Posts Tagged With: endangered
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) 2008-2020 vision states
*they will be contributing to the conservation of wildlife as an integral part of the global ecosystem on which all life depends,
*as well as promoting transparency and wider involvement of civil society in the development of conservation policies and practices
Are they following their vision?
Well, here’s a recap. The animals who reaped ‘benefits’ from increased protection are:
*Pangolins (trade was completely banned, and the most highly trafficked animals in the world were given highest protection status)
*African Gray Parrots (trade was completely outlawed)
*Sharks and Rays (Thirteen species of rays and Thresher and Silky sharks were given highest protection status)
In addition, proposals to grant legal trade in ivory and/or horn in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland were denied.
But the disheartening news was the denial of CITES to grant the highest level of protection to:
An added issue for lions is the trade in captive bred lion parts remains legal. This perpetuates the Asian demand, and serves as an added incentive for South Africa to continue breeding farms. (Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa.)
In theory wild lion parts are not legally traded. Yet, there is no way to tell the difference between a wild lion bone and a captive lion bone. If money is to be made, bones will likely be obtained. Like a fenced in yard with surrounded by only three sides, protection for Africa’s lion is incomplete, and proves worrisome to an even faster decline.
In the end, the negligence to protect one species casts a shadow over the decision to protect others. It also casts doubt on the credibility and intentions of our CITES delegates.
There is no necessity in trading lion parts, wild or captive. To perpetuate a market and feed a false cultural perception is not only ethically questionable, but also sends a mixed message in the overall trade of wildlife products. Why is one species an acceptable “commodity” over another? And if a species becomes “captive bred”, is the door open for that species to be traded as well?
For Appendices ratings, just how low do the numbers have to get for us to act? The Northern White Rhinos are a perfect example of the error in waiting too long. There are 3 left. They were never afforded protection in time. Why isn’t their predicament enough; does history teach us nothing?
(It is important to note that upgrading lions to the Appendix I status would ONLY have affected wild lions, and would not have afforded protection to their captive cousins.)
This must be one of the most brutal fortnights yet in the history of the rhino poaching war, in our province. At least 14 deaths were discovered in various protected areas in as many days. (I can’t go into detail at this time but it’s getting even more savage, as if that’s possible.)
Yesterday honestly rates as one of the lowest points in my life as a wildlife vet, pretty much an emotional breaking point – but it’s not the first time; it’s something that is happening far too often. I don’t think it is possible to explain to somebody who hasn’t experienced this nightmare, what even one death scene does to you. It’s traumatic and haunting, and cannot ever be erased from your mind. I’ve attended over 400!!
-From wildlife vet Dave Cooper
The slaughter is real, the poachers are relentless. In this incident, Dr. Cooper attended a death scene of not just one more rhino, but four!
We need to be just as relentless in our efforts to curb the poaching and protect our rhinos. If you’ve ever thought about helping, there is no better time than now. Please DONATE to support APUs in Kenya and South Africa.
Earlier we requested your help in putting Chloe through her anti-poaching class. Her training is complete! She now helps protect the Kapama area near the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center (HESC) and Kruger National Park.
The HESC current recruits are Bullet and Zee. The duo is the core of the Centre’s program; with Zee successfully done with initial training and Bullet going through puppy training.
The next step will be for them to undergo advanced training. The cost of the course is R20 000 per dog and another R20 000 for the trainer to attend and have her with the dogs at all times. That’s approximately $4,162 usd total.
We are committed to assisting with the successful care and training of the dogs; both for the protection of rhinos and the protection of the rangers. If you are able, please donate via PayPal.
Although white and black rhinos fight, black rhinos are notoriously aggressive, and actually have the highest rate of death among mammals in fights among the same species. 50% of males and 30% of females die from these intra-species fights.
This video is three years old. Ntombi’s not so little anymore, but this bit of footage still serves as my reminder of what we fight so hard for, and as medicine to settle my often broken heart.
Rhinos horns have been coveted as a use in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years.
Over the last few years, rhino horn powder has trended as a status symbol in Vietnam. It is used as a “party drug” for the elite.
Now, rhino horn, along with pangolin scales, tiger bones, and ivory are being kept as collectibles.
China’s social elite is stockpiling the products in anticipation of their extinction. They prefer wild “products” over farm-raised,as they see more worth in them. Wild animals are thought to be more potent as well.
Endangered species have become the new collectible. According to John R Platt, as more collectors have entered the market, killing endangered species has grown increasingly profitable. Ivory wholesale prices, for example, have shot up from $564 per kilogram in 2006 to at least $2,100 today.
Just one rhino horn nets about $100,000. Helmeted Hornbill beak can fetch over $6,000 per kg, and a tiger skin rug is worth $124,000.
Investing in the death of our world’s wildlife is a greedy, unforgivable endeavor. The faster the rich wipe out our animals, the poorer we all become.