Students stand next to an anesthetized white rhino after assisting with a dehorning procedure in South Africa led by Dr. William Fowlds. Many of the students on the 2019 trip later helped found the TCU Rhino Initiative Club. (Courtesy: Dr. Michael Slattery)
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The TCU Rhino Initiative held its fifth annual “Rhino Run” on Sept. 19, and the group has more planned looking ahead.

How it started

“The Rhino Initiative started in late 2013,” said Department Chair and Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies Michael Slattery, who is also the advisor to the TCU Rhino Initiative. “There was some money that was freed up from the university’s Board of Trustees for faculty to innovate and bring people who were doing extraordinary work on the ground around the world,” he said.

“I had heard of Dr. William Fowlds in South Africa, who was doing extraordinary work with rhinos and rhino rehabilitation,” Slattery continued. “So I contacted him, and he came over to TCU in 2014 and spent a week here with our students explaining what the rhino crisis was. From there we began to … raise money and awareness so that we can help rhino protection and rehabilitation on the ground in South Africa.”

“As part of that, in 2015, we thought it might be a good idea to get the community involved. What better way to do that than a run?” he said.

Looking ahead

The Rhino Initiative club has many events planned for the year ahead.

“We’re going to have fundraisers to raise money for the Amakhala Game Reserve in South Africa,” said sophomore environmental science major Ashlyn Morrill, the club’s event coordinator.

“We’ll also have guest speakers to just spread awareness about the poaching situation with rhinos and to get people to know about what’s happening,” she said.

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