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Rhino Resource Center: Rhino Forums > Rhinos In Situ > Natural distribution > Teaching Kids

Posted by: Duncan Mar 17 2011, 08:19 AM
I am giving a talk to school kids about animals in general, but will also highlight endangered species and will concentrate on Black rhino, having worked with them in the past.

On a previous talk, I have found a very good technique to demonstrate the reality of the historical population loss of black rhino since 1900.

A few preliminary calculations are required, like knowing how many children will be present. I have compiled a very rough and ready historical population chart (remember these are kids, this is not the AfRSG). I calculate how many fingers will be present, and allocate a number of rhino per finger by dividing the approximate 1900 population by the number of fingers. This is just an arbitrary figure to get started with.

All the kids stand with their fingers in the air (each finger representing a number of rhino), and then I go through the years for which I have estimate populations and ask the appropriate ratio of kids (with their little populations of rhino represented by fingers) to sit down. Depending on the number of kids, you will always end up with only one kid standing and the population will be represented by a certain number of fingers in the air.

At the end, the effect is very dramatic.

My very rough population figures for Black Rhino are as follows;
1900 - 200,000 (aprox)
1960 - 100,000
Early 1970 - 65,000
Late 1970 - 30,000
1981 - 15,000
1984 - 8,400
1986 - 4,000
1995 - 2,400

At the end I describe how conservation efforts are making a difference.

2011 - 3600 (so a finger or two goes back up!!)