Stop the illegal wildlife trade: Beauty brand Chantecaille’s fight to save rhinos from poachers

Rhino, East Africa. Wikimedia Commons.

Emma Ledger, The Independent | September 21, 2020

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A rhino is killed every 10 hours. Even before the global pandemic, the future of the species was hanging in the balance due to poaching.

Now the abrupt halt in tourism since Covid struck has brought many of Africa and Asia’s game parks to their knees, with a huge question mark over how rhinoceros – some of which were previously under 24-hour guard from killers – will continue to be protected.

Fighting to protect the rhino is a long-term engagement for global beauty brand Chantecaille, who have become the first corporate sponsor of The Independent’s Stop The Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign.

The campaign – which has been welcomed by leading conservationists, charities and NGOs – seeks an international effort to clamp down on poaching and the illegal trade of wild animals.

Founder and CEO Sylvie Chantecaille tells The Independent: “The rhino is an ancient species which holds such magic.

“Yet poachers have been destroying rhino populations systemically for their horn, which is used mainly in traditional medicines but also decoratively, and the pandemic makes it even harder to protect them.

“Killing animals is something I will never understand, especially killing one for a horn that has no proven medicinal properties.”

The wonders of our planet’s wildlife have always been at the heart of Chantecaille, which was established more than 20 years ago.

The brand launched its first environmentally committed collection in 2006, and there have now been 30 products that have raised both awareness and funds for wildlife organisations.

Renowned for their work with elephants, Sheldrick Wildlife Trust also protects rhinos from poaching. Chantecaille partnered with them on this fight, by supporting the expansion of the Meru National Park Rhino Sanctuary in Kenya, a 32-square-mile fenced region that creates a protected area for black and white rhino while offering safe passage to other species.

The Covid-19 conservation crisis has shown the urgency of The Independent’s Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade campaign, which seeks an international effort to clamp down on illegal trade of wild animals (ESI)

Chantecaille also funds a mobile veterinary unit based out of the park, and last year launched an ongoing product partnership whose proceeds benefit the charity’s rhino conservation efforts in this important ecosystem.

Ms Chantecaille said “I think rhinos can be misunderstood. They aren’t mean-tempered – they are generous and have a great amount of love. I’ve had the privilege of watching baby rhinos play, and they are so full of fun and so joyful.

“But now rhinos need our help more than ever. Without us being there to protect them, their future is in real danger. We must not let this species vanish.”