Rapper 50 Cent Invited to Be "Godfather" to a Rhino

Photo via 50 Cent's official site

If there's anyone on the planet who can relate to the hardships endured by Phila, an endangered black rhino in South Africa, it would be platinum-selling rap star 50 Cent -- after all, they've both been shot nine times and lived to tell the tale. But unlike the rapper, who was able to break free of the mean streets that nearly claimed his life, Phila and her kind continue to be threatened by gun-wielding poachers. Now, one animal protection group is urging the Grammy-winning artist to step-up and become "Godfather" to the unfortunate animal -- and to help give rhino poaching a bad rap.According to a report from The Sunday Times, Phila has had a particularly bad year -- having survived two separate murder attempts by poachers which left her with nine bullet wounds. After the first attack, the owner of the farm where Phila lives removed part of her sought-after horn, but just a few weeks later, the poachers returned and tried to slice out the rest of it. Miraculously, Phila survived.

In hopes of raising awareness of Phila's sad story, the South African anti-poaching group eBlockwatch is calling on 50 Cent to symbolically adopt the rhino as his "Goddaughter." The invitation isn't completely unfounded -- before rising to fame as a rap-artist, 50 Cent was also shot nine times on the drug-riddled streets of New York.

Andre Snyman, a spokesman for eBlockwatch:

We want to ask him if he wants to become the godfather of our rhino so that he can create awareness worldwide about rhino poaching.

If the adoption offer seems a bit strange, it reflects the desperate times facing Africa's black rhinos. The animals are under increasingly high threat from poachers, who often kill the rhinos to remove their prized horns -- thought to have medicinal qualities in places like China and Vietnam. Sadly, the practice is on the rise, with 227 of the endangered rhinos killed so far this year -- compared to the 122 in 2009.

While the prospect of adding a black rhino to your crew sounds awesome by itself, if 50 Cent opts to adopt Phila he'll actually be getting two new additions to his posse. According to Eye Witness News, eBlockwatch recently supplied Phila with her very own bodyguard -- a highly trained security lion.

Certainly, seeking out a rapper with 50 Cent's history may rub some animal-rights activists the wrong way, but his endorsement of such an important issue could help raise awareness in a genre of music not typically associated with environmental causes.

More on Rhino Poaching
South Africa: Will Poisoning Horns Halt Rhino Poaching?
Rhino Poaching at 15 Year High as Asian Demand Increases
Rhino Poaching Spikes, but there is Hope

Tags: Animals | Artists | Conservation | South Africa

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