Posts Tagged With: endangered

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.

javan-map

 

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.

krakatou-volcano

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.

javan-indonesia-tourism

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

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

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

CITES Recap: the good, the bad and the ugly

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

cites-17

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:

*Elephants 

*Rhinos 

*Lions 

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.)

seizures-of-lion-parts

© Data from UNEP-WCMC

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.

zuma-opening-cites-2016

President Zuma at CITES. South Africa has been accused of “selling out” both elephants in lions in their votes against added protection. Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

 

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?

lion-farm-by-one-green-planet

Currently there are approximately 7,000 lions kept on 200 breeding farms throughout South Africa photo: One Green Planet

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?

northern-white-by-brent-stirton-nat-geo

Only three Northern White Rhinos remain, all living in Kenya at Ol Pejeta Conservancy. photo: Brent Stirton/Nat Geo

(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.)

 

 

 

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

Relentless

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

planting-crosses-for-fallen-rhinos-in-sa

Planting crosses for fallen rhinos in South Africa. So far, there are an estimated 731 of them this year.

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.

black-and-white-mom-and-babe-by-max-waugh

photo: Max Waugh

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Ranger Heroes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Small birds with their Big friends

Some lovely photos from our friend Jo:

 

jo-1

jo-2

jo-3

jo-5

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

Building a Canine APU

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.

bullet-and-zee-2

Bullet and Zee

hesc-dog-training-sept-2016

 

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.

help

Philippa, Lions Den and Dingle Dell; 3 of the rhinos @ the Centre.

 

 

 

 

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

Did you know?

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.

black rhino fight 1

 

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

Because every so often hearts need to be lifted

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.

 

 

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

Endangered Animals: the new “collectible” in China

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.

rhino horn powder afp getty

Woman grind horn into powder. photo: AFP/Getty

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.

tiger bone wine

Tiger wine, made from their bones, is being kept or “aged” with hopes of increased value if they become extinct. photo: unknown

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.

helmeted hornbill by species on the brink

Helmeted hornbills, from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, are so rare, numbers are not quantified. Their beaks worth more than ivory. photo: Asian Species Action Partnership

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Baby rhino gives Sudan new lease on life

The baby southern white rhino was abandoned by mom and found by the Ol Pejeta team when he was only 2 weeks old. Very sick and barely alive, he has made an amazing recovery with the help of caretakers.

Named Ringo, after rhino advocate Ringo Starr, he has been introduced to Sudan, the last male northern white rhino on the planet. The two make quite the pair. Click below to watch more:

ringo rhino opc

 Photo By: Camilla Le May Photography

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

Burn baby burn

I spoke to Chinese visitors who were astounded to see these mountains of ivory. After explaining where the tusks come from and the burn they agreed to pose with a tusk. It’s raw form is not beautiful or shiny; it is smelly, dirty and has hack marks on it. I explained why. At first she had no words. she just stared at the stacks. Then she called her friend and said, “I will tell Chinese people not to buy ivory”.

This was the experience of Paula Kahumbu, conservationist and CEO of Wildlife Direct, discussing Kenya’s upcoming ivory burn.

10000 dead elephants keny burn

The largest burn in history: 106 tonnes of ivory, 10,000 dead elephants (or to put in in perspective a 30 mile train of elephants trunk to tail) will be destroyed April 30th in Kenya

More than a “display”, the burn will transpire after a much larger event, the Giant’s Club Summit. African leaders, corporate leaders, members of the UN, USFWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service), and conservationists are among some of the approximate 200 invitees.

This event demonstrates not only the commitment of the Kenyan government to protecting its wildlife, but also gives hope and encouragement to neighboring countries, and the world.

Kahumbu believes Kenya has “turned the corner” in its ongoing struggle with poaching. Elephant poaching has decreased by a whopping 80%, and rhino poaching by 90% in the country. Although the battle is far from over, conservationists are finally beginning to even the playing field.

THIS

Elephant herd in Amboseli. photo: FFR

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.