WITH less than a week to go until the London Marathon, former Lyme Regis resident Jack Loughlin is preparing to take on the challenge in aid of Save the Rhino.
Former Woodroffe School student Jack, now aged 27, is the son of Lyme Regis author and artist Rikey Austin of Alice’s Bear Shop fame. He grew up in Lyme Regis and recently moved to London to take up a career with Ofgem in their Westminster offices.
Jack will be taking on the London Marathon this Sunday (April 22) in aid of wildlife charity Save the Rhino. He chose to support the cause after meeting the team and some of last year’s runners at their stall at the 2017 marathon.
Speaking about the charity, Jack said: “From South Africa to Sumatra, Save the Rhino work around the world to support vital conservation efforts that give these marvellous creatures a lifeline. They provide and coordinate valuable resources for rangers, educators, NGOs and a host of other groups that are on the front line in the fight for the rhino’s survival.
“Ruthless poaching is the biggest threat by far. Rhino horn, which consists of a substance called keratin – the very same thing that our hair and fingernails are made of – has played a central part in traditional medicine in South-East Asia for over 2000 years, and is touted as a cure for a range of maladies, from a simple hangover to terminal illness.
“This drives demand and consequently the incentive for poaching gangs to become increasingly sophisticated in their methods. A vicious circle emerges, where, as populations dwindle the money to be made increases, placing an exponential strain on the species.
“To put this into perspective, in 2016 a total of 1,159 rhinos were poached in Africa alone – of a population of roughly 25,000. This is unsustainable.
“A Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan rhino, of which there are fewer than 100 left in the wild, was shot to extinction in 2010, leaving the species clinging to survival on a single, tiny nature reserve.
“But there is hope. For example, in the last two decades the African Black rhino has made a comeback, with their numbers doubling to 5,000, and the Indian rhino’s status has gone from endangered to vulnerable. Much of the credit for this great news belongs to Save the Rhino, and the tireless work they do to improve the prospects of this iconic species. With your support, they can help make sure that our horned friends live on.
“A world without rhinos – let’s keep that idea to the confines of our imagination.”
Jack has been busy training for the marathon in recent months, including runs in Dorset, Staffordshire, London, Dublin and Munich. He completed his last big training run of 22 miles through central London last Sunday.
He is hoping to raise £1,500 for the charity through cake sales, a pub quiz, raffle and online donations. Jack can be sponsored by visiting https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JackLoughlin
For more information about the charity Save the Rhino, visit www.savetherhino.org