When you're 14 miles into a marathon, nothing gives you that needed boost of adrenalin like a rhino at your heels.
On Sunday, participants in the London Marathon had 15 rhinos to boost their energy. Luckily, however, these were a friendlier variety than those on the African savannah.
To support Save The Rhino, 15 runners donned 22-pound rhino costumes for the entirety of the race. Their goal was to raise awareness and money for the charity, a London-based organization that “works to conserve viable populations of critically endangered rhinos in Africa and Asia,” according to Save the Rhino’s website.
The rhino costumes have become a symbol for the charity. First introduced in 1992, they have now made appearances in Paris, Dublin, Boston, London, New York and at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Rhinos are under threat from habitat loss, political conflict and poachers, who most often kill the animals for their horns. Most rhino horns are sent to southeast and east Asia, where they are sold for use in Chinese medicine. These factors have taken a huge toll on rhino populations. At the beginning of the 20th century, 500,000 rhinos roamed Africa and Asia. Today, less than 29,000 rhinos remain in the wild.