Posts Tagged With: savanna

There is a little lion in all of us

cat lion gif

For all who see the beauty in lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes…there is a little wild magic in our hearts…we are brothers and sisters; our hearts will always beat to an African drum. -TW

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

World Ranger Day – THANK YOU

world ranger day

The depth of our gratitude is endless, as these people put it all on the line, affording the rest of us more time to rack our brains to come up with a solution. We are indebted to them all for their perseverance and very existence, as without them we would never fully possess our sanity, let alone be able to sleep. To know they are there, on guard, watching, listening; it is a comfort like no other.

Thank you for your hearts, your strength. KNOW we stand beside you during the patrols, in the silence of the night, in the heat of the forest, during times of fear, fatigue, and despair. You are each an inspiration, a hero.

Thank you for everything you do. You are a blessing to the animals. May God keep you safe. -Gerri

Thank you to all the wonderful Rangers that perform such a dedicated job to help save the rhinos from poachers! -Jo Wiest

Thank you rangers! -Lisa Chien Hunkler

The entire Fabrily Team would like to extend our gratitude to the brave Rangers who risk their lives daily to protect our planet’s precious wildlife. Thanks to your efforts rhinos, elephants, lions and many more species are being saved from extinction. Please continue this important work and know that you’ve got our appreciation and support!  ~ Fabrily Team, UK

I visited South Africa in August 2014 and it changed me forever.  I was incredibly moved by the amazing creatures who live in the protected areas.  I became overwhelmed by the amount of nature we have lost on this planet.  And it saddened me greatly.  It still does. I don’t know how to thank you adequately for working to protect what’s left.  I know you put your lives on the line every day to protect animals from harm.  Please know that although I’ve never met you, I think of you all often, and I wish you well. I live in the state of Kentucky, in the USA.  From my small town I’m working to raise money for night vision equipment for rangers.  My group, the Try Anything Rhino Project, has already purchased one piece of equipment that has arrived in South Africa in the last week or two.  I’m now working to raise funds to buy more. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for what you do.  You are all heroes.  I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know!! -Marla Knight-Dutille

 Please give our heartfelt thanks to all he Ranger Heroes out there! Wildlife Guardians, protectors of our precious wildlife, the world is forever in your debt. You truly are Guardian Angels for Wildlife -Thank you so much from Rebecca Bush & Family, UK
rangers 1
Thank you from the depths of my heart. The Indian rhino tattoo on my ankle is a reminder of these magnificent creatures who deserve the right to be free from humans. -Arden Zalman
Where do we begin? Because of YOU these lives carry on… THANK YOU for your dedication!!!! -Carla Viljoen
Thank You Rangers for your dedication and love of Animals. -Norma Crichton
We will never meet or talk, but you are in my mind and heart.  You have my admiration, respect, and gratitude.
I do what I can in the ways that I can, but YOU are the everyday living presence that does the work that will save so much in our world.Thank you, thank you.  I send good thoughts for your safety, health, strength, and peace. Catherine;Santa Rosa, California, USA
A huge thank you for all that you do to protect the vulnerable and magnificent creatures that share this world with us. You are true heroes-Sara Wickenden
Thank you Rangers for your brave efforts to protect wildlife.-Jean du Ross
We need companionate like you to protect these beautiful creatures.  May God Bless and protect you and the animals you care for. Thank you for your dedication and service-Dan Seme
You are the true protectors of our future.you might not know this but your efforts and true love you have for our animals are what keeps the planet alive.thank you from the bottom of my heart.you are true heros -Brendon Hoy
ranger with gorilla
Hello all your wildlife rangers, we want to say a big “THANK YOU” to you all for helping animals! You all are our HEROES!!! –Susanna Sikorski and Jens Strohkirch from Germany

TO ALL OF YOU WHO DO THIS HARD WORK- THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! I read about as much as I can about your efforts, which are saving so many animals lives—at the same time, you have to deal with criminals who don’t care about anything but greed—so I just say a huge THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS TO HELP KEEP ALLTHE MAGNIFICENT CREATURES ALIVE—I PERSONALLY AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS—Louise Smith

Rangers, I have the privilege of witnessing daily on WildEarth’s wildsafarilive.com, the love and care guides & rangers have for your wildlife.  I am blessed that I am able to witness ellies, lions, leopards, etc. thanks to the hard work and dedication you all put into your daily lives.  If it wasn’t for you, WE would have nothing to see and admire.  🙂 Keep up  the great work so WE can continue to be in awe.  WE are rooting for you, and praying for your safety and success.  Words cannot express enough, but I can say THANK YOU!Blessings, Vicky Sanders, New Mexico USA

To all the Rangers in the World, You’re true guardians of the Earth and the vital eco-systems we need to desperately protect. I’m heart broken for the tragedy in your work but we must all fight for your triumphs. -Thank you, Paula

KWS rangers line up

 

It is not money, goodwill or millions of people who care so much about wildlife, that actually saves it. That all helps, tremendously; but it is the rangers who actually save our animals. I have never had so much respect for anyone. Thank you! -Jenna Grant

Thank you for all that you do to protect our most precious and endangered wildlife. Thank you for doing your best to keep them safe and sound. You are the extraordinary and elite. I wish you many blessings and thanks. -Love Always, Susan
Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to help saving these animals. We all owe you so much.  -Anita
My heart breaks so much each time I read a horrendous poaching story. But it heals each time I hear of the wonderful work you do. Humanity must respect all animals, who give so much to us. Respect their habitat, their spirit and their being. We are all in this together. Thank you a million times over! -Janis Byrne
Thanks for your effort, love and hearts in action towards Rhino protection. Hope for the best outcome in their and your lives in harmony and soon! Love to you all. Many thanks all the way from Argentina. 🙂 -Marita  ❤ 😉
I’d like to thank you for all that you do. You are in my heart, and I am certain in the hearts of every adult and child who has ever reflected on the importance of the preservation of the Earth that we all share and belong to. The feeling of struggle is progressively relieved with every animal that is protected. This helps us all, even economically. We love you! -Santos of California
Zambia female officer
You are protectors of those animals who need you. You are their voice. Without you, they would be gone. I can’t thank you enough for the service you do. Bless you. Please have hope and love in your hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! -Kari Tucker
You’re great at what you’re doing! Keep doing it because we need these animals! They’re important to a lot of people and what you guys are doing is an amazing thing! -Hannah
To my heroes – Thank you for all that you do every day to stop poachers and care for the animals that survive this horrific crime.  What you do for these majestic animals is so amazing.  I can only hope to someday see these animals with my own eyes in their own habitat and it will be because of your efforts.  And if I don’t ever get to see them, knowing that they are still alive because of your efforts is all I really need.  Thank you for saving these beautiful animals. Best-Abbie

Thank you for all you do to protect these beautiful creatures. Full of admiration for your bravery and dedication x Best wishes-Amy G

Beyond thanking you, I am unsure what else to say. You are protecting the inalienable rights, life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, of the wildlife. They lack a voice our society to request the protections which we enjoy and take for granted. Please continue your fine work and let the rest of us know how to better assist you.
Thank you. Sincerely, Ken
ranger with rhino near hand
I want you to know that if I was able I would be there to help. You are an inspiration in this cruel world. What you are doing is truly remarkable and I hope that you continue to save and protect these magnificent creatures. We are losing our beautiful animals on this planet at such a rapid rate it is horrific. Unfortunately mankind carries on. Thank you for all that you do. Keep up the fight. Thank you. –Sandra Mason, Mono, Ontario

On World Ranger Day  my  message of thanks goes to all those men and women who are prepared to lay their lives for the protection of their country’s wildlife heritage. This is often done enduring hardships and difficult conditions , for disproportionately low salaries. Their dedication is often overshadowed by other figures (‘the experts’) who provide technical and scientific knowledge for Nature conservation. Governments , in any country, should make it a priority to provide better conditions for these men and women, the game rangers: not only for the purpose of incentivizing an increasingly important profession, but also to express a nation’s gratitude for their sacrifice. Rangers are aware of the high risks they face , especially where poaching is conducted with extreme determination and violence,  and their choice of enforcing the law makes their work even more commendable. Thank you, for you are today’s heroes for tomorrow’s enjoyment of Nature by our children! –Silvana Olivo, France

Thank you wonderful folks, I appreciate all that you are doing! Bless you, may your lord be with you always! Thank you again! –Carol D

Thank you for your courage and commitment to protect the most endangered animals on the planet. It takes a special kind of person to be a wildlife ranger! –Yasmine Saad

Thank you so much for all that you do to protect our wildlife. Our national and state parks, and the plants and animals within them, are a treasure that you work so hard to preserve and protect—that does not go unnoticed or unappreciated! Your service means the world :)-Sophia D

Thanks so much for all you do to protect our planet! This World Ranger Day, and every day, let us never forget those who have given their lives to protect our wildlife and environment from poachers, polluters, and others intent on causing harm. Your bravery and sacrifices will not be forgotten! –Jeremy Taylor, Ravena, NY USA

So many of you sent support and appreciation for our rangers. We will be sending these messages to our friends at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the Black Mambas APU, Game Reserves United (GRU) & RPU Program in Indonesia.

To further support our efforts with them, please purchase our limited edition summer tee: FIGHT FOR THE RHINOS YOU LOVE tees

 

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

If Rhinos Go Extinct

To every thing there is a yin and yang, a balance. The web of all species is intricately connected, each relies on the others.

When we let a species go extinct, we upset the balance. So if we fail the rhino, what will happen to the rest of the savanna?

Rhinos are mega-herbivores, the lawn maintenance crew of the savanna. Their job to the ecosystem is to carve out paths for other creatures (eating), make water holes (digging), and to help germinate plants (defecating).

rhinos eating grass

It may seem simplistic, but they are the only sizable creatures in this habitat to do it. The other mega-herbivores, elephants affect different parts of the savanna, as they eat from a different menu, browsing on taller bushes and trees.

Rhinos eat an average of 23.6 kg during the course of each day. The dung piles they share can be 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep. That’s a sizable amount of trimming and fertilizing!

Research (by Scandinavian and South African researchers in the Journal of Ecology) indicates areas with higher rhino population had 20 times more grazing areas. These areas supply food not just for rhinos, but for zebra, gazelle and antelope.

No rhinos = less grazable area = less herbivores (i.e. antelope) = less predators (i.e. lions)

If we fail the rhino, what will happen to the people?

Eco-tourism relies heavily on tourists wanting to see the Big 5: the lion, elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, and leopard.

kenya tourism

 

Obviously without the rhino, it’s down to 4. But if the savanna suffers without grazable area, ultimately so do the lion and leopard, since their lunch will be terribly diminished by the lack of herbivores.

So will people pay to come see a barren landscape with a few scattered elephant and buffalo?

The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates 3.8 million jobs could be created by the tourism industry in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next 10 years. They go on to say that eco-tourism can only be sustainable IF the natural assets are protected from degradation.

Tour operators, tour drivers, cooks, housekeepers, souvenir vendors, wait staff, hotel staff, taxi drivers, restaurants, store employees…they could all be out of a job without tourism.

No rhino = no big five = no tourists = no tourism jobs = poorer economy

                                                  ________________________________

If we fail the rhino, we let terrorists, politicians, poachers, trophy-hunters, and most of all apathy win;  making it that much harder for the next endangered species. If we fail the rhino, we ultimately fail ourselves.

rhino reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

,

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Breeding in a War Zone

Each day, 3 rhinos and 100 elephants lose their lives to poaching. It’s a tragedy of global proportion, threatening the future of both species. But poaching is also having dire effects on the living populations.

Rhinos

*Female rhinos reach sexual maturity at 6-7 years old, and males at 10-12 years old.
*Gestation is 16 months
*Babies stay with mom for 2-4 years

So any given rhino then needs minimally 10 years to successfully reproduce another rhino.

rhino courtship

During courtship, the female chases the male, vocalizing, the pair can become quite aggressive fighting and wrestling before copulation.

Elephants

*Female elephants reach sexual maturity at 12-16 years old, and males at 10 years old.
*Gestation is 2 years
*Babies stay with mom for 3 years

Any given elephant needs a minimum of 17 years to successfully reproduce another elephant.

elephants courting

Elephants do not choose one mate for life. Their courtships are brief, but affectionate, using gentle nuzzles and gestures.

Breeding During the Poaching Crisis

This means in the midst of widespread poaching, we must assume there ARE rhinos and elephants left  of appropriate age to mate; and that the mother is not killed before giving birth or while nursing.

In rhinos and elephants,  the females mate only after a baby is independent of them (avg of 3 years), but in areas with more prevalent poaching, the animals are stressed. This stress causes them to mate even less often.

Genetic Diversity (Survival of the Fittest)

With tusks and horns worth their weight in gold, a poacher’s goal is the largest tusks and horns he can get his greedy hands on.

The issue with this, is that generally the animals with the largest horns/tusks are also the most genetically strong within their species. Nature has a way of assuring a species’ survival.  When the strongest members of a species are removed, the remaining species will procreate, BUT with “lesser”, substandard genes.

It is too early to be sure of the exact effect this will have on the surviving rhinos and elephants, but surely there will be a consequence.

elephant group in Addo Elephant National Park

Elephant herd in Addo Elephant National Park.

Current Effect

The social hierarchy in elephants is complex and intricate. In a herd, the matriarchs (the oldest adult females) are the glue that hold the group together. They are the leaders, and the backbone. They are also the ones with the largest tusks. Without them, the youngest elephants are vulnerable, and the overall direction and cohesion of the group is lost.

In Secrets of the Savanna, Mark and Delia Owens noted in the Luangwa area, before the onslaught of poaching, elephants did not ovulate until 16 years of age.  Yet after the poaching crisis, females were reproducing at half that age.

In addition, their research indicated that elephants in normal, unstressed populations partook in  allomothering (care given by female relatives other than the mother) which greatly enhanced calf survival, and taught the adolescent females mothering skills. In fractured groups with lesser experienced females, this is not the case.

Nature has an uncanny way of handling adaptation. In high-frequency poaching areas, some groups were also being born tuskless.

Unlike elephants, rhinos don’t have the complex social structure. Therefore, when poaching occurs of a mother, the baby is immediately orphaned, and unless humans step-in, has no chance of survival.

A mother and child rhino pause briefly before crossing the track.

Rhino mother & baby in Leopard Hills Reserve.

Our majestic pachyderms don’t breed like dogs and cats. With only one birth every few years, and multiple deaths on a daily basis, the odds are stacked against them. So while our fight to stop poaching is to prevent death, it is mutually to encourage life.

 

o reconnect elephants’ natural migratory routes links protected areas together by creating habitat corridors,

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Endangered Africa

2 cheetah

There are only approximately  3,600 Black Rhino left in the wild.  But they are far from the only endangered species in Africa. I was going to tell you about all the others until I realized there are actually 221 mammals , 174 birds and 48 reptiles that are endangered on the world’s second largest continent. So let’s start with the endangered species on the savanna:
*African Elephant
*Grevy’s Zebra
*Cheetah
*African Wild Dog
*Reticulated Giraffe
*Rothschild Giraffe
*Black Rhino

Habitat destruction is one of the primary causes for their endangerment. The expansion of human communities, deforestation, global warming, mining operations, oil spills, and slash and burn agriculture are all contributing factors to this. For example,  humans infringe upon the territory shared by lions, cheetahs, hyenas and African wild dogs; then  as the lowest predators in the chain, the wild dogs are forced toward the villages.  Humans then kill the dogs as a protective measure.LYCAON PICTUS

Poaching is wiping out the Black Rhino and Elephant, and every animal listed is a target for canned hunts. Factor in global warming which is contributing to climate change; i.e. droughts,  and it’s no wonder these majestic beasts are barely hanging on.

Although not technically endangered, the lion, white rhino, and giant anteater are not far off; being listed as Threatened.
(The difference being Endangered: Any species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
Threatened: any species likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future)

Can you imagine an Africa without Lions and Elephants? It’s time  for government to step up;  harsher penalties for poaching, making canned hunts illegal, and most importantly preserving areas for wildlife. Safaris are big business in Africa; it would be an economic disaster NOT to protect the animals.grevys zebra

You can help. Please view and sign these petitions, as well keeping an eye out for the many others that are out there:

http://www.change.org/petitions/save-african-lions-from-extinction-by-listing-them-as-an-endangered-species

http://www.iworry.org/#get-involved

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/923/568/410/save-the-african-wild-dog/

http://www.gopetition.com/petition/38862.html

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_rhinos/

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.