Runescape to Support Rhino Conservation

The plight of the rhino is set to be seen by a potentially untapped market of 220 million people as the hugely popular online game Runescape incorporates United for Wildlife’s rhino project into the game. Targeting a wider audience, particularly youth is a key goal of any conservation project. Having a platform within an online game will be a massive boost for the rhino initiative.

Players will be rewarded for answering questions about rhinos and are given the chance to adopt either a white rhino or black rhino within the game. Players from all over the world will be involved and will even hear the voices of two young conservationists used within the game.

The game will focus on the huge issue of the threat poachers pose to rhino survival. There are now only five species of rhino left in the wild, all of which are threatened by poaching, and three of which are classified as critically endangered. If poaching continues at the rate it is now death rate will exceed birth rate and rhinos will face extinction in the near future. In 2013 over 1000 rhinos in South Africa alone were killed because of poaching, death to this extent is unsustainable and causing a crisis for rhinos.

Vital to rhino protection is raising public awareness; by utilising the online community of Runescape, United for Wildlife has the opportunity to get more people involved. Ros Aveling, a deputy CEO of fauna and flora international, an organisation within United for Wildlife, says ‘I’m delighted that we’ve been able to combine our collective conservation aims with RuneScape’s passionate audience. Innovative approaches to reaching a younger audience, who are traditionally hard to engage in conservation, are vital to the success of United for Wildlife and to the protection of critically endangered wildlife’.

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Madeleine Berry

Wildlife enthusiast and recent Biology graduate of Queen Mary, University of London.

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