This Thursday, Sept. 22, marks the second annual World Rhino Day - a tradition established last year by the World Wildlife Fund as an opportunity for people all over the world to take a stand against rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center will celebrate World Rhino day by hosting an art contest for local school children and selling the art at Hollywood & Vine restaurant in Glen Rose on Sept. 22. All proceeds from the art show and a portion of the proceeds from the dinners served will go to the rhino program at Fossil Rim. Saving Rhinos LLC, based in the United States, and Zimbabwe-based Chishakwe Ranch are working together to continue the World Rhino Day tradition in 2011.

Co-organizer Lisa-Jane Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch noted on the Saving Species blog that one of the main aims of this year’s World Rhino Day is to debunk the myths that fuel the demand for horn and the killing of rhinos.

“Rhino horn has no medicinal value, despite the long held belief to the contrary," she said. "Rhinos are dying for nobody’s benefit — except that of the criminals involved in the poaching rings.”

The total population of all five rhino species is now estimated to be just over 28,000. Javan rhinos are the least numerous, with only 48 individuals surviving.

Fossil Rim has been involved regionally and globally since 1987 with white rhinoceros and 1991 with black rhinoceros. Since then, Fossil Rim has had seven white rhino and five black rhino calves born at the facility. It is a founding member of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Fossil Rim is an institutional supporter of the International Rhino Keepers Association (IRKA).

Adam Eyres, Fossil Rim hoofstock supervisor, is co-author of a number of publications about rhinos and was involved with the writing of the Rhino Husbandry Manual. Additionally, he is the White Rhino SSP (Species Survival Plan) Coordinator for North America.

Information on debunking the rhino horn myth and ways you can celebrate World Rhino Day, in addition to the Glen Rose function, are available at rhinoconservation.org.