12-Year-old Rhino Conservationist Hunter Mitchell, an inspiring young man, received the prestigious Commonwealth Point of Light Award this week.
Cape Town, South Africa – Hunter Mitchell, 12, has been a rhino conservationist since he was just eight years old. This past weekend Hunter attended the 2019 World Youth Wildlife Summit near the Kruger National Park as a Youth Speaker. The Summit, which also commemorated the 10th international World Rhino Day on Sunday 22 September, falls during South Africa’s icon Heritage month.
Two hundred youth delegates, teachers and community leaders from sixteen countries descended on the Southern African Wildlife College, for an intensive four-day programme led by thirty of Southern Africa’s most experienced conservationists who shared their knowledge and skills.
Hunter inspired delegates with personal stories of tragedy and hope, pointing to a 9000% growth in rhino poaching in his lifetime. “We need to accept that extinction is forever, and the power of change belongs to us, the next generation,” he told emotional delegates.
“We have not caused this crisis. We have been born into it and I believe we can have a bigger impact and be more powerful because when we talk, and when we act, we start to make adults feel guilty because they are the ones that have stolen rhino and other wildlife from our future.”
After leaving the summit, Hunter returned to Cape Town to receive the prestigious Commonwealth Point of Light Award for outstanding individual volunteers from Her Majesty the Queen.
Hunter was presented with his award by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a reception held at the British High Commission Cape Town for representing South Africa for his inspiring work and dedication to saving rhinos in South Africa. Hunter also took the opportunity to present a gift of a rhino toy to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their son Archie.
The rhino came with a personal promise to Their Royal Highnesses that when Archie is older, that the iconic rhino will still be in the wild for him to enjoy.
Spoken like a true advocate, Hunter says that: “We need to accept that extinction is forever and the power of change belongs to us, the next generation!”