Rangers thoughts on ‘shoot-to-kill’

On average 2 rhinos and 96 elephants are slaughtered each day.
In the last ten years over 1,000 rangers have been killed.

Should there be a shoot-to-kill policy? Would it help? The controversy is widely debated.
But what do the rangers think?

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I spoke to several rangers to get their thoughts.

One ranger said,

“Most of the poachers are poor locals surrounding the wildlife reserves and they see the reserves as their source of income. What is needed is to empower people near the reserves economically, pass on scheme of goats, dairy cows, sending poor children to school… they will become role models to the community and people will begin to appreciates the importance of conserving animals.

We can shoot ten poachers a day, suppose they are all men- surely their families will suffer and later become poachers as means of survival. We shoot at poachers when our lives and that of our friends are in danger but shooting down any poacher it’s not solution.”

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Apprehended poacher in Garamba.

Another who works in a large reserve said,

“I don’t think it will help because we normally look for deep information & investigations on a suspect caught that may lead to their middlemen, bosses etc.”

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These Limpopo poachers were acquitted of rhino poaching in 2014, and just caught for rhino poaching again this month, in January.

But overall most of them were in favor of the policy.

“Keeping them alive sometimes does not help because the source of poaching is dealing with big people, often from government offices. So it’s a bit risky for the rangers who arrest them.”

“This thing of arrest, it throws us backwards to winning this war of poaching. The more that are arrested, the more they are replaced by new poachers.”

“In courts things turn ugly for most of our rangers who killed poachers due to poachers kingpins paying prosecutors money to let their associates off the hook. (If it were a policy, the government would support rangers without the extensive interrogation)

“Yes, yes, yes! They should be shot. Because the rhinos are killed, but also the rangers. I think it is the only way to win this war.”

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Cameroon park ranger Bruce Danny Ngongo was shot dead in a poacher confrontation this past December. photo: Cameroon Wildlife Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rhino Wrap up 2016

What a year! While rhino poaching persists, so does the war to stop it. This year thanks to the generosity and concern from all of you, we have managed to provide much needed help to the following:

Kruger Park APU

$2370.00 usd to human tracker training— We received a plea for help from a ranger who was part of a smaller APU in southern Kruger. They had been hit by the poaching of rhino in their area and felt they needed to be better equipped to prevent being hit again.

We were able to provide human tracker training where they learned more about early detection in suspicious human activity, (i.e. poaching camps, tracks, snares) apprehension of suspicious individuals,and gathering intelligence and evidence.

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Some of the APU involved in tracker training.

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

$5500.00 usd to APU canine training–The centre specializes in cheetahs and various wildlife rehabilitation, but with the large number of rhinos being poached, there is a huge need for help rehabilitating the rhino orphans.

Having taken in several rhinos, the need for increased security includes initiating a canine unit for their APU. We started with Chloe, one of the APU dogs for the entire Kapama area (of which HESC is a part). From there, we were able to help with HESC’s own canine unit, including Zee and Bullet.

The training includes the advanced levels for all dogs, including a trainer from the Centre who will accompany them.

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Zee and Bullet @HESC

  Ol Pejeta Conservancy

$3000.00 usd to anti-poaching supplies— Home to the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa, as well as the last three Northern White Rhinos on the planet, security is probably THE most urgent need for Ol Pejeta. Everything from boots and tents to training and upgrades are needed to benefit the APUs. (More details to follow).

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OPC rangers take part in regular trainings to keep their skills sharp.

Thank you for fighting with us in this poaching war. Your donations are not taken lightly. For each amount given leads to action taken to protect rhinos and to keep rangers safe. Please continue to work with us, together we ARE making a difference!

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EVERY rhino counts

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The battle to save the Sumatran Rhino

For the smallest and most unique species of rhino, it is a race against time to try to re-populate the Sumatran rhino species. Indonesia and Malaysia are the only areas they are still thought to exist.

In Indonesia there are fewer than 80 left and in Malaysia, the situation is even more urgent, with only three Sumatrans remaining.

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One of the three remaining Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia. Photo: Borneo Rhino Alliance

The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) supports two critical efforts in Indonesia; 1) they maintain 12 Rhino Protection Units to protect against poaching and
2)support the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), a 250 acre area where a handful of rhinos are given the utmost of care in an intensely managed research and breeding program.

The SRS has been home to rhinos who were born from successful breeding efforts at the Cincinnati Zoo, including the latest resident, Harapan. (see previous post: The Journey of Hope)

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Harapan w/ the Director of the IRF October, 2016

Yet in Malaysia, all Sumatrans are thought to be extinct in the wild. So efforts are solely focused on the only 3 rhinos left; the male, Tam, and females Puntung and Iman.

The Borneo Rhino Alliance manages the three, and shoulders one of the greatest responsibilites-creating more rhinos. As the situation is so dire, the hope lies in advanced reproductive technology.

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Baby Sumatran @ Way Kambas National Park, photo: metrowebukmetro                           

Teaming up with experts from around the world, attempts are underway to create the world’s first test tube Sumatran rhino embryo and implant it into a viable surrogate.

This may be the only chance for the species, but it’s a costly endeavor. As of June 2016, the group has run out of funds, and won’t be able to continue much longer. To remain operational for the next two years, they need  USD$900’000.

To help, please donate at Saving the Sumatran Rhino. Help keep hope alive.

 

 

 

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Ring of Fire: life or death for most rare rhinos

Where does the rarest of all rhinos live?

…Ujung Kulon National Park, in the western tip of Indonesia.  It is also one of the most densely populated areas on Earth AND one of most volcanically active as well.

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Java’s volcanoes have left their mark on the Javan rhinoceros’ fate in many ways.

They gave the island its immense fertility, rich enough to feed the fast-growing population; that is until man began to poach them.  Man drove the rhino to the corners of Java ‑ out of its natural habitat, toward higher grounds and isolated peninsulas, as far as possible from civilization without actually dropping into the Indian Ocean.

Then in 1883, there was a massive volcanic eruption. Afterwards, as the land began to recover, Javan rhinos — under heavy threat elsewhere on the island — re-colonized. Humans never returned in large numbers, so to this day Ujung Kulon remains a safe haven for the rhino.

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Krakatou volcano

Yet where it was once a lifeline for Javans, an eruption now ,could prove catastrophic. There are only approximately 60 of them left.

“It’s never a good idea to keep all eggs in the one basket”, Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF)confirmed.

“Everyone is convinced of the need for a second site, so we can translocate a subset of the current population.” This way, numbers can be raised, the gene pool extended and the future of the Javan rhino secured. Especially since Ujung Kulon has its limits.

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Javan rhino caught on camera trap, photo: Indonesia tourism.com

from Mongabay: The Javan rhino: protected and threatened by a volcano

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Protecting rhinos with 4-legged rangers

We are pleased to announce with YOUR generosity, we have been able to fully fund the training of Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre’s APU canine unit!

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Trainer, Corlet; photo: HESC

A word to all of you from our friends at HESC:

Words cannot sufficiently express our gratitude towards Fight for Rhinos for being one of our most ardent and loyal supporters.

Fight for Rhinos generously committed to assisting with the successful care and training of our anti-poaching canines at HESC – both for the protection of our rhinos and the rangers.

Over the past few months, Fight for Rhinos has managed to successfully raise an amazing ZAR80 000 (5500 usd) which they’ve donated to HESC’s Wildlife Conservation Trust.

We are so thrilled by their effort and generosity. A BIG thank you to Fight for Rhinos and each and every person who contributed towards the campaign.

You can continue protecting rhinos by sponsoring our canine units at HESC and Ol Pejeta Conservancy with a monthly OR one time donation. Every dollar is a help toward keeping them safe.

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Zee and Bullet with handler, Simon. photo: HESC

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The Future Rewards those who press on…

 We don’t put a lot of weight into labels, i.e. republican, democrat, etc; but into actions. What will an elected official DO to help or hinder our animals, our environment?
The actions of our current President included an almost total ban on ivory trade in the US, forming an US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, and incorporating wildlife trafficking laws into the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)enabling more enforceable laws on countries who heavily trade.
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President Obama issued the executive order to combat wildlife trafficking in 2013. photo: CITES

In fact under Obama, the US has  protected more endangered species due to recovery efforts than any other Administration in history.
 The new President elect’s agenda doesn’t seem to include much promise in the way of conservation efforts and the environment.
He has stated he would cut the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), saying the environment will be fine; and has surrounded himself with “a team advisers and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries” (according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund President Michael Markarian)
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 We sincerely hope that Mr. Trump’s actions are not as harsh and negligent as his words; and that the US pledge to fight wildlife trafficking continues in the way of legislature, attitude and ambition.
But while we hope, we also continue to fight.
 The victories of the last few years have not only lifted our hopes and ambitions, but have given them a backbone. We can’t forget how much has been started. That momentum will continue to drive us forward, to fight for every inch, every yard of progress in the coming months and years.
Our mission remains the same, our momentary disappointment is giving way to determination. As President Obama once said ” The future rewards those who press on…” We have been and will continue to fight to secure a future for rhinos and wildlife.
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Photo: Chris Fischer

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Exclusive Rhino Ornaments

We’re pleased to offer our exclusive ornaments this year-made specifically for Fight for Rhinos; Black Rhino Mom & Baby

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Made of sustainable maple
Approximate dimensions: 4″ x 2 1/2″ x 3/16″
Text: Peace, Love & Rhinos
Fight for Rhinos

via Paypal: Only $13.50 usd plus shipping (ships to USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands)
As always 100% of profits benefit our rhino conservation projects

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Rhino for President?

Throughout history people have been so fed up with their political choices, they have sometimes opted to vote for an animal instead.

In 1959 , as a protest, the voters of Sao Paulo, Brazil voted for Cacareco, the rhino at the Sao Paulo zoo.  With over 500 candidates running for the seat on the City Council, the five-year old black rhino won by a landslide.

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Cacareco, source: Gina Famania

Her campaign for the election was traced back to a group of students who were fed up with living conditions, food shortages and overall political corruption. Although her win was thrown out and a new election took place, she made history.

“Vote Cacareco” became a slogan to signify political protests, and she became the inspiration for the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.

 

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So little can mean so much

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Ol Pejeta rangers with anti poaching dogs.

A monthly gift can make all the difference for our canine APUs.

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A one time gift of $25 purchases kong balls and rope (positive reinforcement toys)

A one time gift of $50 purchases dog shoes (for bush terrain training)

Simply go to the DONATE button and select the MONTHLY option.

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HESC canine APU

We currently work with Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center and Ol Pejeta APUs. With black and white rhinos, both wild and rehabilitating, canines are a critical part of success at keeping poachers at bay.

We are happy to provide end of year statements for your tax deductions.

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