Posts Tagged With: saving animals

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, 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


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A Few Minutes to Make a Change

poached rhino

Every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for it’s ivory.

Every day 2-3 rhino are slaughtered for their horns.

Please take a few moments to sign and share the following petitions to gain the attention of responsible parties. We MUST take a stand and speak up for their lives. The rate of poaching is NOT sustainable. They WILL run out of time if we don’t stop this.

Save the White Rhino by Getting it Back on the CITES Appendix 1poached elephant 2

Lobby the CITES Secretariat & the 178 Member Parties

Blood Ivory Campaign

Avaaz-Save the Rhinos

Stop Rhino Poaching

Protect Endangered Rhinos From Poacher Gangs

Ban Poaching of Elephants in Africa and China

Save Rhino Poaching in South Africa

every voice counts

Categories: Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Face of Elephant Poaching

Torn Ear

R.I.P. Torn Ear

A beloved, venerable African elephant named Torn Ear was killed in Kenya on February 7 by poachers who shot him with poisoned arrows. Richard Bonham discovered Torn Ear’s fatal injury while observing him at a watering hole.

Bonham is the co-founder and the African operations director of the wildlife conservation organization, Big Life Foundation. He noticed that the elephant was walking with an irregular gait, and then he saw two wounds behind Torn Ear’s rib cage.

A veterinarian was summoned, and Torn Ear was darted with a tranquilizing drug. It was clear upon examination, Bonham said, that “the arrows had penetrated into the abdominal cavity, and peritonitis had set in, which meant that there was no hope for survival.” So Torn Ear was euthanized.

In a blog post the next day Bonham wrote:

“Yesterday we lost an iconic elephant, one of the few left on the continent whose tusks pass the 100 pound mark. I also think of him as a friend of 20 years. Emotions are running deep, as we failed in our mission to protect him. But the greatest sadness is the reality that Torn Ear was probably one of a hundred or so elephant that died just yesterday to feed the ivory trade.”

-via National Geographic

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Corey Who?

Ever since the Dallas Safari Clubs auction to hunt a black rhino in Namibia, one man has become the face of this tragedy. His lust for the hunt has earned him both contempt from conservation advocates, and defense from hunters. Although he bears disdain for his action, he is one of many “thrill of the kill” hunters, who deserves no further mention.

Blaming Knowlton is like blaming a single roach for an infestation. They only come because the conditions are right. And they will continue animal trophiesto come unless the environment is changed.

We mustn’t lose focus on the big picture. Namibia offered this rhino up to be hunted, the US has no qualms of the trophy being brought back, and the Dallas Safari Club encourages it. This is  barbaric, unsettling, but legal.

The big concern and goal is to stop the practice of trophy hunting altogether. How?

In some ways this seems as grand and daunting as saying “I want world peace”. There is not a one step answer.  But it’s something that is necessary if our endangered species are to survive. It requires cooperation from all countries, one law at a time.

United States

Here in the US, it is LEGAL to buy and sell ivory within the country, AND to import ivory and horn via hunting trophies But the tide may be changing.

June 2013 President Obama gave an executive order to combat wildlife poaching. Recognizing the international importance on not only the effects on wildlife, but on national security, as illegal wildlife trafficking is within the top five world crime.

November 2013 The US Fish and Wildlife Service destroyed 6 tons of it’s ivory stockpile. 25 years worth of illegal seizures were pulverized in order to send a message of zero tolerance to poachers. As the second largest ivory market (behind China), this is an important step in the countries’ stance on wildlife conservation.

crushed ivory

US Fish and Wildlife Service involved in Denver, Colarado’s ivory crush.

January 2014 The state of New York held a meeting to discuss banning ivory within the state. Assemblyman Bob Sweeney wrote a letter imploring the Department of Conservation to prohibit the sale of ivory in New York.

“New York state must close the market that is driving the elephant to extinction and helping finance terrorism,” Sweeney said.

February 2014 The state of Hawaii just announced the House Committee unanimously advanced a bill to outlaw the sale of all ivory products in the state.

If this country is indeed on it’s way to a full ban of ivory, trophy hunting WILL be affected. As there would be no elephant trophies allowed into the country. And in this matter,  ivory is no different than horn. The same notion applies: preservation of wildlife and the poaching connection to international terrorism.

If the great thrill hunters cannot boast of their hunt with trophies on their walls, perhaps they will be less inclined to do it at all.

Sign and share this petition by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to urge the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop allowing permits to import endangered species. Protect Black Rhinos from Trophy Hunting & the petition by Animal Advocates to the Secretary of the Interior Prevent Dallas Safari Club from Importing Rhino Trophies

rhino and baby at watering hole


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Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

In a planet filled with millions of people and animals, life and death are facts, taken for granted. There is usually not much fanfare to either one. But for a celebrated, highly endangered and fought for species like the rhino, every birth is celebrated, every death is mourned.

Regretfully, The Rhino Orphanage has just lost an orphan.

baby rhino died


Vets at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Hospital made the difficult decision to put the young black rhino down after extensive tests showed there was nothing else that could be done for him. He’s had a long journey of medical treatment, and has deteriorated since last year.

Arrie van Deventer who runs the orphanage said It was the darkest day. So many people have cared so much for the rhino and I am grateful for the efforts of everybody to try and nurse the rhino back to good health – especially the vets at Onderstepoort. But in the end there was nothing more we could do for him. It is a tragic loss but we will refocus our efforts to save as many rhino as we can and care for the ones in our care and the ones that will surely follow.”

It takes mere minutes to kill a rhino, yet years to rehabilitate one. In a world of greed and evil, thankfully there are those who have endless strength, dedication and love to do just that. Appreciation goes out to the Rhino Orphanage, and to all those who live, fight and work for these magnificent creatures every day.


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Friends in Unlikely Places

Rhinos are wild, large, sometimes unruly animals, but possess a peaceful, gentle side and form strong bonds just as much as any other creature.  Sometimes it’s with people,  often other rhinos, but occasionally it’s a bond of a more unusual nature. Such is the case with the following amazing individuals.

Fabian and Madame Gigi

Recently there was a rhino poached in the Nyaru Game Lodge in Cape Town. This was particularly painful to the Lodge as Fabian the White Rhino was a favorite among guests and employees. Fabian was the only rhino at the reserve, as the rest were already sold because of poaching concerns. But the decision to keep him was due in part to his relationship with his friend Madame Gigi, resident pug puppy.

Nyaru owner Ruan Fouché described the day they met. “Madam Gigi, still a puppy, saw Fabian and ran towards him, and there, right in front of the staff’s eyes, something remarkable clicked between the two. Sir Fabian watched, stunned and in awe, when this small black creature in her pink winter outfit approached. A lot of sniffing, huffing and puffing took place. But from that moment, the two unlikely friends became inseparable.”

“Whenever Fabian came to a visit Madam Gigi, she would run up to him, give him a lick, chew lucerne with him and play with him. He would follow her around for a while before disappearing for his daily mud spa in the bush.”

Fabian will undoubtedly be missed, by people and his special friend alike.

fabian and pug 2

Sir Fabian and Madame Gigi

Omni and Digby

At the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a baby black rhino was taken from his mom who was blind, and consequently was neglecting her son. This orphan baby was named Omni and cared for by several keepers. But Omni wasn’t alone for long. He soon made a friend in a warthog, named Digby. Digby was orphaned when his mother was killed by a predator.

The two became inseparable playmates; running, licking, and playing. Digby even took it upon himself to rid Omni of his ticks, diligently grooming his friend daily. At night if anyone peered into Omni,s pen, they would see Digby asleep on top of Omni, both covered by a large blanket.

The keepers say they were always together, and were very protective of one another.

CLICK HERE to watch:   Omni and Digby

rhino friends omni and digby

Omni and Digby

Clint and Harry

At Shamwari Game Reaserve in South Africa, lives Clint, an orphaned rhino, his mother, sadly another poaching casualty. He has gone through extensive tlc in efforts to help his survival and rehabilitation. Some of his biggest issues concerned diarrhea and absorption of nutrients from his milk. As mothers give their young bacteria in the milk to help with digestion, this is often an issue for orphaned rhino calves.

Clint was introduced to a friend to keep him company during these difficult times. His friend was Harry, the sheep. Their relationship plays a vital role in meeting the rhino’s need for socialization and companionship.


Clint and Harry

Sparky, Bebrave and Longplaying

In Zimbabwe’s Lowveld Rhino Trust, there is yet another odd friendship at hand. Originally Bebrave  the black rhino was orphaned and paired with Sparky, the eland. Then another orphaned blackie came along- Longplaying, who  joined to form this unique trio.

The trio are no longer together, as Sparky has joined up with other elands, but in a time when there was no one else, they had each other; for companionship, protection, and security.  Isn’t that what friendship is about?

You can read more about this unique situation in the previous post by clicking here:  Sparky, Bebrave and Longplaying

bebrave water hole

Bebrave at the watering hole.


elephant friend quote

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Rhino S.O.S.

rhino duoFight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos are working to save rhinos  by providing assistance both on the ground, and through educational campaigns.

*We have provided 3 months of sponsorship of the intelligence resources at Game Reserves United – GRU (the coalition of private game reserves on the western border of Kruger.)

*We have now committed funding for the first quarter’s 4×4 ranger training courses operated by Reserve Protection Agency (RPA).

*We have allocated funding to support the work of General Jooste’s anti-poaching work at Kruger National Park.

This month alone 68 rhinos have been killed in Kruger National Park. This is a bloody, violent war. The future of not just a species, but wildlife as we know it, is hanging in the balance.

We can’t do it without you. If you are able to help or know of anyone who may be able to, please reach out to us.

“There is always a gap between intention and action” ~Paulo Coelho

Please help us bridge that gap. Act now. See the donate button on the left and bottom of the page. If you have ANY questions, please reach us at

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Help Us Help Them: RPA

Reserve Protection Agency is a progressive conservation non-profit and public benefit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving South Africa’s threatened ecosystems.

dr fowlds working on thandi 2

Dr. Fowlds

Supported by Dr. William Fowlds, they assist rhino anti-poaching efforts with intelligent solutions and innovative technology systems.

Why we support them

  • It’s about adopting an ‘inter-agency’ approach, in other words getting different groups such as military, police, private reserves and national parks to work together.
  • It’s about engaging the local communities and giving individuals not just a job but a career path to follow.
  • It’s about allowing effective management of eco-systems and biodiversity.
  • It’s about bringing anti-poaching techniques to a new level as far as technology is concerned.
  • While the initial focus of RPA is South Africa, there are plans to roll the initiative out across the rest Africa and Asia, meaning all species of rhino will ultimately benefit from their work.

Over all, RPA have very similar beliefs to our own – that by working together, and playing to our own individual strengths is the only way  we will win the war against the poachers.  This is why we have adopted RPA as one of our beneficiary projects.

During this crucial time for rhinos, technology and united efforts are imperative to their survival. Please consider helping by donating today.

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Plan B

Imagine being one of only four people left on the planet, the future of humanity in your hands. It’s up to you to make babies, re-populate, save your species. Pressure? You bet.

Sadly, this is the case for the only four Northern white rhinos on the planet. Sudan and Suni (the boys), and Najin and Fatu (the ladies) are the last of their species. Residing in Ol’ Pejeta Conservancy, it has been a hope they could produce a miracle. (see previous post: …And Then There Were Four)

Under 24 hour armed guard to protect them from poaching, they have been cared for and maintained to keep them healthy and happy. Despite all efforts at a suitable environment, there has been no success. Although Suni and Najin were seen mating in 2012, the 16 month gestation period came and went, and hopes were dashed.

four northerns 2The quartet is not getting younger, and time is of the essence. So the team of experts and conservationists have come up with  Plan B.

According to Ol’ Pejeta, this month a male southern white rhino will be introduced to the two northern white females, with the objective of getting them pregnant at the earliest opportunity.If this works, the hope is that the two females can produce several offspring through ‘intercrossing’ the subspecies.

Although this is not as ideal, this is the next best thing. They will hold the genes of the Northern whites, genes that helped that species survive and adapt to their environment. Any attempt at perpetuating the species is imperative at this point.

Fight for Rhinos and Helping Rhinos are proud to support Ol’ Pejeta Conservancy. To help further their efforts, consider contributing to Fight for Rhinos at the link on the bottom or left of the page.

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