They unfortunately can’t reproduce, and are infertile.
Our job at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Rhino center is to try and save the species using the latest available reproduction technology to produce a northern white rhino using a southern white rhino as a surrogate mom.”
It’s this deep love for these animals that led her to become the executive producer of a new film called The Last Animals, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. The film is a warning to us all, depicting the inhumane poaching of African elephants and rhinos which threatens their very existence on this planet.
Nikita isn’t the only celeb with the Khan name concerned about the welfare of rhinos: former BBC news anchor Riz Khan has launched Horni underwear (it’s a cheeky name that also happens to be an anagram for Rhino).
The company – bankrolled by £1.5 million of Mr Khan’s own money – has pledged to give at least 10% of pre-tax profits to global rhino conservation. The undies, mainly aimed at men, but with some comfy women’s styles, too – are ethically made in India and Sri Lanka.
Khan, who has also done stints at Al Jazeera and CNN, said that he hopes he can eventually manufacture some horni products in the UK, creating new jobs. The UK’s decision to leave the EU also played a part in Mr Khan’s decision to support a British-based charity, Save the Rhino International.
“I was surprised at the outcome of the Brexit vote, but being a hardcore Brit, I decided that it was important to support a country that I love,” he added.
There are many ways to support the conservation work of Save the Rhino, from making a donation, attending events, becoming a member or participating in runs, climbs and walks.