Posts Tagged With: earth

World Ranger Day 2017

Today is an opportunity to give rangers the appreciation and respect they deserve. When laws are weak, technology is expensive, and the price on an animal’s head is high, the only thing literally standing between a poacher and rhino, is the ranger.

We salute you all! Thank you for your dedication, bravery and efforts. You truly are our heroes.

Photo: Bruce Adams

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

borneo-rhino-via-borneorhinoalliance

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)

harapan-with-irf-director-oct-2016

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.

baby-sumatran

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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THIS is extinction

To truly grasp the enormity of extinction, you must hear the last song of the Kauai O’o bird..

Imagine being the last…

 

 

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World Elephant Day

elephant world cartoon

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected” -Chief Seattle

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Don’t Stop Believing

 Often times it’s easy to look around and feel overwhelmed at the poachings, the lack of political action, the constant inquiry of rhino stats. But it’s easy to miss what is quietly going on around us. Fight for Rhinos, and other reputable organizations have been working tirelessly on making a change. It’s not instant, it’s not always immediately obvious, and sometimes the steps seem small. But the work being done in the background will amount to larger things. 

Have hope and know there are those of us here working 24/7 on protecting our rhinos, and elephants. Together, we ARE making a difference.

 

jane goodallWords of Hope from Jane: “It is easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness as we look around the world. We are losing species at a terrible rate, the balance of nature is disturbed, and we are destroying our beautiful planet. We have fear about water supplies, where future energy will come from – and most recently the developed world has been mired in an economic crisis. But in spite of all this I do have hope. And my hope is based on four factors.

The Human Brain
Firstly, we have at last begun to understand and face up to the problems that threaten us and the survival of life on Earth as we know it. Surely we can use our problem-solving abilities, our brains, to find ways to live in harmony with nature. Many companies have begun “greening” their operations, and millions of people worldwide are beginning to realize that each of us has a responsibility to the environment and our descendants. Everywhere I go, I see people making wiser choices, and more responsible ones.

The Indomitable Human Spirit
My second reason for hope lies in the indomitable nature of the human spirit. There are so many people who have dreamed seemingly unattainable dreams and, because they never gave up, achieved their goals against all the odds, or blazed a path along which others could follow. The recent presidential election in the U.S. is one example. As I travel around the world I meet so many incredible and amazing human beings. They inspire me. They inspire those around them.

The Resilience of Nature
My third reason for hope is the incredible resilience of nature. I have visited Nagasaki, site of the second atomic bomb that ended World War II. Scientists had predicted that nothing could grow there for at least 30 years. But, amazingly, greenery grew very quickly. One sapling actually managed to survive the bombing, and today it is a large tree, with great cracks and fissures, all black inside; but that tree still produces leaves. I carry one of those leaves with me as a powerful symbol of hope. I have seen such renewals time and again, including animal species brought back from the brink of extinction.

The Determination of Young People
My final reason for hope lies in the tremendous energy, enthusiasm and commitment of young people around the world. As they find out about the environmental and social problems that are now part of their heritage, they want to right the wrongs. Of course they do — they have a vested interest in this, for it will be their world tomorrow. They will be moving into leadership positions, into the workforce, becoming parents themselves. Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realize that what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world. We should never underestimate the power of determined young people.

I meet many young people with shining eyes who want to tell Dr. Jane what they’ve been doing, how they are making a difference in their communities. Whether it’s something simple like recycling or collecting trash, something that requires a lot of effort, like restoring a wetland or a prairie, or whether it’s raising money for the local dog shelter, they are a continual source of inspiration. My greatest reason for hope is the spirit and determination of young people, once they know what the problems are and have the tools to take action.

So let’s move forward in this new millennium with hope, for without it all we can do is eat and drink the last of our resources as we watch our planet slowly die. Let’s have faith in ourselves, in our intellect, in our staunch spirit and in our young people. And let’s do the work that needs to be done, with love and compassion.”

–Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE

northern white with rainbow

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Last Male on Earth

Imagine as a male being the last of your kind… you, 2 females, and a handful of other creatures surrounding you. This is the life of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino on the planet.

At the ripe age of 42, this old-timer is spending the last of his days at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He is a calm and relaxed old rhino, who enjoys the company of Mohammed and Esagon, his keepers who care for him around the clock. He responds to their voices and their presence is extremely calming to him.

Mohammed and Esagon

Mohammed and Esagon with Sudan

 

His days are spent alternating between his own enclosure and a larger area with both Fatu and Najin, the two females. When in their presence, he seems to prefer time with Najin.

Where most white rhinos are munching on grass, this is not his favorite; as he prefers Lucerne  (alfalfa), carrots, bananas and pellets. And why not? As the one and only of his kind, shouldn’t he get his favorites?

His relaxation and comfort only waver with  an unfamiliar person’s scent in his presence or when he is startled, like being approached from behind. Like many animals, the unfamiliar agitates him.

sudan 1

Sudan munching on one of his lesser favorites-grass

 

These are his days; fed, secure, cared for until the end. But the end is coming too soon. And the end of Sudan symbolizes the extinction of the Northern White Rhinos.

2014 Oct: Suni, the male at Ol Pejeta died at 34.

2014 Dec: Angalifu, the male at SanDiego died at 44.

With both Najin (18) and Fatu (29) getting on in age, they too are living in an hourglass, the sands of time the only enemy that rivals a poacher.

The heartbreak and loneliness we feel for him…his fate making him unique; does he feel it? Does he on some level know he is different?

As Ol Pejeta states : There’s no way to truly ascertain this. But we try to the extent that is possible to ensure that he is not alone. He is always in the company of his keepers or his sister rhinos, Najin and Fatu.

Ol Pejeta is caring for these precious rhinos, as well as being the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Fight for Rhinos supports their efforts . To help, please donate to Fight for Rhinos or to Ol Pejeta’s Running for Rhinos campaign.

For more on the Northern Whites: Watching the Sun Set on a Species,  What Happened to the Northern Whites?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

50 million years on Earth….Disappearing in 6?!

If the current rate of poaching continues, rhinos in the wild will be extinct by 2020. That is just 6 years away!

black and white rhinos by ryan hillier

There are only 5,000 black rhinos (L) and 20,000 white rhinos (R) remaining in the wild. (photo by Ryan Hillier)

According to Will Travers, chief executive of the Born Free Foundation,

“There will probably be no free-living rhinos as the remaining numbers will be fenced off in military-style compounds which are alarmed and heavily guarded by armed patrols.”

Are we prepared to let this happen? How will the world look without them?

The Savanna 

Rhinos are an umbrella species. This means their survival or demise directly impacts the survival or demise of other species of rhino in tall grass by chiu pangmammals, birds, insects, fish and plants. They play a big role in their ecosystem.

When they browse, they keep the areas trimmed, making paths and more accessible areas for smaller mammals. They also enrich the soil and help plants by spreading seed through their dung.

In fact according to an article in Smithsonian.com, rhino-inhabited areas had about 20 times more grazing lawns (or patches of prime eating grass) than areas without rhinos. This effects not just rhino’s diet, but smaller grazing animals such as zebra, gazelle, and antelope.

Without rhinos to diversify the plant life and help create grazing spots, the African savanna may become a much emptier place, devastating more than just the rhinos.

The Economy

Many parts of Africa rely heavily on the tourism business. Probably the biggest incentive for safaris is the “Big Five” (the elephant, rhino, lion, cape buffalo and leopard) With four of the five endangered or on their way to endangered status, tourism is absolutely threatened.

Without rhinos, there is no tourism and no tour guides, drivers, lodge employees, restaurant employees, or souvenir shop employees. South Africa and Kenya are arguably two of the biggest benefactors of tourism via safaris. With existing unemployment rates of 24% (SA) and 40% (K), there is no room for lessening job opportunities.

rhino safari (africa excl safari)

photo by africa exclusive safari

Global Responsibility

It may be cliché, but it is absolute truth-we have one planet. We are guardians of this planet; the only ones who are capable of devastating and destroying it, and likewise the only ones who can right this.

Rhinos are one of the 16,306 endangered species in the world. They have all come to this point from the recklessness of humans through habitat loss, hunting, and pollution. This can be brought to a halt through education and awareness, and stricter laws for violators.

BUT we must ask ourselves-do we REALLY want to save the planet? Do we have the will to work together-ignoring borders, setting aside self-importance and ultimately having respect, not just for each other, but for ALL  species? If enough of us can do this, we don’t have to wonder what will happen without rhinos. And we may just find our own dignity and humanity along the way.

help me

 

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No Vacancy?

Kruger National Park, South Africa: A tourist couple were following a bull elephant, attempting to get pictures. At one point, he turned and charged the car, turning it over into the bushes. The woman was seriously injured, and had to be transported to a nearby hospital.

car from elephant attack

Car attacked by elephant in Kruger.

The bull was in musth, which is a time in which their testosterone is extremely high, they are sexually active and quite aggressive. It is obvious by their swollen temporal glands which emit a fluid that runs down their cheeks.

The couple have survived, the elephant was not so lucky. Officials at the park had decided to put him down, due to his aggression.

There has been outrage expressed by some on behalf of the elephant. Afterall, the elephant was doing what elephants do. It is up to people to educate themselves on animal behavior, and it is a known risk they take by entering the park. Surely, this could have been avoided.

Unfortunately this is only one of multiple incidences, not just in South Africa, but globally. With 7 billion people on the planet, and dwindling habitats for animals, everyone is running dangerously short on elbow room.

Kenya

Kenya fights these battles as well. The country loses 100 lions a year due to human conflict. Most of this is in retaliation of villagers for their goats or cattle being killed. This epidemic, coupled with disease,  could well lead to no lions in the country within just 20 years. This dismal disappearance is seen throughout the dark continent, with lions gone from 80% of their original African range.

Elephants are players in the conflict here as well. Crop farming, charcoal burning and human settlements have attributed to just some of the casualties on both sides. 35 people are killed from elephants each year, yet at least 100  elephants are killed daily.

beehives near elephants

Kenyan farmers are using beehives as a natural elephant deterrent, which has proven 97% effective in thwarting attacks.

There are individual stories from people for whom the elephants create havoc on their crops, on their daily lives. David Kimita, a 45-year-old farmer and father of four, blames elephants for the breakdown of his marriage. Every time he plants crops, elephants raid his farm, leaving him with nothing for his family.

“My wife depended on me for food, so when there was none, she decided to go – four years ago,” he said

In 1994, Kenya began a Problem Animal Management Unit (PAMU) due to the challenge. The unit is composed of an elite ranger response team and responds to  interaction hotspots in the country. Villagers who lose crops or livestock are paid compensation. Without this intervention, too many animals would be lost in retaliation (more than already are).

Javan leopard in W Java killed after it invaded a house (CIFOR)

A rare Javan Leopard was killed after she invaded a house
photo courtesy of CIFOR

Bangalore, India:

Since April of 2013, there have been 30 human deaths due to human/animal conflict.  23 of the attacks were from elephants , with the rest from tigers, leopards, wild boars and bears.

With an increasing number of people within the area and less forests,  more occurrence of human/animal contact is inevitable. In India alone, hundreds of people die from elephant attacks annually, and  an estimated 10-12,000 people a year are killed by venomous snakes.  Forest officials expect this number to climb even higher in 2014.

It’s not just people who are harmed. All over India  elephant/train accidents are becoming all too common, as the tracks intersect common elephant corridors (see: Growing Pains and Speeding Trains)  Decreased habitat and illegal trade contribute to approximately four leopards killed every week. Tigers are also under the gun, literally. At least 39 tigers were poached in 2013, the highest in seven years.

So what’s to be done?

Clearly lions and leopards do not know the difference between livestock and wild animals-prey is prey. Elephants have been taking the same routes in grazing and everyday activity for decades, without anyone giving them notice that villages and train tracks are now being built in their paths.

By 2024 with the human population expected to hit the 8 billion mark, this is an issue that is not going away.

Humans are the more “intelligent”,  reasoning creatures (supposedly). If we are to prevent extinction of animals, and preserve flora and fauna, it is imperative to act now. Unity between communities and conservation organizations, as well as land and resource management are key. For just as we are the destroyers, we need to be the saviors.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
Mahatma Gandhi

no vacany

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Elbows and Knees

For every act of injustice toward an animal, man is not far behind.

Rhinos, elephants, pangolins, and countless other creatures are on the brink of extinction. China, Vietnam, and Laos are some of the biggest culprits in their destruction; in the name of medicine.

In a previous post –Planet China: a World of Myths and Make-believe there is a phenomenal listing all creatures on China’s medical chopping block. This leaves many to wonder-what next?

The answer: humans. Apparently in a bit of information from an OSCAP (Outraged South Africa CItizens Against Poaching) member, human elbows and knees are now in demand for Asian medicine. There has been no mention as to what ailment this stands to miraculously cure, just an eerie and enormous step backwards for humanity.

mountains of elbows and knees

Carl Warner’s photo: ‘Mountains are made of elbows and knees’.

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What is Overshoot Day?

Worried about our national debt? How about our wildlife debt? We’re living on borrowed time, using resources at an unsustainable rate. It will catch up to us.

This week WWF celebrated Earth Overshoot Day, a.k.a. Ecological Debt Day. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. Celebrating this day marks the exhaustion of nature’s budget for the year.

The Ecological Debt is calculated by dividing the amount of natural resources produced by Earth annually (world biocapacity) by humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources annually (world ecological footprint) multiplied by 365 or (world biocapacity/ world Ecological Footprint) X 365.

The following countries have already exceeded their biological capacity:

china footprint

CHINA’S Ecological Footprint

south africa

SOUTH AFRICA’S Ecological Footprint

united states footprint

The UNITED STATES Ecological Footprint

UK footprint

The UK’S Ecological Footprint

(For other countries ecological footprints go to Footprints by Nation.)

What does this mean? We’re living on borrowed time.

*African elephants could be gone by 2020.

*Rhinos will be gone by 2026.

*Tigers could be extinct in 12 years.

*9 out of 10 predatory fish in our oceans are almost gone.

*Population growth is expected to cause an energy crisis by 2030.

*Half of the world’s population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century.

*Our rainforests may be gone in 100 years.

Overshoot Day is not just about doom and gloom, it’s a wake-up call. Not all damage can be undone, but we can stop do what you canit here. We can’t afford to be infinite consumers anymore. It’s not a luxury to recycle, and it’s not a “hippie” attitude to go green. Our survival depends on it.

There IS hope! Since 2009, countries representing 80% of global emissions have made economy-wide pledges of action. Economically,  global investment in renewable energies  outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year. There are programs like REDD ( ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’) being implemented across the globe.

Overshoot day originally began on December 19. This year it was August 20.  If we don’t stop devouring our resources, Overshoot Day will continue to come earlier and earlier every year. Whatever your cause, your purpose, your “thing” –  it’s imperative we ALL work together to keep our planet, to save ourselves.

Unless

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