On 12 September 2010, a team of Chester Zoo staff will begin their ascent up the 19,340 feet of the world's largest free-standing mountain - Mount Kilimanjaro - in aid of Black Rhino conservation.
The team, dubbed the Rhino Maniacs, are doing the challenge in their own time, including all the training and fundraising, to help raise awareness and money for the Zoo's Eastern Black Rhino conservation programme (registered charity no. 306077).
Team member and Rhino Keeper, Helen Massey said: "There are only around 700 Eastern Black Rhinos left in the wild. The work that Chester Zoo does both here in the UK and out in the wild is important in ensuring the survival of the species. "
"The Rhino Maniacs climbing Kilimanjaro is a great way for us to tell people about these amazing animals. I am lucky enough to work with Eastern Black Rhinos at the Zoo, and it is devastating to imagine that they could become extinct in the wild."
With Rhino Mania - the mass public arts event being delivered by Chester Renaissance and Wild In Art, stampeding through Chester next year, the challenge comes at a time when Black Rhino conservation will be brought to the forefront of people's minds across the city. Rhino Mania has already pledged their support for the Rhino Maniacs and their mascot Rascal will be joining the Maniacs up Kilimanjaro.
"We need as much support as possible and are looking for individuals, community groups and businesses to support us in any way they can" said Helen.
"From cash donations, gifts in kind and organising events on our behalf to simply helping to spread the word and generate awareness - any support people can offer will make a huge difference to us."
For more information about the Rhino Maniacs Kilimanjaro challenge, please visit their website www.rhinomaniacs.org.uk