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!