If the holiday spirit has you itching to craft for a cause, we’d love to introduce you to Blankets for Baby Rhinos. This ‘wildlife conservation craft group’ has been making a big difference for some of our planet’s most precious creatures. They provide crocheted & knitted blankets for orphaned baby animals in need.
The group was started last year in 2016 by Sue Brown. Brown is the founder of Rhino Alerts, an organization for fundraising for rhino-related charities.
Blankets for Baby Rhinos Facebook page details the animals served: “including but not limited to rhinos, elephants, orangutans, chimpanzees, baboons, vervet monkeys, meerkats, the odd buffalo and a giraffe.” Some of these babies are rescues, from cruel conditions in circuses or the tourism industry. Others have lost their moms to poaching, as is often the case with baby rhinos whose mothers have been taken for their valued horns.
In addition to serving the babies, winter gear is provided to the people caring for, protecting, and rescuing the wildlife, & those in need in the community surrounding the reservation.
The group provides blankets, and also amigurumi toys which act as surrogate mothers to primate babies. The blankets provide necessary warmth for struggling babies and toddlers who cannot regulate body temperature. The babies may have illnesses or injuries, in addition to the shock of losing their parent and possible violence in their previous home. The warmth is key in winter months, but blankets also keep injuries clean (as the alternative is sleeping in straw). The blankets provide comfort, and the babies love to receive them, eventually choosing favorites!
You may have seen a recent writeup in the New York Times, about a gift Blankets for Baby Rhinos made to an elephant orphanage in Thailand. The orphanage reached out via Facebook, and was able to receive much-needed blankets during suddenly cold weather. The group has also been featured by The Dodo, and on One Green Planet, as well as other online sources.
Here’s an informative video from United News International (UNI):
The first step is to join their Facebook group for more information. You’ll be asked a couple simple questions about your crafting background & location, and an administrator will approve your request. All this coverage has cause the group to blossom to over 1,500 members!
Crafters have been asked to donate blankets or squares (which will be assembled into quilts). Jo Caris, a coordinator for Blankets for Baby Rhinos in France offered a handy guide online. She spoke with the New York Times and said, “Members use 100 percent acrylic yarn as it’s easy to wash and wears well. As for design, we give our members carte blanche and, believe me, some blankets are nothing short of a masterpiece.”
Blankets for Baby Rhinos has also started a GoFundMe campaign fundraising for support for transportation of blankets. They’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of crafters from around the globe, and hope to be able to share the love. Many organizations and reserves reach out to them via Facebook for help, and they hope to forward these lovingly-made blankets on to more animals in need.
If you’ve fallen in love with this cause and plan to craft with them, let us know! Let us know, too, about any other charities or organizations that hold a special place in your hearts, and on your hooks and needles. It’s part of our New Year’s Resolution to craft well, craft often, and craft with kindness when we can.
Many commenters have asked if there’s a way to connect with the group for those who don’t use Facebook. We reached out to the group via Facebook to ask! They let us know that, as of now, they are a Facebook-only group. We understand your desire to connect, and would encourage you to research local charities in your areas! We’ll continue to share opportunities monthly to craft for a cause!