The "Rhino Blade" - Passionate Conservationist Took On Massive Design Studio to Remove Distasteful Product... And Won!
Photo Cred: OTOTO Design

A UK resident who loves South Africa (she’s visited us 9 times in 3 years) took on a massive design studio who created a knife sharpener that makes it look like you are chopping off a Rhino Horn.


United Kingdom (25 January 2021) – Wendy Pfeiffer, a UK resident who loves South Africa and is passionate about Rhino Conservation, took on a massive design studio to get them to remove a new product they had developed which looks like a little cute Rhino… except you use its horn as a knife sharpener.

The product would have the user moving the knife back and forth on the Rhinos horn (in a saw-like motion) in order to sharpen the blade… basically, it would look like you were sawing off a Rhino horn.

The "Rhino Blade" - Passionate Conservationist Took On Massive Design Studio to Remove Distasteful Product... And Won!
Photo Cred: OTOTO Design

You may actually have heard of OTOTO before as the design studio – which specializes in unique kitchen gadgets – went viral with their cute “Loch Ness Monster Ladles”. The ladle, called Nessie, makes it seem like a ‘monster’ is emerging from your soup bowl. Not scary at all, because it looks very funny. And what’s also so handy: the design keeps the spoon upright on the counter, ready to be used!

The team have many different brilliant designs and are well known for their quirky ideas… but they just got it very wrong with the Rhino Blade. And perhaps we could forgive the design studio as they are not based in South Africa, and it seems they did not understand the crisis that Rhinos are facing. But thankfully because of Pfeiffer, they now know about our plight and immediately pulled the product from their range!

The "Rhino Blade" - Passionate Conservationist Took On Massive Design Studio to Remove Distasteful Product... And Won!
Photo Cred: OTOTO Design

Pfeiffer, the UK resident who took the design studio, on loves South Africa and has visited the country – and more specifically the Kruger National Park – 9 times in just 3 years and she’s already planning her next visit.

“I contacted the company who designed and made it, explaining that the item depicted the very same barbaric act that happens to Rhinos on a daily basis. Giving them the benefit that perhaps they might not be aware of this fact, I also sent a picture and video of a poached rhino.

Sadly I heard nothing, and they ignored my future contact online and on their social pages.

But ignoring me does not make me go away! Last week I called on my friends and Rhino lovers to come together and for as many people as possible to contact OTOTO to help them understand why this product is so problematic.”

And then, just a few days later, the design studio put out a press release explaining that they were removing the product and they seem to have a new understanding of Rhino poaching in South Africa.

“After careful consideration of all the thoughtful messages we’ve received regarding our product Blade, we’ve decided to pull this product from our site as we understand that it can evoke painful images.

Of course, we stand against poaching, animal cruelty, and violence of all kinds and this product was in no way inspired by or meant to reference the poaching of Rhinoceroses. However, we do understand that even unintentionally referencing such a crime is in poor taste and so have decided to stop listing the product on the site and thank everyone for bringing this issue to our attention.”

And yes, it might just be a kitchen gadget design gone wrong, and a passionate UK resident who took them on… but isn’t it absolutely hopeful knowing that tourists who have fallen in love with our country are fighting to save our animals too (in their own way).

Thank you Wendy, for your passion and love for our country, we cannot wait to welcome you back to sunny South Africa again with open arms.

Sources: Wendy Pfeiffer | OTOTO 
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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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