CUMBERLAND, Ohio – Attention all bikers—there’s still time to register for the 6th annual Ride for Rhinos taking place this Sunday, August 28, 2022! Join Iron Pony Motorsports to make this one of the largest motorcycle rides to help protect wildlife.
Benefiting the rhinoceros herd at The Wilds, a nearly 10,000-acre conservation center, this motorcycle ride will begin at Iron Pony Motorsports (5436 Westerville Rd.) in Westerville, Ohio. The first bike will depart at 9:30 a.m., with the last out at 10:15 a.m. Travel 80 miles with a stop mid-way and take in the scenery as you make your way to The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio—all the while knowing your participation is making a difference for future of threatened and endangered rhinos.
The Wilds is notable for many reasons, particularly for being the only facility outside of Africa with white rhinos born four and five generations removed from their wild-born ancestors. Each birth is important, especially since the species is classified as Near Threatened on the International Union for the Conservancy of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™.
The conservation center also houses greater one-horned Asian rhinos, which is listed as Vulnerable. Unfortunately, rhinos continue to be killed by poachers who sell rhino horn for ornamental or traditional medicinal purposes even though there are no scientifically proven health benefits for its use. The horns are made of keratin—the same substance that makes up fingernails and hair.
As part of The Wilds’ continued commitment to protecting these species, The Wilds has teamed up with the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and four other partner research facilities to form the American Institute of Rhinoceros Science (AIRS)—a model for saving species with science ex situ (which means off site or outside natural habitat).
The AIRS operations is located at The Wilds and the AIRS collaborative team across partner organizations are working to explore: (1) physical fitness and its relation to health; (2) iron storage in browsing rhinos; (3) reproductive success; and (4) behavioral and environmental factors that maximize rhino well-being. Data collected from all studies will be compiled in a centralized database accessible to all AIRS members. Ultimately, AIRS will provide affordable and feasible management recommendations to veterinarians and animal care staff at more than 70 facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that care for rhinos. AIRS is funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
You can help support rhino conservation at The Wilds by signing up to join us for Ride for Rhinos! Registration is a $30 participant donation per primary rider and includes an event t-shirt. Registration per passenger is a $25 participant donation that also includes an event t-shirt. All participants also receive an Open-Air Safari pass (a $40 value) to redeem at The Wilds, a free continental breakfast, and the chance to win a $1,000 Iron Pony gift card. Registration is highly recommended for the ride to guarantee a spot. Reservations are required for the Open-Air Safari tour at The Wilds. Open-Air Safari tours are presented by G&J Pepsi.