Posts Tagged With: rhinoceros

Rhino conservation is going to the dogs

Nairobi stray trained in apu by jeremy goss

This Nariobi stray was trained and utilized in a Kenyan APU. Photo: Jeremy Goss

With the ability to hear at a distance 4x greater and at a higher pitch,
the amazing ability to feel or sense energy,
and with a sense of smell 1,000 to 10,000,000 times more sensitive than a human
dogs are the perfect anti-poaching weapon.

Like the superman of an anti-poaching team, they can work long hours through harsh conditions, picking up the trail of a poacher without hesitation. They can search a car in 3-4 minutes, while it can take an hour to search with humans alone. And they are relentless to reach their goal.

Utilized everywhere from  Kruger National Park, the Congo, Kenya, and Zambia; they are trained to track poachers, to locate ivory and horn, and even to repel from helicopters.

dog propeling from copter by paramount group

K9 Conservation Training practicing repelling with ranger and his canine companion. Photo: Paramount Group

The most frequently used breeds are Bloodhounds, Weimaraner , Malinois, and Antaloian Shepherds. Dog selection is based partially on specific working conditions and most importantly on personality and demeanor.

According to Megan Parker, from Working Dogs Conservation in Montana, “bad” dogs don’t make great pets, but their personalities are perfect for conservation work.

The perfect example of this comes from a “bad” dog named Ruger. Found in an animal shelter and highly “unadoptable”, he has successfully been trained in anti-poaching work. The first anti-poaching canine in Zambia, Ruger has put away 150 poachers to date. And all this work for what? A reward of a game of tug-o-war with his favorite chew toy.

shelter dog helps rangers

Ruger with the Delta Team in Zambia. Photo:unknown.

With all the perks of working with dogs, perhaps Damien Bell, director of Big Life Tanzania, sums it up best.

“Apart from their incredible tracking abilities, dogs are wonderful to work with because they don’t have any political agenda—they can’t be compromised. “

 

 

 

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Hunting Outfitters Involved in Poaching

From Down the Rabbit Hole by Oxpeckers 2013:

Rogue South African trophy hunters are directly involved in ‘a mad scramble’ to poach rhinos and get their horns out of the Kruger National Park, according to reliable intelligence sources. The horns are sold illegally, which is facilitated by layers of corruption among customs officials and Mozambique’s politicians. By Fiona Macleod & Estacio Valoi

Documents in the possession of Oxpeckers show the errant trophy hunters are supplying Mozambican poachers with ammunition and helping them to sell the horns illegally. They manage to avoid apprehension by bribing local officials and courting influence with Mozambican politicians.

Oxpeckers 1

The southern border of the Kruger National Park. Rangers arrested eight poaching suspects along the Crocodile river in August 2015

 

The hunters run safari outfits along the south-eastern border of the Kruger, and they gain access to the park through gaps in the fence between the two countries. They cannot be named owing to the seriousness of the trafficking allegations against them.

They operate in the vicinity of Corumana dam and the former Magud headquarters of Mozambique’s Renamo movement. Corumana dam is a popular destination among birders and fishers, and is being expanded to supply water to Maputo about 30km away.

“During the day Corumana is serene, but at night you hear the traffic of boats with engines plying their illegal trade. There is a mad scramble to get as many rhino horns out of the Kruger Park as possible,” said a fisherman who visited the area recently.

Independent intelligence sources have been monitoring the hunting operators since 2011. They say they have passed their information on to anti-poaching authorities in South Africa, but have received no feedback on whether it has been followed up.

Confidential documents reveal that the kingpin is a safari outfitter with a hunting concession close to Corumana dam. He regularly hunts wildlife without permits, according to intelligence, and smuggles animal trophies and rhino horns in a hidden compartment of his vehicle.

The documents implicate him directly in the poaching of rhinos in southern Kruger and the smuggling of their horns to Maputo and South Africa. He is also accused of bribing the local police chief to drop charges against poachers working with him.

Other hunters fingered in the investigation since 2011 include a safari outfit previously caught luring lions out of the Kruger for “canned” hunts, and another outfit previously implicated in ivory smuggling in Namibia. The network has formed strategic alliances with politicians and prominent business in Mozambique for protection, according to the intelligence.

 

 

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Save our moms

 

A mother’s love knows no bounds,
it matters not the species.

ffr mom n babe Kruger

Rhino babies stay with mom for 2-3 years. They rely on her for sustenance, guidance and protection. Help us keep moms safe from poachers! Please support our conservation projects and DONATE.

 

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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Successes in the Poaching War?

Kenya

Graph 1 Kenya

Kenya has been successfully slowing the rate of poaching over the last 2 years. Government is motivated and serious; in 2013 enacting the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, helping to strengthen the judicial system.

Although there is still work to be done, the overall numbers are promising. Elephant poaching is down 80%, and rhino poaching down 90%.

South Africa

Graph 3 South Africa

South Africa’s poaching rate has seen a slight decrease in reported numbers for the first time since 2008; yet remains dangerously high. Home to 80% of the world’s remaining rhinos, Kruger National Park sees the most poachings. Yet incidents outside the Park are on the rise, with poachers attacking smaller, more vulnerable private owners.

White rhinos @Kruger National Park

White rhinos @Kruger National Park

India

Graph 2 India

In 2015, there were 17 reported poaching in Kaziranga National Park; the largest of  four wildlife parks and sanctuaries in Assam, India; home to 90% of the remaining Greater one-horned rhinos.

Poaching seems to fluctuate here. One of the main triggers of higher poaching directly correlates with encroachers around the Kaziranga National Park. The more widespread the number, the higher the poachings.

Nepal
Graph 4 Nepal

                                The red is poaching deaths, the green is natural mortality.

2015 marked the third year of Zero poaching in Nepal (2011 and 2013 were the other two)

With 10 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves and 6 conservation areas, Nepal is setting the standard for conservation efforts worldwide. The government is committed to conserving it’s wildlife. With emphasis on community involvement, Nepal has entrusted about one third of it’s forests to the people. With local “policing” of the land and animals, not only has poaching stopped, there has been a reduction of poverty as well.

The absence of poaching has led to a 21% increase in the species of the greater one-horned rhinos.

greater one horn and baby assam forest

Greater one-horn (or Indian) rhinos @Kaziranga National Park

Graphs from: Poachingfacts

 

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Unusual Rhino Encounter in Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya: Guests were in for a rare treat on safari. They happened upon this group of rhinos. The unusual part? It was a black rhino mom and calf meeting up peacefully with a white rhino mom and calf.

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 4

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 1

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 3

white and black meet at lewa april 2016 2

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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

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China and Africa’s dirty little secret

In 2011, TIME magazine reported China had plans to establish a breeding colony of black and white rhinos, with the sole intention of harvesting their horn.

Their investigation found that a Chinese arms company – the Hawk Group –  had imported 60 rhino from South Africa to a park called Africa View in the Hainan Province of China. (This was a year AFTER China assured CITES they had no intention of farming rhinos.)

rhino farm aljazeera

         Rhino farm in China, photo-Al Jazeera

Previously, in 2009, a TRAFFIC report showed that South Africa and Zimbabwe had exported 141 live Rhinoceros to China over the previous nine years.

The “park” Africa View was touted as an African safari themed park. However, when a reporter visited in 2008 he found “No animals were in evidence, save 60 or so rhinos living in rows of concrete pens.”(which he photographed)

china rhino farm location

    The Sanya rhino farm location. photo: the Hub

The Sanya City Center is one of the prime farm locations. This area is also known to farm sea horses, bears, tigers, and deer.

rhino long horn by wwf

There is actually a patent pending for a rhino horn scraping device to utilize on the “farms”. photo: WWF

But they are not alone, as the Hangzhou Wild Animal World in eastern China,  has stated they have branched into pharmaceuticals and are involved in the manufacturing of traditional medicines. (the Hub)

It is this-the farming of keratin, essentially the same as “farming” humans for their fingernails, which truly makes a logical, educated person shake their heads and wonder what the world has come to.

 

 

 

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Insurance Policy for Rhinos

“Not on my watch” was the phrase South African Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa used in reference to the possibility of rhinos going extinct in the country. The Minister, who’s idea of saving them is to propose legal trade in rhino horn, has been highly criticized for the governments handling of poaching.

So, the slaughter continues. Over 230 killed just three months into the year, according to OSCAP (Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching).

western black by nat geo

The western black rhino was declared extinct in 2006. photo: National Geographic

Although rangers and anti-poaching strategies continue to keep rhinos alive, there’s still the nagging “What if…”

After all, only a handful of Javan Rhinos are left with virtually no chance at a comeback,  there are only 3 Northern Whites on the planet and the Western white rhino has vanished.

Living on the edge of extinction in South Africa, so what if we MOVE them; somewhere “safer”?

A recent initiative is doing just that. The Australian Rhino Project is flying 20 rhinos a year (a total of 80) from South Africa to a zoo in the southern part of the Outback.

monarto zoo 2 rhinos

Southern White Rhinos at the Monarto Zoo in Australia, an open area zoo with 10 sq km of space. Photo: Monarto Zoo

The real estate agent who has proposed the project (at a cost of $75,000 per rhino), believes “Australia is one of the safest places on the planet to start this breeding herd, with the eventual intention that they would be repatriated to Africa when those [poaching] issues are sorted out.”

What seemed a foolhardy endeavor three years ago, is now on the verge of reality. It remains to be seen if the dreams of safekeeping and breeding will come to fruition, but with the rate of rhino death greater than the number born, perhaps it’s not so far-fetched after all.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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