Posts Tagged With: Zimbabwe

Update on Sparky, Bebrave, and Long Playing

In the world of conservation, there are times when animal orphans find unusual companions in other species. In May, three such friends found each other and grew close. See previous post: Sparky, Bebrave and Long Playing

Here, reblogged from the International Rhino Foundation,is an update on the trio.

Long playing (standing) and Bebrave

Long Playing (standing) and Bebrave

It is now over nine months since our last two black rhino poaching orphans, BeBrave and Long Playing, were returned to their natural home. The rainy season has started well into October and the resulting flush of new leaves is ensuring that our little rhinos are growing outwards as well as upwards.

Settling into life in the wild took our two hand raised orphans a little time to work out. Initially, they remained very close to the water point they were released at and promptly appeared from the bush at 4:30 PM daily in the hope of their routine bottle of milk. Eventually they accepted milk was no longer a part of their diet and they started to range slightly more, exploring their new home.

It did not take long for the only other black rhino in the 24,000 acres to sniff out that there was new rhino company to meet. Exactly seven days after the orphans were released, black rhino bull “Romeo” turned up at the release site water hole. An adult black rhino bull stands at close to 1.5 metres tall and weighs in at about 1,500 kilograms – so it is not surprising that three year old BeBrave decided that discretion was the better part of valor and departed the area, leaving Long Playing and Romeo alone to get to know each other.

Within a month BeBrave and Long Playing were back together again with Romeo only making occasional visits to the area to keep in contact with his young neighbors.

eland herdSparky the eland had been hard to track down but given the large numbers of eland in the area it is likely he has just blended into the herds.

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Darkest Before the Dawn

It is all too easy to get lost in frustration and despair in the war for rhinos. Each life means so much, and each death weighs heavy in the heart, BUT each victory is just as significant.

My gift to all of you this holiday season: HOPE.

mama and little one rhinoThere is reason to believe we can bring the rhino back from the threat of extinction. We can stabilize the population, control the poaching.

#1-Thanks to programs that transform poachers to rangers like what  AfricanParks  has done in the Congo,  minds are changing. (see: Second Chances: Success in the Congo)

#2-Community incentives that give people a reason to be invested in their own wildlife and rewarded for that investment, like in Zimbabwe (see: Zimbabwe Leads the Way)

#3-Zoos have a new role in conservation, through in-depth scientific analysis (of rhino dung) they have learned more successful methods of breeding rhinos including use of artificial insemination. (see: Rhino Dung Research)

#4-There is a plethora of technology being integrated into the war on poaching (drones, microchips, poison injections into the horn,etc.)

#5-Awareness is spreading! The elephant poaching billboard in times square was a huge endeavor (see: The Elephant in Times Square). Ad campaigns in China and Vietnam, and education in Africa are helping. There has also been increased celebrity involvement (Leonardo Dicaprio, Prince William, Yao Ming,  Jackie Chan,etc. )

#6-The US is increasing involvement in wildlife trafficking with President Obama taking a stand, pledging funds to anti-poaching efforts in Africa and creating the anti-poaching Task Force.

#7-There is now military involvement in Kenya from the British paratroopers, helping to train rangers. (see: British Paratroopers Train..)

#8-South Africa has stepped up military involvement in the parks. (see: War on Poachers Intensifies)

#9-All of the people on the ground who work tirelessly from the rangers at the parks working to protect the rhino,  to the the Rhino Orphanage and other groups who rehabilitate the orphans after a poaching,  to the veterinary staff and the behind the scenes organizations who work to fund all of it.

With numbers as low as 50 left in the wild in the early 1900s, the southern white rhino has now increased to over 20,000 and has become the most populous of all the rhino species.

Large-scale poaching of the now critically endangered black rhino resulted in a dramatic 96% decline from 65,000 individuals in 1970 to just 2,300 in 1993. Thanks to the persistent efforts of conservation programs across Africa black rhino numbers have risen since the early 1990s to a current population of 5,055.

We CAN do this.

Dr William Fowlds, DVM in South Africa is seeing a difference.

The international momentum against wildlife trafficking is starting to rattle some sabers. I can’t say the same for our corrupt systems and poor political competence. However, there is a groundswell of positives even in SA and we have to simply keep going. If we put ourselves on the line, we will turn this tragedy around.”

So please don’t give up! Fight for them!
You can join the fight and help greatly by donating to Fight for Rhinos.

RhinoLargeDONATE  $20 usd in someone’s name for the holidays and we will send them a certificate congratulating them for their contribution to the survival of the rhinos.

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.  ~Lin Yutang

Categories: Good News, Making a Difference, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Zimbabwe Leads the Way

Zimbabwe- has a poverty rate at 63%, faces economic crisis and questionable human rights violations. Yet this unsettled country may hold the key to rhino conservation.

This is thanks to the Lowveld Rhino Trust. The LRT is centrally involved in the protection of 90% of the country’s black rhinos in private reserves. With most of Zimbabwe facing the same loss of rhino as other  African countries, LRT is solely responsible for a 10% increase in the black rhino population.

Since 2009, they have worked tenaciously against poaching, attempting to slowly rebuild the rhino population. No easy feat, as they are in the midst of their country’s political and economic  turmoil and unrest.

raoul du toit director of lowveld

Raoul du Toit, director at Lowveld Rhino Trust

So how do they do it?

Like other efforts across the African continent, they relocate rhinos from unsafe areas to  higher protection zones. They fight the same fight, stepping up anti-poaching units, maintaining security and tending to individual rhinos.

Yet the key to their success may lie in their localized efforts. They provide support to the local schools, the amount of their efforts and contribution directly hinging on the rhino growth population. If the rhino populations are thriving, schools receive extra funds from the LRT. If poaching is taking its toll, the funds are removed and applied to extra anti-poaching units.

The idea is to provide incentive to the people to save their rhino, in turn this applies pressure on the poachers from their own communities. As diligent as anti-poaching units are, they cannot be everywhere all the time, so this gives them additional “eyes” and “ears” on the ground.

Win for the rhinos, win for the people.

“We have made many enemies in both the public and private sectors by our efforts to wrestle rhinos away from those who attempt to keep them in ever declining populations, but we have seen annual population growth rates of around 10% as result of our efforts at demographic consolidation in adequately extensive and more secure areas of good habitat, which means that the rhinos can save themselves as the evolutionarily successful species that they are,” says du Toit.
“We try to maintain a situation in which rhinos can save themselves through effective breeding. By concentrating our efforts on the areas that have ecological and economic potential for large, viable rhino populations rather than frantically ‘fire-fighting’ to maintain fragmented populations, we can build and maintain the larger populations to the level that poaching losses (which can never be totally avoided under current funding constraints) are more than compensated for by births,” du Toit says.
the LRT, which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of the country’s rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members
which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of the country’s rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members, has proven tenacious and innovative in its battle to safeguard the nation’s rhinos from the poaching epidemic.
which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of the country’s rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members, has proven tenacious and innovative in its battle to safeguard the nation’s rhinos from the poaching epidemic.
Categories: Good News, Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Poetic Justice: the Jumbo Fought Back

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

Kruger Park: the Rhino Poaching Hotspot

There have been  227 rhinos poached already in 2013. Of those, 146 have been in Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserve in Africa. Located  in eastern South Africa, it is home to all of the Big 5 game (rhinos, elephants, lions, buffalo, and leopard).

To combat poaching the Park
*employs 650 anti-poaching unit rangers
*has borrowed 2 drones
*utilizes 2 helicopters
*has automated movement sensors along Mozambique
*has a specialized canine unit

Yet with 9 main gates in a 7580 sq mi area, which is an area slightly smaller than New Jersey, poaching is rampant. They are losing more rhino than any other location in Africa; an average of 2 a day in the Park.

kruger mapThe Park is surrounded by countries in which poverty and unemployment are both endemic. Mozambique  is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped countries with 59% of the people living below the poverty line; while Zimbabwe, suffering from a shrinking economy and hyper inflation, has the world’s largest unemployment rate at 95%, and 80%  living below  poverty. Limpopo is fairing only slightly better, but is still one of the poorest areas in South Africa, especially in rural areas.

So is it any wonder the rhino are being stalked like a starving lion after a gazelle? With one horn worth a few hundred (just a fraction of the market value) to the poacher, he can feed his family and then some. That one rhino life is worth less than its horn to them.

Over the last 5 years, authorities have killed 279 Mozambicans involved in illegal rhino hunting. 300 more were detained for poaching during that time. For the Mozambique government its a monstrous problem, especially because of the involvement of members of its own defense and security forces.

Tragically for the rhino, where it lives is why it’s being killed. Economics. Poor men committing the murder out of necessity to fuel the greed of the middle man (criminal syndicate) to supply the ignorant (Asian market); the perfect storm that will spell the extinction of the species if we cannot stop it.

2 rhinos

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

Rhino of the Week: Tatenda

There's a rhino in the bed!

There’s a rhino in the bed!

Marondera, Zimbabwe: Thought to be in a protected environment, 3 adult black rhinos and a baby were being housed in a stable like enclosure. But poachers know no bounds, and tragically slaughtered all the adults (including a pregnant female). The morning after the mayhem, little Tatenda was found hiding in fear.

He was nurtured and raised by a human mom, and taken in as family. Joining the family during breakfast, and befriending a warthog certainly didn’t make for a typical upbringing for Tatenda.

Animal Planet covered the touching story of Tatenda and the family who worked to rehabilitate this spectacular black rhino in “Theres a Rhino in my House.”

Categories: Rhino Ramblings, Rhino Spotlight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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