Target: The Fifth Grade Class of P.S. 107 John Kimball Learning Center in Park Slope, Brooklyn
Goal: Thank this class for inspiring local schools and neighborhoods to join the fight to save endangered rhinos from poaching
Rhinoceroses have endured centuries of overhunting. Today, poaching for their horns continues, driven by a misguided belief in their medicinal properties. The Sumatran rhino’s population has decreased by an alarming fifty percent in just twenty years. According to scientists’ estimates, a mere hundred Sumatran rhinos exist today.
Thankfully, the fifth grade class of P.S. 107 in Brooklyn has been working hard to save them. Their book honors Andatu, the first Sumatran rhinoceros born in human care in Indonesia. With so few individuals left in the wild, Sumatran rhinos exhibit less frequent breeding activity. In many populations, reproduction is unsuccessful, which explains why Andatu, born after extensive breeding efforts, has been deemed a miracle baby. His story has captivated the entire P.S. 107 community, and they have dedicated themselves to sharing it with the world.
P.S. 107’s campaign to save rhinos began when Katherine Eban, a journalist and mother to a kindergarten student, formed a PTA committee called Beast Relief. Holding a spare change drive, the committee raised three thousand dollars to aid the International Rhino Foundation in conservation and research. Through art projects, the committee also got the whole school involved, making Javan rhino piggy banks out of recycled cups and coffee cans. The children’s enthusiasm for Andatu in particular made a book the natural next step.
Drawing from research material provided by the IRF, the children have developed their own powerful perspective on the devastating toll of poaching on these unique, hairy rhinos. Taking up the jobs of writing, illustration, and design, they have also made Andatu’s story come to life, imagining for us a rhino’s everyday pleasures of wallowing in mud baths to ward off parasites as well as Andatu’s distress at having so few friends to play with.
By signing the petition below, you can applaud the students of P.S. 107 for inspiring us to care about these rhinos and fight for their survival.
Dear Fifth Grade Class of P.S. 107 John Kimball Learning Center,
I am writing to thank you for your inspiring efforts to save rhinos. Your book honoring Andatu, the first Sumatran rhinoceros born in human care, not only raises awareness about the devastation of poaching on these magnificent animals, but also invites us to appreciate them more deeply. Your hard work and dedication are helping us to care about the survival of critically endangered rhinos and fight to protect them.
As a class, you all have reminded us of the difference we can make in conserving our planet’s wildlife. It is my sincere hope that your leadership may be a model for others around the world seeking to enact change.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: S. Ellis via Wikimedia Commons