Posts Tagged With: Endangered species

Happy Mothers Day

Remembering the ones who have lost their mothers…

ntombi after

Ntombi

Celebrating the mothers yet to be…

thandi after

Thandi

Praying for the safety and well-being of all the rest…

Give a shit about rhinos pic

A mother’s love and protection is the same for any species.

black rhino mom and baby

 

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

Ol Pejeta Conservancy: a Special Place for Rhino

What’s special about Ol Pejeta?

Besides the fact they are East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary, they are also home to the only 4 remaining northern white rhinos in the world.

four northerns 2

The remaining Northern White Rhinos are under constant armed guards.

Covering more than 350 square kilometres in Kenya, Ol Pejeta is home to many animals. The conservancy plays a vital role in the conservation of a number of other endangered species, including: Grevy’s zebra, lions, cheetahs, leopards, African hunting dogs, and elephants, as well.

Through Helping Rhinos and Fight for Rhinos, your donations will help maintain a safe and natural habitat for the rhinos of Ol Pejeta.

By working together we can stop rhino poaching and make sure that we save the rhino for future generations to enjoy.

Please go to the DONATE button on the left of the page or see banking details in How We Help at the top of the page. Every little bit is helpful.

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Never Give Up

Never give up on rhinos

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The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

One of the proposed “solutions” to saving the rhino is to farm them. Living their days like cattle; grazing and breeding-their horns’ harvested to pacify the demand, and turn a profit for the farmer.

Ranchers in South Africa have taken up rhino farming, and even China is doing this, with rhinos originally purchased in South Africa (see: Old McChina Had a Farm)

rhinos farmed

Rhino Farm in Malelane, SA

Millionaire, John Hume is a private rhino owner/breeder in South Africa,  who strongly advocates for legalizing trade. His private game ranch, started in 1992, has approximately 1000 rhinos, all of whom have been dehorned.

Hume states:

 “If I were to sell you a rhino horn harvested from a live and unharmed rhino we would both go to jail as there is no legal way to change ownership of the rhino horn.  But, within 24 hours, I could get a government permit for you to kill one of my rhinos and take the horn.

So we can get the government’s blessing to kill the rhino and take the horn but we’d go to jail if we safely harvested the rhino horn.

…we need to accept that conservation will only be successful when people stand to gain from it on socio-economic levels. ” (Job Shadow)

But in the last 2 months, Hume has lost 35 rhinos to disease. Other farms are reporting the same.

 Some ecologists maintain the high rainfall in the area and the unnatural environment the rhinos are in has facilitated the development of the  Clostridial bacteria. The high numbers of rhinos increases the risk and it may be possible that the carrying capacity of the present environment has been exceeded. (Beeld SA)   

john hume rhinos

“We need to encourage everyone in the country to breed rhino and the only way to do that is to legalise the trade.”-J. Humes

Farming Pitfalls

Aside from disease, the costs of farming (veterinary care, inoculations, food, security, ranch hands) are another factor. If this were an option, is it realistic to think the majority of ranch owners could keep up with the expense?

Along with being a rhino farmer, there comes doubt and suspicion. On a privatized ranch, who is monitoring the animals’ well being and maybe more importantly, their deaths? Theoretically, a few could pass away from “disease” just as easily as be sold to the highest bidder to be shot and the horn taken.

Rhino are NOT cattle. They are not herd animals, choosing a rather solitary life, with the exception of babies who stay with their moms for the first 2 years. Their home “ranges” vary greatly. So while 80 rhinos are packed into 1000 acre fields (.02 sq mi per rhino)  in Humes farm, in the wild they roam from 1.0-39.0 sq mi. Quite a significant difference.

Regardless of Mr. Humes and other rhino farmers’ intentions, this latest incidence of death is yet another sign that nature cannot be industrialized without consequence.

wild rhino

“All good things are wild and free”-Henry David Thoreau

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Name Game: Who’s Who in the Poaching War

The war on poaching is complex and detailed. For those of you who are newer to the poaching crisis, here is a brief list of key players who are mentioned regularly.

jacob zuma

President Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma-South African president

Not known for taking an active role in the with the people, let alone the poaching crisis,  Zuma is a controversial president.  He has spent 23 million taxpayer money on expansion of his own private residence.

His mention of poachers in his Feb address was “Our law enforcement agencies are  working hard to arrest this scourge. We have reached agreements with China, Vietnam, Kenya, Mozambique and other countries to work together to stop this crime. We thank the business community and all South Africans who participate in the campaign to save rhino.”

edna molewa

Edna Molewa

 

Edna Molewa – South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs

Molewa was appointed by President Zuma in 2010. She represents the country on environmental affairs, including the issue of poaching. As an extension of Zuma’s government, her statements and efforts are at times questionable as well.

Molewa’s comment on legal trade- “Experts are working on structure to look at the stockpiles that we have and not bennefitting anybody, yet people are killing rhino for these horns that we have elsewhere. It’s a proposal moving towards possible trade.”

general jooste

General Jooste

 

 Johan Jooste – Commanding Officer of Special Projects at SANParks

Jooste was introduced to head up anti-poaching efforts in Kruger in 2012. As a retired major-general, he has likened the poaching crisis to an “insurgency war”. He has implemented strategies including drone use, intelligence gathering and troop placement, being so bold as to state he will lessen poaching by 20%.

Jooste stated “We want ultimately to have more successes outside the park than in. Once poachers are inside the park, it’s too late… The ultimate victory of this war won’t be determined in the bush, but in the boardroom, in the courtroom. 

 

CITES

 

 CITES – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora

CITES is an international agreement between governments that was created as a measure to protect endangered wildlife. It is voluntary, and does not supersede a countries own laws.

The countries who are part of the group meet once every 3 years to discuss the current situation for any given fauna or flora listed. Each species listed is given a rating of Appendix I , Appendix II or Appendix III depending on the need.

You may recognize this from one of the petitions circulating to ask CITES not to lift the ban on rhino horn trade.

SANParks

 

SANParks – South African National Parks

SANParks manages a group of parks in SA,  including Kruger National Park, which is the largest and oldest. They have been in existence for 110 years, trying to balance conservation and tourism.

Of course, Kruger is also the epicenter of the poaching war. With the majority of the world’s surviving rhino, they too are the area with the majority of the poaching incidents.

 

KWS

 

KWS – Kenya Wildlife Service

KWS was established in 1990 to conserve and manage Kenya’s wildlife. They manage the majority of parks and reserves in Kenya, with the Masai Mara being the one exception. They operate in differing branches of community, security (i.e. rangers) and veterinary.

They run several programs to help in conservation, including elephant and rhino projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Earth Day: Respect our Home

Earth Day 2

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What is the MOU, and Does it Matter?

Recently a long-awaited MOU (memorandum of understanding) between South Africa and Mozambique was finalized. The big deal? This should affect rhino poaching.

A MOU is a signed formal agreement between two or more countries on how to handle a shared issue. In this case, the issue of poaching, or as formally stated “conservation and management” in Kruger Park.

Mozambique has been lax in anti-poaching laws and management, and of course many of the guilty parties in poaching the rhino in kruger map 1Kruger come from…yes – Mozambique. The border between the two countries is long and porous, with no official ability of “hot pursuit” allowed from South Africa rangers. This means a would-be poacher from MOZ can sneak into SA, kill a rhino, take off with the horn and even if chased, the poacher is safe once across the border.

In fact, there are settlements along the border in Mozambique referred to as “Poachers Alley”. They thrive on the money brought in from illegal poaching, and serve as an obvious place for buyers of horn to gain willing participants.

The initial discussion of a MOU was back in June of 2013. As with anything political, it’s been dragged out and re-negotiated. The final product, signed April 17th,  is a display of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries.

The MOU main areas of cooperation are:

1.Biodiversity management, conservation and protection;
2.Promotion of biodiversity sustainable use as an integral part of conservation
3.Compliance with CITES and other relevant conventions and protocols
4. Biodiversity law enforcement;
5.Compliance with domestic frameworks and regional conventions and protocols;
6.Strengthen cooperation on the above through information exchange, intelligence, best practice and search.
7.Joint technology innovation, development and enhancement;
8.Wildlife trade, protected area management, community development through biodiversity economy and sustainable livelihoods;
9.Education, awareness and capacity building in biodiversity management, conservation, protection and law enforcement

soldier walking fence border

The fence along the MOZ and SA border was taken down to allow more animals to roam, yet since poaching has increased, it may be re-built.

In addition, the fence will be re-erected along the border and there will be a well-trained and armed anti-poaching unit for joint collaboration deployed. South Africa has committed R24.9 million from the R252 million Swedish and Dutch Postcode Lottery donation secured by the Peace Parks Foundation to Mozambique to assist with these anti-poaching efforts.

In 2013, 668 rhinos were killed (although the real number could be even higher). With no sign of slowing,  a total of 294 rhinos have been killed this year, with at least 166 of them in Kruger National Park.

Will the MOU have any real, tangible effect?

Politics are too slow to keep up with the swift demise poaching is enacting on the rhino. It’s also more than a bit worrying that the country initiating the MOU to “curb poaching”, is the same one that wants to “legalize” horn trade. Perhaps the part of the MOU that’s Not on paper isn’t to stop poaching at all, but just slow it down a bit.  Afterall, how DOES that work?

Dear Mozambique,
Please stop poaching our rhino. At least leave us a few. We’re not sure we necessarily want to SAVE them. But we do want to turn as much profit as we possibly can by enacting a legal trade.  Once this happens, feel free to BUY as much horn as you’d like.

Your friends in SA

It’s difficult not to feel a bit skeptical and wary considering the present situation. Maybe we should count our lucky stars and be glad this happened at all. Just the fact these two countries are sitting down to discuss the crisis is worth something. Let’s hope its worth more than we think.

rhino sunset again

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

 

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

Chinese RX: Pangolin Scales

While rhinos, elephants and tigers are facing the perils of poaching and habitat destruction, there is a lesser known animal facing the same perils-the Pangolin.

tree pangolin

A tree pangolin.

Pangolins are little armoured ant-eaters. There are eight species of the solitary, burrowing mammals. It is estimated that one adult pangolin can consume more than 70 million insects annually, making them an integral role in their ecosystem: pest control.

indian pangolin

Rolling into a ball to protect themselves, Pangolin scales are tough enough to withstand hungry lions.

These unassuming creatures are poached for their scales and their blood, which the Chinese believe have healing powers. Their “meat”, particularly the fetus is also a popular delicacy. With demand from Asian countries soaring, they are the most frequently seized animal in trafficking busts. According to TRAFFIC, there were at least at least 218,100 pangolins seized between 2000 and 2012.

via CNN

via CNN

The decline in pangolin populations and the difficulty in obtaining them for poachers, has led to a ludicrous demand and price on their lives. Just as with the rhino, the phenomenal money-making potential has made this another tempting business for organized crime syndicates.

The Pangolin is nocturnal and highly secretive, making them almost impossible for scientists to study. It is unknown how long they live in the wild, or how many are even left. Sadly, they could become extinct before we even know more about them.

For more on the Pangolin see: Seven Ways to Help Save the Pangolin

**Please sign and share: Tell Disney to Help the Pangolins by featuring them in an animated movie

by: Victoria Maderna

by: Victoria Maderna

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Following Your Heart Down a Bumpy Road

Life is nothing if not unpredictable. Two years ago, I was dreaming of Africa and mourning the loss of rhinos to poaching. It broke my heart endlessly to the point I would lay awake in bed thinking of the pain and injustice of it all.

This pain grew into rage, and this spark turned me onto the road of Fight for Rhinos. I decided in order to sleep at night, to look myself in the mirror, I could not ignore the passion within me to “do something”.

DSCF2402

Black rhino @ Ol’Pejeta Conservancy

What began as a blog to get things off my chest and raise some awareness, has turned into the start of a non-profit. The one thing I wholly believe a successful non-profit should be, is transparent. It’s hard, if not impossible to know who’s legitimate,  with not only your money, but your trust. So in the spirit of transparency, here is where Fight for Rhinos stands…

In October I was fortunate enough to travel to Kenya. I saw firsthand the beauty, harshness and magic of its wildlife, and met fantastic people. Visiting with Ol’Pejeta and seeing my first rhino in the bush was an experience I will never forget. This brought it all home to me, empowering me and solidifying my determination.

Tisha Maasai

Maasai in Amboseli

We have joined forces with the UK-based, Helping Rhinos. The founder, Simon Jones, and I share many beliefs. Most importantly: we believe unity is the best way to go. The more all of us working together, the easier and quicker we can help our rhinos. We are always open to new groups, and ideas! We also stand firm on our belief of No-trade in rhino horn.

In addition to collaborating with HR, Fight for Rhinos is incorporated as an official business in the US. We have filed the dreaded IRS paperwork, along with the fees to be recognized as a non-profit and therefore be tax-deductible, giving business’ the opportunity to donate, and write it off. VERY KEY in obtaining most funding.

Now we play the waiting game. Within 3-6 months, we will have the “magic number” that allows the corporations to “write it off”.

On a personal note, we have just sold our home in the US. (another dreaded paperwork, and waiting game). We will be downsizing, saving to return to Kenya, and possibly South Africa as well. Hoping to get my “hands dirty” and get down to business on more intense levels, like our “big brother” organization Helping Rhinos has done.

Funny-I thought once I’d gone to Africa, my lifelong dream would be fulfilled. But it’s only just beginning.

Thank you for following. Your presence and comments keep me going, knowing there are others invested in this war who want our rhinos to win! If you have questions or suggestions, I would love to hear from you! Email me at fightforrhinos@gmail.com.

And as always, if you are able to help in any way, please donate.

Help Us to Help Them

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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