At 11 years old, Jadin Jordaan is making a big noise about rhino poaching.
He is a member of the conservation group Rhino SA and a national public speaking champion, so he uses every opportunity to spread the word about the need to protect our wildlife and crush the false perception that rhino horn is a medical miracle.
Jordaan fears that if these efforts are not successful, there will be no rhino left alive by the time he qualifies as a vet.
Last year he helped Rhino SA and the international youth group One More Generation to deliver 10 000 letters from children addressed to President Jacob Zuma calling for tougher measures to combat poaching.
Since Zuma wasn’t available, the letters were delivered to the deputy director general of environmental affairs during a conference.
“We asked Zuma if he could start making a difference and please put more people out there in the parks to fight against the poachers,” Jordaan says.
He has also featured in a short, award-winning documentary about poaching.
As an accomplished public speaker he uses every opportunity to highlight the plight of rhinos. When he won the Radikale Redenaars (radical public speakers) national competition for his age group this year, his speech “I Can Make A Difference” explained his work with Rhino SA and that if a youngster could make a difference, so could everybody else.
Jordaan, of Parkdene Primary School, says: “I want to become a wildlife vet when I grow up so I want to make a difference now before the impact really hits.”
He tours with Rhino SA as their young ambassador, and hopes they will soon visit some Asian countries so he can tell them that the horn is useless to anyone but its original owner.
“I’m planning to go to other countries to speak to people about this, because people don’t actually know what they do to these animals. I especially want to go to Asia where the kingpins are,” he says.
With 1 004 rhino slaughtered last year and 376 already killed by mid-May this year, Jordaan is right to fear that time is running out. — Lesley Stones