Don’t let the Rhinos,
become extinct like Dinos
Saving mother nature, one bit at a time.
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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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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On the occasion of World Rhinoceros Day, recently celebrated, the NGO Fauna & Flora International draws attention to the urgency of taking measures to guarantee the survival of this species, at risk of extinction due to poaching and the trade in its horns.
In Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Nature Reserve, trained anti-poaching dogs, along with the involvement of local communities, are enabling sustained growth in rhino populations.
Recently, World Rhinoceros Day has been celebrated, a good reason to draw everyone’s attention from people and institutions committed to the same desire: their survival, making it possible for all threatened rhinoceros species to survive for the next century. While the Indian rhinos maintain the type in extremis, those of Sumatra and Java have already entered the spiral that will lead them to extinction, and the same happens with the subspecies of African white rhinoceros, which with a single living male staggers to the ground.
The drive for rhino horn has been fueled not only by demand in areas of Asia but also as a result of instability and insecurity in the areas of Africa where they live, which has increased its value. As a result, it has become a coveted object of trade for ruthless criminal gangs. Thus, the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn has been incorporated into the illegal traffic of arms, drugs and people, since, as in these cases, the risk is acceptable given the economic benefits it brings.
There is no time to lose, the stakes are high. What can we change? What can we do to avoid the end to which the rhinos are headed? The statistics for rhino poaching offer very grim numbers. In the last three years the loss of rhinos in Africa has reached a rate of more than three animals a day , about 3,000 of them in South Africa.
If this continues, the tipping point will come in a couple of years, when deaths exceed births, at which point the total number of rhinos will plummet. Therefore, to avoid this horrible outcome we need to reduce the demand for rhino horn and ensure that rhinos reproduce faster than they are killed by hunters.
To complete the first objective we need to join forces to reduce the demand for rhino horn . There are many and very different people currently involved in this, from Prince William of England, who talks with the Government and the people of China, to Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin group, who is helping to develop strategies to stop this market with Vietnam business leaders. If these conversations turn the tide and reduce demand for rhino horn, the basic laws of the economy will reduce the incentives for poachers and make hunting unprofitable.
But for this, it is equally crucial to develop protective measures in collaboration with local populations. This activity is where Fauna & Flora International, an NGO dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity, is currently concentrating its efforts, with the idea that more rhinoceros populations can be stabilized and started to grow in Africa. Of the African countries with the largest range of rhinoceros distribution – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya – it has been in the latter where only four rhinos have fallen to the hands of hunters and the protection measures that have been developed in this regard in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy nature reserve.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is currently home to more than 100 black rhinos. The largest population of black rhinoceros in East Africa is concentrated there, and its population is growing at a rate of 5% per year. In the last two years, new rhinoceros populations have been established on private and communal lands constituted as conservation areas, which has opened the possibility of increasing the number of grasslands available for rhinos provided that local protection efforts are combined. In Ol Pejeta, dogs specially trained against poaching, like the one we have the opportunity to present, Diego, are a valuable help in the protection of this population .
This work is done concurrently with local community development programs, which are fully established, and their involvement has proven to be an effective way to reinforce local rhino protection programs. But, in addition, the dogs are appreciated by the communities around Ol Pejeta, as their tracking capabilities have been put at the service of those communities for other tasks, such as solving crimes, mostly robberies but also murders.
The role of communities living alongside rhino habitat is crucial, and engaging them is critical. In Mozambique, for example, along the fringes of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a profitable economy has been established among communities based on the benefits of the illegal trade in rhino horn. This situation can be reversed, as the action carried out in Ol Pejeta in Kenya has shown, but it also offers a future.
Transforming an economy that leads to the extermination of the ‘product’ into one where communities can see their own sustainability by focusing their interest, including economic incentives, on the conservation of biodiversity, will make them act as the first line of defense. Where the risks of detecting and stopping poaching outweigh the benefits, the balance always swings in favor of rhinos and, ultimately, local communities. By strengthening these models of sustainability, rhinos will be able to survive. Thanks to the solidarity of all and the joint work of humans and dogs, we will be ensuring their survival.
In 10 years there will be no rhinos in the world. So say the associations dedicated to the conservation of the five rhino species in the world. And the truth is, if we look at current trends, the three Asian and two African rhinos have a very uncertain future.
At least, in their home countries. Because if the Australian Rhino Project has its way, we may soon see white rhinos roaming the savannahs of the world’s largest island. It sounds crazy and it might be, but it’s serious.
An endangered species
The aim of the Australian Rhino Project is to expand the population of white rhinos in Australia and New Zealand. The idea is to maintain a genetically diverse hatchery that can act as a “back-up” in case what seems already inevitable occurs. It should not be forgotten that a subspecies of this animal is on the verge of becoming extinct life (despite the efforts of scientists).
So far this decade, 6,925 rhinos have been poached in South Africa alone. No kidding: there are less than 20,000 white rhinos left on the entire continent and the species is increasingly threatened by poaching. That’s where Australia comes in.
The Australian solution
As Bill Laurance, a professor at James Cook University, argued, Australia not only has abundant savannahs, forests, and rainforests (perfect for the many species of rhinos that exist) but also has a strong rule of law, and poaching is tightly controlled.
And it is not because there are no animals in Australia that have a “sweet tooth” for international animal trafficking. That is why Laurence is convinced that the country would have no difficulty in balancing the safety of the species with a thriving ecotourism sector that would make the project profitable.
Obviously, the idea is not to introduce rhinos and set them free. As we discussed when talking about the old proposal to introduce hippopotami into the United States, that would be a huge problem. Advocates of the Australian rhinoceros propose creating rhino reserves where they can live in semi-freedom.
It’s not a bad idea, it all has to be said. In the end, the conservation of endangered species (and their environment) is fundamentally a political and institutional issue. Australia could be a solution to the rhino problem. A partial solution, however. If we are not able to maintain the original populations we will have serious problems, we will have lost the most important thing, but at least we will have hope.
You can help too!
You can support the Australian Rhino Project too by purchasing custom made toy blocks in the shape of a rhino, all earnings will go to this charity directly. These houten blokken for children are made locally and if you buy them, it helps to support this amazing project directly. Visit their website to get more information on this matter!
Saving the last groups of the wild Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus Sumatran) is the aim of a study that identifies, for the first time, priority forest protection areas and “irreplaceable to save the critically endangered species,” according to the authors. It is estimated that only 87-179 specimens are currently in existence in Indonesia.
The Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus Sumatran) is a critically endangered animal whose population has been drastically reduced to only four areas in Indonesia.
Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Indonesia Program have conducted a study in this island nation of the last wild population of the Sumatran rhinoceros. Details are published in the latest issue of the journal PLoS ONE.
The work provides, according to the authors, vital data to support a last attempt to prevent the extinction of the Sumatran rhinoceros. Wulan Pusparini, lead researcher of the study points out: “Sumatran rhinos can still be saved in their natural environment, but we must ensure areas of protection, which would require significant investments in law enforcement personnel.
The scientists recommend that wildlife conservation managers consolidate existing small populations with strong protections for the animals, as well as determine the percentage of breeding females remaining and recognize the cost of “doing nothing.
The research has identified the small, scattered populations that currently exist and must be consolidated to be viable. Bambang Dahono Adji, Director of Biodiversity Conservation at the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Chairman of the Indonesian Rhino Conservation Secretariat says, “We welcome these important new findings that support Indonesia’s efforts to fully implement the Sumatran Rhino Action Plan.
Five intensive protection areas
Using data on rhino signs and their probabilities of occupying the places where these animals al predicted that rhinos only occupy 13% of the area studied.
Five specific areas were identified as critical to saving these critically endangered rhinos, but this is only an overall estimate of their occupation to reduce the risk of poaching.
“With so many unknowns about how to manage rhinos in Sumatra, in the wild or in captivity, our study shows which places we must protect from the beginning,” adds Pusparini.
Overall, the scientists recommend that Indonesia formally establish five “intensive protection zones”, identified in this study, to eliminate poaching. The researchers also urge that all the small surviving populations and scattered individuals of healthy rhinos should be consolidated.
Finally, they urge governments to recognize that it is likely “that the Sumatran rhino will become extinct if no action is taken, as was the case with the last Java rhino in Vietnam in 2010.
A species devastated by Chinese medicine
The Sumatran rhinoceros were first discovered in 1814, they have been drastically reduced in Southeast Asia, where it only lives in three areas on the island of Sumatra and one in Kalimantan (Indonesia).
“The evaluation of the population and spatial distribution of this species is difficult due to its elusive nature and extremely low number of specimens,” the researchers point out.
From 600 animals in 1985, less than 100 have been reached in 2013. Current estimates place the number between 87 and 179, with subpopulations of 2 to 50 rhinos. The demand for rhino horns in traditional Chinese medicine has reduced their numbers and there are currently no viable populations outside Sumatra.
This study “provides urgent information on where the remaining rhinos are distributed,” says Joe Walston, vice president of WCS. “For the first time, we have a clear idea of where this rhino has priority, and we have the tools and techniques to protect them. Now we need to ensure a concerted effort by all agencies to free the Sumatran rhino from being on the verge of extinction.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Information obtained from TRAFFIC and Richard Ellis: Poaching for Traditional Chinese Medicine
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.
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.
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.
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.
She might has a chance to be moved to Australia, but that’s still uncertain to this date.
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.
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.
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.
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?
An unexpected solution is near, in the very near future a group of rhino’s will be re-located to the desert of Australia! Read our article about that as well.
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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