Posts Tagged With: translocation

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?








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

Caution: Wide Load

What does it take to move a 1-2 ton animal?

Conservation efforts often mean translocation. It is sometimes in the best interest of re-population and survival to move animals into better locations. For example in Assam, India, the India Rhino Vision 2020 program aims to attain a wildlife population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos in the state of Assam by the year 2020.  This goal will be achieved by translocating rhinos from areas of high population density to new habitats, where effective protection programs can be put in place.translocating sedation

Each situation is different, varying in length of travel time to number of rhino, but the usual mode of operation consists of:
*sedating them with the help of a veterinary crew,rhinos into truck
*moving them into position onto a truck,
*driving to said location, then off loading them into a temporarily built boma (enclosure) in the new location;
*followed up with waking them, and careful monitoring of their health thereafter.translocation boma

Logistics, practical preparations, bureaucracy, transport and funding have to run simultaneously with preparation of the rhino to undertake the journey. It is a huge and delicate undertaking, and can take considerable time to put together.

Then there is the health of the animal to consider. Whenever any animal is sedated there is a health risk from the anesthetic, there is possibility of injury in transport, and the stress alone is a danger. Rhinos have died from the move.

Of course there have been less than typical moves as well.  In 2009 three black rhinos were moved from a Czech Republic Zoo to a Mkomazi sanctuary. It took 2 years of planning and a  Martinair 747 aircraft to make the 6,400 mile move.

flying rhino 2Perhaps one of the most misunderstood photos: the’ flying rhinos’, is yet another method the WWF has  taken in moving the second largest land mammal. The tranquilized  rhinos are suspended from their ankles for a short journey by helicopter to an awaiting vehicle. This is a quick and efficent way to remove them from inaccessible areas.

Any way it needs to be done-desperate times call for desperate measures. After all, there are only so many ways to move a 1-2 ton animal.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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