As goes the black rhino, so goes mankind. This is the conviction of Michael Werikhe, a 34-year-old man from Kenya who has made his efforts to preserve the endangered rhinoceros his life's work. Werikhe, known throughout the conservation world as "The Rhino Man," works by walking.
He has trekked across Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and across Europe to publicize the rhino's plight, that of Africa's other fading wildlife and to raise money for rhino conservation studies and sanctuaries.
On the same mission, Werikhe is trekking through the United States this summer. By way of the Philadelphia Zoo, he lands here tomorrow, and will walk the 17 miles of the North Central Railroad Trail from Freeland to Phoenix. Hikers are invited to join him. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Freeland parking lot, for all or part of the walk. This is a free event, although participants are encouraged to contribute to the Rhino Walk Fund or collect pledges.
Walkers may join him on the Ashland Trail.
On Sunday, the Baltimore Zoo hosts its Rhino Walk. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. in front of the main gate of the zoo. There is a $12 registration fee which benefits the Rhino Walk Fund.
The 3-mile walk through Druid Hill culminates with an African celebration inside the zoo, including performances by folk singer Richie Havens, story teller Alice McGill, the African Heritage Dancers and Drummers of Washington, D.C. and Cultural Rhythms, a group of five young girls who play African instruments. The performances take place on stage in Hippo Plaza from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Rhino walk participants are entitled to free zoo admission. Those who do not participate in the walk pay regular zoo admission.
On Tuesday, the National Aquarium hosts a Labor Day family picnic with Werikhe as special guest. The picnic begins at 4 p.m. on Pier 3 in the Inner Harbor. Reservations must be made in advance. Call 727-3474.
For information, call the Baltimore Zoo at 396-6631 or the National Aquarium at 576-2451.