Don’t let the Rhinos,
become extinct like Dinos

Saving mother nature, one bit at a time.

white rhino, giants, couple

Why Rhino?

With different species of Rhinos going extinct, it is our last chance to get things right and start working towards a plan that helps the last surviving creatures lead a healthy life. Due to that, you need to join us in the fight to save Rhinos and bring their life to normalcy.

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white rhino, warthogs, drinking

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Our Mission

From forest protection to breeding, our mission spreads all across the corner and is essential to lead the way to prevent these creatures from going extinct. 

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By raising funds and other essential sources of support, we have managed to lend a helping hand towards the fight against extinction. But that alone cannot be seen as a sign to cheer because there is a long way to go, and we cannot do so without your help. 

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Some Ideas To Save The Rhinos

Save The Rhinos

At the dawn of the 20th century, there were almost half a million rhinos in Africa and Asia, and this number fell to 70,000 by the year 1970. It became 29,000 in the wild in 2020. This is because of large-scale sporting which is now officially illegal. The rhinoceros is now officially critically endangered, and it is in a dramatic decline from 65,000 black rhinos to just 2300. Even though this number has increased slowly in the last few years, they are very much at risk. Critical endangerment is very dangerous, and it means that this population can dwindle at any time. The demand for the rhinoceros horn in China and Vietnam continues to grow, and we should be looking at saving them. There is a possibility that there are going to be no wild rhinoceros in Africa by next year. A lot of techniques have been used to keep the rhinoceros safe, but they still dwindle.

In this guide, I am going to talk about some ideas to save the rhinoceros, so that it does not become another extinct species, because of the greed of humanity.

Rhino HELP

I am sure you are asking yourself how you can save the rhinoceros. One of the first things we can try is dying the horns of the rhinoceros pink. We can even try poisoning the horn with cyanide. A lot of people have actually tried inserting a camera into the horn to see who is hunting the rhinoceros. Some more people have actually tried de-horning the rhinoceros so that poachers can look at it and just leave it be because it does not even have a horn. Well, the rhinoceros is basically hunted, because of its horn. The horn of the rhinoceros is worth a lot of money indeed. There have been a lot of anti-poaching patrols in Africa, and a lot of them have worked.

 

A lot of people have actually tried physically lifting the animal with the help of a helicopter and placing it in an area that is safe from human greed. They have also tried introducing a couple of males and females, so that they can increase the population.

A lot of people are also being taught in African schools that the rhinoceros needs to be saved. Even the safaris are educating the tourist of how critically endangered the rhinoceros are.

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Billionaires have even contributed millions of dollars so that they can save the rhinoceros.

The rhino is definitely a wonderful animal, and it deserves our compassion and our love. We should do everything we can to save it, because it is a beautiful beast and it does not deserve to be extinct.

The History of Rhino Poaching

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To think an animal’s body part is worth its weight in gold is mind-blowing to say the least. So how did this lucrative practice begin? Who decided a rhinoceros horn is the key to solving all ailments?

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17th century Chinese cups carved from rhino horn

In Greek mythology, rhino horns were said to possess the ability to purify water. The Persians from the 5th century BC used carved vessels from horn to detect poisoned liquids. This belief stuck and existed well into the 18th and 19th centuries among European royalty.

Between 100 BC and 200 AD during the Ming and Ching dynasties, the Chinese thought the same. They used the horn in carvings of plates, bowls and cups. The cups being especially prized to detect alkaloid poisoning, something that was treacherously common at the time.

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Traditional Yemen dagger

Reports of Yemens’ use of the horn dates back to the 8th century. Although their fondness of horn is preferred in decorative use as opposed to medicinal. It is fashioned into ceremonial dagger handles known as jambiyas . This is a status symbol for young men. It epitomizes manhood. The quality of the horn was important because it possesses a translucent quality, that only improves with age.

The use of the horn for medicinal purposes was recorded as early as 1597, in the Chinese “Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu”. In it there are mentions such as “the best horn is from a freshly killed male” and “pregnant women should not take horn as it will kill the foetus”. It also lists the many uses of horn ranging from stopping nightmares and curing possessions to curing headaches and dissolving phlegm.

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Chinese “medicine” made from horn

In earlier time it was not just the horn, but also blood, and urine used for medicine. This was a commonality of the Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Nepalis.

In the early 1980s, it was even used as an aphrodisiac by the people of India. This myth probably stems from the fact that breeding pairs stay together for two to three days, and sometimes even weeks. Mating takes place several times a day and lasts for an hour or more at a time.

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The earliest reports of horn trade (in addition to tortoise shell and ivory) were reported as leaving ancient East Africa for Arabia in 50 AD.

Throughout the history of trade, various countries have been involved: Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Yemen, China, Hong Kong, Sumatra, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa are the most prominent. Various efforts have been made in these countries to legalize and/or ban the trade as well.

What is the most interesting point in the history of the horn trade is that during times horn could be legally traded, illegal trade still flourished.

Thirty species of rhino once roamed the planet. Now thousands of years later, there remain just five. Human greed, consumption and ignorance have cost the rhino. They are teetering on the brink of extinction. Will history teach us nothing?

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Chauvet cave, France- rhino cave painting dating back 30,000 BP (before present time recordings).

Information obtained from TRAFFIC and Richard Ellis: Poaching for Traditional Chinese Medicine

Watching the sun set on a Species

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Northern whites at Ol Pejeta. by Tony Karumba

Plan A was to make conditions as perfect as possible to breed the last remaining Northern White Rhinos. Ol Pejeta did everything they could to make that a possibility.

Plan B was to cross-breed the Northern whites with the Southern whites to at least perpetuate this precious gene pool. Somehow they would still live on; their genes remaining part of rhino populations to come.

But for the last living male, Sudan, and the two remaining females, Najin and daughter Fatu, this will not be an option. All three are getting on in age. Najin (25) has weak knees and cannot endure the breeding attempts. In a cruel twist of fate, Fatu (14) is infertile, and Sudan (38) has weak sperm.

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The last male Northern White Rhino on the planet, Sudan. by: Ed Barthorp/Ol Pejeta Conservancy

So now what? There’s no superman, no magical 11th hour miracle, no known options left to us. THIS is extinction. Watch, appreciate and admire them while they breathe.

Human greed and ego have slaughtered this species to the point of irreversible catastrophe. We are witnessing the last of the Northern White Rhinos. It is inevitable.

But the big question is- Will we learn from it? Will we allow it to happen again? The Sumatrans, the Javans..they are dangerously close to the same fate. Black, White and Greater One-horned rhinos aren’t much further behind them.

We must not let the Northern Whites die in vain. It is our duty to learn from them, and to prevent the future decimation of rhinos and other species on our planet. The future of rhinos is NOT doomed, it is in the balance, waiting for us to determine the outcome. Vigilance, commitment and determination can preserve the rhinos, and in the end, our own fates as well.

You can be a part of the final days by “adopting” the Northern Whites at Ol Pejeta: Adopt a Northern White Rhino. Proceeds are used on their care, as well as care of the other rhinos at Ol Pejeta.

All Eyes on Thandi

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Reported by Fight for Rhinos she was one of three rhino found poached in Kariega Game Reserve. Thandi was the only rhino to survive.

Since then this determined survivor has undergone surgery to help heal her opened sinus cavities with skin grafts. Not once, not twice, but about 12 times according to Dr. Will Fowlds. Thanks to efforts from Dr. Fowlds, Dr. Johan Marais, Dr. Gerhard Steenkamp and even a human plastic surgeon, Dr. Alistair Lamont, the team is dedicated to keeping this girl going.

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Late 2013..

In December, during one of her procedures, Dr. William Fowlds added an additional blood test to her usual profile that would measure any hormonal fluctuations. Very soon after, it was joyfully announced that Thandi was pregnant!

And with a gestation period between 485 and 540 days, her time is drawing near. All of us anxiously await for the miracle survivor to become a miracle mom.

Thandi’s recovery has been long and painful. Her character of resilience and determination have brought out the determination of all of us to help her and to protect others like her from the same awful brutality. Like a modern fairy tale, we route for this heroine to get her “happily ever after”, to continue living safe and healthy; and to be the mom nature intended her to be.

Tiger attacks on rhinos

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Recently in northeast India, an injured baby rhino was found in a backyard. Badly injured and unable to move, the 3 month old was the victim of a tiger attack. After initial medical treatment, the IFAW Wildlife Rescue Centre in India stepped in for further care and rehabilitation.

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The forest department was called in to assist the baby rhino. IFAW
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He is reportedly responding well to treatment. IFAW

This is not an unusual encounter. Cheetahs and Sambhars (a type of deer) are the preferred prey of tigers. Yet young and vulnerable rhino calves have been occasionally targeted.

In Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, which shelters the biggest population of rhinos, about 15 to 20 rhino cubs are killed by tigers each year.

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Kaziranga National Park

Nepal’s Chitwan Park and the Dudwhua National Park have also reported similar incidences.

What is most out of the ordinary are attacks on adult rhinos. It is “somewhat against the normal hunting pattern” according to Ganesh Bhar, the deputy director of DDR. Within the past few years there have been a handful of attacks, and resulting deaths to rhinos.

It is unclear why tigers would attack an adult rhino. Territory disputes? Reduction of prey in the area? Increased tiger population resulting in more competition for prey?

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Tiger feasting on poached rhino in Kaziranga National Park. Is poaching responsible for tiger’s appetite for adult rhinos? Photo: Cam trap KNP

But what is clear is there is now a conflict of conservation, as both the Indian Rhino and Bengal Tiger are endangered. In the battle to secure a future for both species, it is quite disturbing and proves to be a complex issue to keep them safe from man and from each other.

What happened to the northern white rhinos

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Suni. Photo: Jan Stejskal

With the death of Suni, the Northern White Rhino, the last chance for the species lies at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Najin and her daughter Fatu are currently housed with a male southern white rhino in hopes of producing a pregnancy in one of the cows.

The Northern White Rhino used to range over parts of Eastern and Central Africa (Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Democratic Republic of the Congo). In 1960, 2,000 northerns existed.

With only 3 left at Ol Pejeta, 2 in the US, and 1 in the Czech Republic, how did it come to this? Why has the Northern succumbed to poaching so much more quickly than their Southern cousins?

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Nola enjoying treats at the San Diego Zoo in the US. Photo: SDZ

They have been poached just like all other species of rhino, but the difference being civil wars in both Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan have had a devastating impact. Poaching initially increased during this time of civil unrest in the 1990s.

Despite this, the population managed to hold until 2003. Then there was another upsurge in poaching, sending the population plummeting.

While the Northerns fell, the Southern White Rhinos grew, benefiting from a conservation strategy, mainly of translocation. Dr. Ian Player and a small group of men headed up efforts to move them out of harm’s way, establishing new populations throughout southern Africa. The main population of these rhinos are the majority who are now in Kruger National Park.

Luck? Happenstance? Either way, it stands that one species is on the brink of extinction, while the other remains just steps away.

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Northern White Rhinos in Ol Pejeta. Photo: Ami Vitale

In a comment from Ol Pejeta:

“The species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race.

“We will continue to do what we can to work with the remaining three animals on Ol Pejeta in the hope that our efforts will one day result in the successful birth of a northern white rhino calf.”

An Epic Move for Rhinos

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Crash in Kruger via Scotch Macaskill. A crash is a group of rhino-increasingly rare with the escalation of poaching.

After much speculation as to whether or not it would happen, the South African government has made it official. They have approved moving 500 rhino out of Kruger National Park.

Of the rhino to be moved, 260 will be sold to private buyers and another 250 taken to a safe location.

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Edna Molewa, SA Minister of Environmental Affairs

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, confirmed the possibility the rhino will be sent to Botswana and Zambia, where there will be “intense protection zones”.

According to Molewa, “this move, along with creating rhino strongholds could allow a total rhino population size of South Africa continue to grow.”

Botswana not only has better political and economic stability and a smaller population than South Africa, but they recently banned commercial trophy hunting and in 2013 adopted the controversial shoot-to-kill policy in place for poachers.

In Zambia, the rhino population had been decimated from previous poaching. But groups like African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Rhino are working on bringing rhino populations back to varying Parks. Possession of rhino horn or a conviction of poaching can receive a sentence of 20 years in Zambia. The Tourism and Arts Deputy Minister , Lawrence Evans said poachers and other people engaged in illegal wildlife trade would be dealt with severely.

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Previous rhino translocation from SA to Botswana. Photo: Mike Cowton

Although logistically moving such a large number of 2 ton animals seems difficult to say the least, they’ve done it before. Between 1997 and 2013 there were 1500 relocated from Kruger. According to Molewa that move “has contributed significantly” to the rhino population.

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Helicopters have been donated to assist in the move. Photo: Green Renaissance/epa

Disclosure of exact location could endanger the rhinos, yet it would be all too easy to maintain small groups of rhino throughout varying reserves, just enough to avoid questioning; in the meantime, selling the majority.

Even more troubling-Who are the private buyers? Trophy hunters? China? Vietnam?

With the steeping shadow of suspicion looming over them, can South Africa really afford not to be upfront?

According to a report released to the SANParks board, rhino poaching has seen an average escalation of 70% a year. At the time of this posting, 660 have been slaughtered in the current year.

For more on South Africa’s rhino poaching plan: Edna Molewa’s Strategic Management of Rhinos

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

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A previously translocated rhino, now in Okavango Delta in Botswana.

The latest development from Kruger National Park is the possibility of moving approximately 500 rhino in an effort to stop the slaughter. Although no details are confirmed with this massive relocation, there is speculation that Botswana may be one of the destinations.

Botswana is one of a few countries who have adopted the controversial shoot-to-kill policy in answer to relentless poaching.

There will always be arguments about whether or not it is an ethical solution. But does it work?

In Swaziland game rangers have permission to shoot-to-kill people suspected of poaching wildlife on the monarch’s land and protects them from prosecution for murder in some circumstances.

Ted Reilly, the chief executive of Big Game Parks (BGP), which runs the major national parks in Swaziland on behalf of the King, holds a Royal Warrant to allow him to shoot-to-kill.

Reilly has said ‘Our guys aren’t to be messed with. If they [poachers] come after rhino they’re going to get hurt, and if he gets killed or maimed, well, you know, who’s to blame for that?’

Results: In the last 20 years, Swaziland has only lost 3 rhino to poaching.

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Warning to poachers.

In Kaziranga National Park, India, forest guards actually receive a cash bonus to their salary if they successfully wound and kill a poacher. Furthermore, the forest guards will not be prosecuted for the shooting, whether in self-defense or as a pro-active ambush or attack.

The issue of indemnity for armed wildlife guards is an important one for many field programs, whose staff risk being caught up in lengthy court cases and even prison, while acting in the line of duty.

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Indian Rhino in Kairanga National Park.

Results: Kaziranga has lost 20 rhino so far this year, and a total of 20-40 have been poached every year since 2005.

Zimbabwe has enacted shoot to kill. Their results? There were 20 rhino poached in 2013 and 60 in 2012. This was a drop since their record high of 84 in 2008.

Tanzania had a shoot-to-kill policy for a short time. It was proving to be extremely effective.

Soldiers, police, game rangers and forestry officers had been involved in a month-long crackdown on poachers, code-named Operation Terminate, in October. But the operation was suspended after an inquiry by MPs uncovered a litany of arbitrary murder, rape, torture and extortion of innocent people.

But officials admit elephant deaths have risen dramatically since the government abandoned the policy against poachers

The deputy minister of natural resources and tourism in Tanzania, Lazaro Nyalandu said 60 elephants were butchered in November and December, compared with just two in October.

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Tanzania is losing 30 elephants a day to poaching.

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Although shoot-to-kill is not fool-proof, as the most greedy of poachers will poach; it does convey the strongest stance possible in a countries’ willingness to stop the slaughter of our wildlife. If Botswana is indeed the recipient of Kruger’s rhino, maybe their shoot-to-kill hardline stance on poachers will finally stem the blood flow.

Read our blog for more rhino stories!

Breaking the Silence on Poaching

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Namibia, Tanzania, Togo, and Gabon leaders meet with the US Sec of State to discuss wildlife trafficking.

Washington DC: African leaders and the US Secretary of State sit in a casual setting, exchanging niceties and discussing the decimation of our world’s wildlife, mainly elephants.

This week is the US African Leaders Summit, bringing together 50 African leaders and President Obama. Topics of discussion during the three-day summit include security, trade and governance.

During the wildlife trafficking discussion, Tanzania’s President, Jakaya Kikwete, seemed frustrated over the lack of unity throughout neighboring countries.

“The elephants are killed in Tanzania,” said Kikwete, “but the consignment [of ivory] came from Kampala, Uganda. And moved through Mombasa,” the main port of Kenya. “So there is definitely need for working together.”

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Tusks from Gabon’s forest elephants were tracked through Togo en route to Asian countries.

The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, expressed concern over elephant poaching, which is ironic as there are no elephants there. He stated tusks confiscated in Hong Kong and Malaysia were traced back to Togo.

Gnassingbe said, “This is an embarrassment. We don’t want to be seen as a country that kills elephants it doesn’t have.”

After months of investigating the source of ivory was discovered. He said “Many of those tusks came from…(he then turned apologetically toward his left to Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo Ondimba)….my friend’s country.”

Gnassingbe went on to say that until the US brought this up, Gabon had never mentioned the issue of poaching. In fact, this is the first time many of them have had this discussion in a group setting. This begs the question “Why is there no continental strategy to end poaching?”

When asked what they would like from the US to combat poaching, the overall consensus was equipment. The ranger death toll is escalating, as they are deep in a war in which they are outmanned, outgunned and under trained.

Namibia asked for helicopters, Tanzania requested night vision goggles, Togo wants infrared scanners, and Gabon-military support.

But in addition, Ondimba apprehensively brought up the “elephant in the room”; diplomatic pressure on China, stating-

“Let’s kill the market. We’ll save the animals, we’ll also save human being.”

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Gabon forest elephants

If Rhinos Go Extinct

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To every thing there is a yin and yang, a balance. The web of all species is intricately connected, each relies on the others.

When we let a species go extinct, we upset the balance. So if we fail the rhino, what will happen to the rest of the savanna?

Rhinos are mega-herbivores, the lawn maintenance crew of the savanna. Their job to the ecosystem is to carve out paths for other creatures (eating), make water holes (digging), and to help germinate plants (defecating).

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It may seem simplistic, but they are the only sizable creatures in this habitat to do it. The other mega-herbivores, elephants affect different parts of the savanna, as they eat from a different menu, browsing on taller bushes and trees.

Rhinos eat an average of 23.6 kg during the course of each day. The dung piles they share can be 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep. That’s a sizable amount of trimming and fertilizing!

Research (by Scandinavian and South African researchers in the Journal of Ecology) indicates areas with higher rhino population had 20 times more grazing areas. These areas supply food not just for rhinos, but for zebra, gazelle and antelope.

No rhinos = less grazable area = less herbivores (i.e. antelope) = less predators (i.e. lions)

If we fail the rhino, what will happen to the people?

Eco-tourism relies heavily on tourists wanting to see the Big 5: the lion, elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, and leopard.

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Obviously without the rhino, it’s down to 4. But if the savanna suffers without grazable area, ultimately so do the lion and leopard, since their lunch will be terribly diminished by the lack of herbivores.

So will people pay to come see a barren landscape with a few scattered elephant and buffalo?

The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates 3.8 million jobs could be created by the tourism industry in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years. They go on to say that eco-tourism can only be sustainable IF the natural assets are protected from degradation.

Tour operators, tour drivers, cooks, housekeepers, souvenir vendors, wait staff, hotel staff, taxi drivers, restaurants, store employees…they could all be out of a job without tourism.

No rhino = no big five = no tourists = no tourism jobs = poorer economy

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If we fail the rhino, we let terrorists, politicians, poachers, trophy-hunters, and most of all apathy win; making it that much harder for the next endangered species. If we fail the rhino, we ultimately fail ourselves.

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