On the 21st of April 2015 two sisters, Vicky and Ness, arrived in Hong Kong to start of a 6,000km journey that will ride see them cycling to Singapore in a bid to raise awareness about rhino poaching in a project titled “Buy No Rhino”.
Their aim is to visit as many schools as possible to educate the youth in Asia about the rhino poaching crises. Their first school visits started the day after arriving in Hong Kong with trips to the The Harbour School and the Clearwater Bay School. The sisters couldn’t believe how enthusiastic and knowledgeable the kids were about the rhino crisis and as such Vicky and Ness are filled with hope for the future.
They had a bit of a culture shock and snapped back to reality when they discovered rows and rows of rare sea creatures, including abalone, for sale at local Hong Kong restaurants. Finding a multitude of exotic pets for sale on the sidewalks added to this.
But the real reason they were there hit home when they did a tour of Soho, the hip ex-pat quarter of Hong Kong, with antique shops selling huge tusks, intricately carved ivory trinkets and hippopotamus teeth.
After featuring in The Star (Malaysia), Malaysia’s highest circulation English language newspaper, the sisters were welcomed to the Kellet School in Kowloon, Hong Kong and the Japanese International School.
Since not too many bikes are found on the narrow and busy roads of Hong Kong, the sisters are already becoming quite the sensation and the kids are asking lots of questions. Teachers even encouraged them by speaking of one class who had organised a protest on its own initiative in front of an ivory-selling shop. The shop was forced to remove ivory from its assortment. Another school’s demonstrations at Disney World Hong Kong resulted in shark-fin soup being removed from a local menu.
After reaching over 400 children in Hong Kong, and embarking on a few days cycling on the island of Macau, the sisters crossed the border into China. Low and behold there they found a number of big street stores selling shark fins going for about R1,500 per 500g, along with bags full of starfish, squids, dried octopus, skins of large sandsharks and lots lots more. They were taken aback that these were on offer in such a small town and at the sheer volume of the collection.
Currently Vicky and Ness are continuing their journey through China where they are finding it difficult to get messages back home due to a current ban on Google, Instagram and Facebook, but they are at least able to get their message about rhinos out to where it matters the most.