Letter: Free the rhino

Click to follow
Sir: We find it difficult to believe that anyone can justify the $22m cost of potentially freeing Keiko, the orca of Free Willy fame ("The $14 million epic adventure to free Willy - into an unknown future", 9 September).

David Usborne asks if the operation is "an absurd display of do-gooding sentimentality", and it certainly appears that $22m has been dedicated to the welfare of a single animal of a species which is perhaps threatened, but certainly not endangered.

In the last 30 years 97 per cent of the world's rhinos have been wiped out. Save The Rhino International has a campaign to raise $21m which would safeguard every remaining rhino on earth in perpetuity. As we struggle to raise funds to prevent the extinction of five rhino species, it is horrifying to see so much money raised to translocate one ageing individual from a familiar environment with no guarantee of a successful release into the wild.

Keiko is a worthy cause but this project will not alter the survival of his species. If we are to prevent the extinction of critically endangered species and thereby maintain the earth's biodiversity, we need to change the public's perception of conservation priorities.

JANE MORRIS, NEIL BRIDGLAND, CHRIS LEDER, JO SHAW

Save The Rhino International

London SE1

Comments