Did you know that every on average, poachers kills three rhinos? Worse, as Scientific American reported, rhino poaching funds terrorist activity and extremist groups.

The rhino population is at risk of extinction. Many might hear about this crisis and wonder what they can possibly to do to reverse it. Grit Daily cooperatives, Instagram star Tim Sykes and filmmaker Sam Kolder set out to Africa to experience firsthand the poaching danger and impending extinction that faces rhinos.

A Passion For Making a Difference

Both Tim and Sam have always been passionate about giving back to causes they believe in. This lead Sam and Tim to partner up with Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife. VETPAW is an anti-poaching organization that safely and ethically de-horns rhinos.  The goal of VETPAW is to help end the African poaching crisis and conserve endangered species.

To prevent rhinos poachers, organizations like VETPAW work to safely de-horn rhinos. Without the horn, the most valuable part of the rhino, poachers have nothing left to harvest from the rhino. Tim and Sam’s journey was incredible. View the full experience below, brilliantly documented by a mission to end the war against poaching, thus decreasing the (rather violent) population decline facing rhinos.

The process of de-horning a rhino sounds painful but it’s actually the most ethically sound way to protect a rhino from being poached.  Poachers in most cases kill the rhino during the poaching process. In the process, the rhino either dies from an overdose of tranquilizers or bleeds to death. Organizations like VETPAW work to de-horn the rhino. This practice is seemingly completed with delicacy and care. Much like a clipped fingernail or horse hoof, horns are shaved down to a “stump,” leaving the rhino unharmed and less desirable to poachers.

A Crisis Driven by Greed

The horn of the rhino is valuable to poachers and end users and collectors.

Horn prices continue to rise to new levels.  In some cases, they sell for upwards of $50,000. The demand for horns for decorative or medical uses has upped prices horns, thus incentivizing more illegal poaching. The primary driving force for poachers is greed and the need for financial gain — but make no mistake — these economics incentivize them. The brutal treatment to rhinos is not only horribly unethical but supports an illegal market.

South Africa has by far the largest population of rhinos in the world. It’s also an incredibly important country for rhino conservation and protection. Thus why Tim and Sam chose to start their journey there.  They knew their efforts would make the greatest impact on the crisis. The current poaching crisis  is most prominent in Zimbabwe, where the difficult socio-economic and political climate actually facilitates rhino poaching. In 2013, poaching spread way past Africa into other countries that are now affected by the poaching crisis.

Tim and Sam’s mission shows with us the reality of this dire situation. These  influencers are joining the good fight to ethically de-horn rhinos in an effort to reverse the effects of illegal poaching activity in South Africa.