Claudine Cohen wrote -Great Plains Foundation - Ride for Lions/Rhino Rescue Let there be no mistake, we are in the midst of the Battle for Africa right now. We are concerned with the plight of lions, rhinos and elephants and have undertaken to protect these three key species, without which I believe African ecosystems, and whole economies will collapse. Every nine hours another rhino is killed in South Africa alone. We lose five elephants an hour across Africa. In the last 50 years we have managed to lose 95% of our lions and leopards. At this rate, we can expect extinctions of lions in the next 10 to 15 years. As Hilary Clinton so carefully pointed out in a speech last year, the bush meat and illegal animal trade now rivals the drug trade in its scale, garnering $27 billion in trade a year. And yet, if we take the initiative right now and urgently, we can stop this from being a global disaster. We founded the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic specifically to focus attention, funding and action on lions, cheetah and leopards in Africa, and that is progressing well. There are a lot of dedicated and smart people with whom we are engaging to tackle a range of action points with 43 projects in 18 countries. Arguably, the most pressing issue for African wildlife is poaching. It goes to follow that if we are strategically acquiring large pieces of land to conserve then we also need to secure that land and its wildlife against poaching. The greatest need now, is what I call “The Battle for Africa,” and it will ultimately involve three species: lions, rhinos, and elephants. If we save those we have a hope. And if we don’t, everything else will go. We’re not going to let that happen on our watch. (Great Plains Foundation and its supporters As part of our efforts, we are looking to raise - $75,000 for the Great Plains Foundation – yes, it seems like a tall order. $30,000 will be used towards the lion project and $45,000 to relocate one Rhino from South Africa to Botswana. This effort will go along way to preserving our planet and wildlife.