Posts Tagged With: Extinction

Devils in the Details

There are certain times our voices matter immensely. This is one.  Please take a few minutes to send an email to: mboshoff@environment.gov.za

Comments MUST be subitted by MARCH 10th!help-me

Edna Molewa, South Africa DEA, has announced her intentions of allowing legal trade of rhino horn. As days go by, more dirty details arise, exposing the corruption at the heart of this political fiasco. There seemingly will be NO restriction on the amount of horn able to be traded!

Latest dirty laundry of horn trade: Bombshell hidden in draft rhino regulations 

“The concern of the international community is that while rhino horn prices have dropped by 50% in the last few years in Vietnam due to massive public education efforts, this will confuse the message, greatly expand the consumer base and facilitate laundering, making poaching even worse. Exactly what happened when ivory trade was re-opened in China.” -Peter Knights, WildAid

If you’re reading this, please take a couple of minutes to send an email! (Keep them simple, factual and please no profanity or too much emotion.)

 

For details: Drafted regulations on proposed horn trade

 

Categories: Making a Difference | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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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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

 

 

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World Rhino Day 2016

When is World Rhino Day?

September 22nd

What’s the point of World Rhino Day?

Recognizing and appreciating rhinos, particularly through raising awareness to the imminent danger they face. The poaching crisis and illegal wildlife trade very possibly could mean the end of their species.

What can you do to help ensure a future for rhinos?

*Spread the word that rhinos are in danger! Poaching is a serious issue that is pushing rhinos toward extinction. Use #WorldRhinoDay to talk about the poaching crisis.
*Support rhino conservation through donations.

Share the following:

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Just one Rhino

Every rhino counts.

More than just words, it’s fact.

Female rhinos reach sexual maturity at 3-6 years of age. This means it’s critical to keep them protected until they are able to effectively add to the population.

Once they are successfully impregnated, the average gestation period of a rhino is 16 months. When a baby is born, he stays with his mom for a over a year, or until mom is pregnant again.

Female white rhino with calf. Photo: Kruger Park

Female white rhino with calf. Photo: Kruger Park

The lifespan of a wild rhino is approximately 35-40 years.

This leads to the potential of one female rhino birthing up to ten babies in a lifetime under optimal circumstances (i.e no poaching)!!

Thus by saving one rhino, you are potentially saving an integral portion of an entire population.

We need your help in protecting rhinos. Yes, every rhino counts. Every action and every dollar adds up. Please help us help them.

rhino herd

Crash of rhinos somewhere in South Africa. photo: unknown

Please donate via Paypal

 

 

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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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Understanding the “Appendix” for Rhinos

Getting serious about preserving rhinos entails international cooperation. The first step is to set a definitive standard which all countries can and will be responsible for.

rhino charge white

The way to do this is through CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). CITES is an international agreement between participating countries that sets the standard to regulate wildlife imports and exports among them.

The group meets once every 3 years in different countries to discuss varying proposals. This year, in September they will meet in South Africa.

Depending on their level of vulnerability, species are listed in three categories called Appendices.  Appendix I is the most vulnerable (threatened with extinction) and Appendix III is the least vulnerable.

Black rhinos are listed under Appendix I, but white rhinos are listed under Appendix II (for the exclusive purpose of allowing international trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations and hunting trophies).

only one predator United for wildlife

graphic: United for Wildlife

Conservationists are advocating for CITES to upgrade ALL rhinos to Appendix I.

What this will accomplish is to make it illegal to transport rhinos out of the country; ending the trade debate, as well as the majority of trophy hunting of rhinos.

As the rate of poaching continues unabated, it only seems logical to offer them the utmost protection on an international level. Please read and sign the following petition to ask the head of CITES to make this a priority.

this is our fight

 

 

 

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Making Rhinos Count in a World of Indifference

Rampant corruption, low employment and high poverty are the unfortunate circumstances surrounding South Africa, the primary home of Earth’s last rhinos. Add to that a high Asian demand for their horns, and it equates to the perfect storm for their demise.

South Africa has lost approximately 1600 black and white rhinos in 2015 (unconfirmed by the government at this point). With poaching spreading like a plague, the death toll has risen dramatically each year, with this year topping all previous ones.

DEA poach statsIn a world where an animal’s horn is worth more than cocaine or gold, the solution to their survival is not an easy one. The answer is a multi-faceted effort of anti-poaching strategies to combat the “here and now”, legal change to make the consequence more dire than the greed, and education and awareness to secure the future.

For our group here in the United States, we support those “on the ground” making a difference in these areas. As an entity, it takes raising not just dollars, but consciousness to do that. We are the facilitators of change, quietly meandering through social media making the desperate plea for the plight of the rhino, and the effects on the communities surrounding them. Trying to educate a population of people lost in reality television and “selfies” is a daunting obstacle all unto itself. Yet, once we do break through – low and behold people DO care!

But how much will awareness help?

Through our blog we told the story of the “Last Male Standing”, focusing on the desperate and solemn life of Sudan, one of the three very last Northern White Rhinos on the Earth. It was circulated by the Dodo, then CNN and the Washington Post; resulting in much-needed donations to Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya; the home of the Northern Whites, as well as the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa.

As a result, we were also able to successfully raise funding for them for a rhino audit of ALL rhinos on the conservancy, as well as providing half a dozen GPS devices.

Northern whites in sunset tony karumba AFP

Northern White Rhinos at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Photo: Tony Karumba

Since then, there have been funds raised to pour into research to perpetuate the last of their genes. Looking ahead, some Southern White Rhinos were sent from South Africa to California where scientists hope to successfully implant Northern White Rhinos embryos into their Southern counterparts.

Another case where “awareness” played an integral role is that of Cecil the lion. The wave of concern and outrage over the lion’s shady demise prompted the world to take notice, in fact it was the top most searched topic on the internet in all of 2015.

The public outcry created pressure on politicians and corporations that was impossible to ignore. The results?

  • France has banned lion trophy imports and Britain will do so in 2017   
  • 40 airlines have taken a stand to stop the transport of animal trophies.
  • In November, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Global Anti-Poaching Act to enhance and support protection to combat wildlife trafficking.
  • Five months after his death, the U.S. has finally listed lions on the Endangered Species list, protecting them and making it more difficult to bring lion trophies back to the country.
cecil 2010

                                Cecil in 2010

The ripple effect is still being felt. There have been petitions to shipping giants FedEx and UPS to stop the transport of wildlife trophies. The hometown of the hunter who killed Cecil, even run ads on the sides of their buses in memory of the lion.

Conservation groups saw a welcomed increase in donations to their projects for endangered big cats. Even groups like ours saw a surge of interest and activity, which reflects not just concern in the trophy hunting controversy or big cats, but in wildlife preservation in general.

How far will it go, how long will Cecil’s memory last? Are people still following the story and life of Sudan? And when is reality too much “doom and gloom” for the world to handle?

We exist in a time when evidence points toward the “sixth mass extinction” on Earth. With 50% of all our wildlife wiped out in the last forty years, and currently 150-200 species of plants and animals going extinct EVERY day, we are facing the largest decimation of species since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. So it seems impossible to ever feel like we’re doing enough, let alone too much.


 

 

In September of 2015, our organization, Fight for Rhinos, made the rounds from Hoedspruit in the northeastern part of South Africa to Kruger National Park in the east, and down to the south on the Eastern Cape. Throughout our time spent with field guides, trackers, veterinary staff, reserve managers, anti-poaching units, and ecologists we left no stone unturned in our quest for answers from those with firsthand experience of the poaching crisis; always searching for that “holy grail” solution.

SA trip map

Our recent journey through South Africa.

We interviewed and spoke casually with taxi drivers, airport employees, and housekeeping staff to gain better understanding on the feelings and attitude of poaching within their country.

The conclusion? They’re burnt out. With a giant ad in the Johannesburg airport, anti-poaching signs on fences, and almost daily mentions of poaching incidents in the news; people are becoming desensitized to it all.

In the midst of a corrupt government, racial and social tensions, and with an unemployment rate at a staggering 26%; the country seems to be tapped out of sympathy for its dwindling pachyderms.

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Mom and baby white rhinos grazing in Kruger National Park. photo: Fight for Rhinos

So being a conservationist, trying to save a species from the brink of extinction in 2016, suddenly one is faced with more than just biology and ecology as the stumbling blocks. Politics, poverty, economics and apathy are daunting obstacles in this race against time.

Can we save South Africa from their “conservation fatigue”? Does what the rest of us do in our own corners of the world have effect on them? Applying public pressure can and does effect change. It strengthens laws and perhaps most importantly, changes attitudes. Only time will tell if it’s all fast enough to have the necessary impact on our planet’s wildlife.

Either way, we’re left with no choice but to try. After all, who among us is willing to live with that regret if we don’t?

This article was posted in the recent online magazine Live Encounters

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Only 3 rhinos left?!

Here’s a little clarity with the  “last white rhinos”…

There are five species of rhinos:

  • Javan
  • Sumatran
  • Greater one-horn (or Indian)
  • Black
  • White

Within the white rhinos species, there are two subspecies: the Northern whites and the Southern whites.

Southern white rhinos at the San Diego Zoo

There are no more than 20,000 SOUTHERN white rhinos left in Africa. However, poaching has taken a quicker toll on the NORTHERN whites. With the recent passing of Nola, the northern white rhino at the San Diego Zoo, there are now only 3 Northern white rhinos left on the planet.

The remaining three are under constant guard at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

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Northern white rhino under guard at OPC

LAST DITCH EFFORT FOR THE SPECIES

A few weeks ago, 6 southern white rhinos were flown from Africa to San Diego, California as part of an attempt to re-populate the northern white rhinos.

The plan involves implanting an embryo of a northern white rhino into a southern white. Researchers estimate it could take 10-15 years for the project to bear a successful birth.

We proudly support Ol Pejeta Conservancy and their protection of not just the remaining Northern white rhinos, but as part of one of the most successful black rhino sanctuaries in east Africa.

Please consider purchasing an ornament, a piece of art, making a donation or remember us when using Amazon smile. 100% of profits benefit Ol Pejeta, the Black Mambas, or one of our individual conservation campaigns.

 

 

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Legal Trade: Is it worth the gamble?

It seems time to address the idea of legal horn trade again.  We understand the desire to try almost anything to save our rhinos. But it is our opinion that entertaining legal trade is not one of them.  There are far more reasons why legalizing rhino horn is a BAD idea.

#1 The number of rhinos left does NOT support the extreme demand for horn.

#2 We KNOW by flooding the market with something, it does not alleviate the demand, but on the contrary, increases it. Case and point-bears and tigers. China’s “farming” of them, has only expanded the market, in addition to leaving the animals in horrible health, with shortened lives (see The Legal Trade Myths: Debunked by Annamiticus)

#3 Members of CITES would need to approve the measure, which they have all spoken up on with a definite NO, including China.

not a chance

#4  Not all animals are easily farmed. Rhinos succumb to conditions in close quarters with one another, in which they are unaffected by in the wild. In addition, it is a costly endeavor, both for veterinary and security costs. Most individuals would not even be able to achieve this. (see: The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions)

#5 Certain Asian communities ONLY want wild rhino horn. The mindset is that it is more valued because it is harder to come by. Therefore farmed horn will be meaningless to them.

#6 Corruption is rampant not only in South Africa, but in so much having to do with rhino horn. IF trade were legalized, WHO is trusted to police the system? Even during the time ivory was allowed legally in a one-off sale, there was corruption and selling of illegal ivory. (see AWF Ivory)

#7 Asian attitudes on horn are changing, more awareness is taking hold. By making horn legal for a short time then pulling it back off the market, it stands to confuse consumers, re-fuel current demand, as well as possibly reaching a larger market because of the legality.

Hanoi airport

One-off sales have not worked before, there is no evidence to show it would work now. In fact, the opposite is true. If we are serious about stopping poaching, we must stop the demand. It must be loud, clear and forceful that trade and demand are NOT options.

At the very least the idea of legal trade is an enormous risk. It is an action where there is no turning back, and if the worst case scenarios are realized, the rhinos would be gone forever.

rhino crash running

 

 

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