Posts Tagged With: The Rhino Orphanage

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.


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

Man’s (and now Rhino’s) Best Friend

Bloodhound and ranger in Virunga Nat. Park.

Bloodhound and ranger in Virunga Nat. Park.

With poaching so prevalent, too much space and too little manpower, a different approach is being utilized to stop poachers. Dogs.

In the Congo, an elite canine anti-poaching unit is employed to track down elephant poachers. Specially trained bloodhounds, who require a 2 year training program, have already aided rangers in chasing poachers down. In Virunga National Park, the first instance out they pursued the suspects for 7km.

In South Africa, the Rhino Orphanage is training dogs to help keep track of and protect the baby rhinos; rhino security if you will.  (see: Duma: The Rhino Dog)

In Gabon, dogs are being utilized in the airport to detect illegal wildlife. The program has been quite successful, with the canines finding shark fin and bushmeat in addition to ivory.

Gabon's tracking team works for a tennis ball.

Gabon’s tracking team works for a tennis ball.

Green Dogs Conservation and Congohounds  are two non-profit groups situated in South Africa, specializing in training dogs for anti-poaching and other conservation purposes. Trained similar to police dogs, they are given basic training and aptitude testing, matching the right dog to the right situation.

As Green Dogs points out, 60% of the brain of a dog is devoted to smell. They can detect scents we aren’t even aware of. Congohounds states, bloodhounds can detect a single smell out of 5 million!

Search and rescue dogs have long been trained to find people, landmines, drugs, and even cancer. With their phenomenal sense of smell and high energy, it’s a perfect fit to train them to track and detain poachers.

Duma and Ntombi getting acquainted.

Duma and Ntombi getting acquainted.


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

Rhinos Wanted: Dead or Alive

The hottest thing on the black market: the rhino horn. Rhino are being poached at the rate of one every nine hours. The National Parks are not safe, rhino farms are on constant guard, even the Rhino Orphanage was attacked.

The crisis is so widespread, that even dead rhino are a target. The horn is stolen, whether  it is attached to a stuffed rhino or simply a lone specimen. Museums throughout Europe are under threat; Sweden, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and England have all been hit.

Some of the specimens have been around since the 1900s, but regardless of age and origin, a horn is a horn. Just one can fetch $40,000 to $300,000 on the black market.

The latest heist was in The National Museum of Ireland warehouse. Fearing theft, the museum had the horns removed and placed in storage last year. But in April, the guard at the location was overpowered and the horns were taken anyhow.

According to Europol, it is believed that an Irish organized crime group is responsible. Antique dealers, auction houses, art galleries, museums, private collectors and zoos are all under threat. Although this has not yet become a widespread problem in America, Europol says there IS similar activity in North America.

From January 2011 through November 2012 there were 67 European thefts and 15 attempts.

A taxidermist saws off the horn of a rhino at a Swiss museum to prevent theft attempts.

A taxidermist saws off the horn of a rhino at a Swiss museum to prevent theft attempts.

A "dummy" horn is painted in place of the one removed.

A “dummy” horn is painted in place of the one removed.

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

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