Around 20 endangered eastern black rhinos are returning to Rwanda in an extraordinary homecoming after the species disappeared 10 years ago. The rhinos are being moved from South Africa to the Akagera national park in eastern Rwanda, according to the non-profit group that manages protected areas for African governments.
“This extraordinary homecoming will take place over the first two weeks of May,” it said in a statement.
The eastern black rhino, one of the sub-species of the rhinoceros, is in critical danger of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Back in the 1970s, more than 50 black rhinos thrived in the savannah habitat of the Akagera park, but their numbers declined due to wide-scale poaching and the last confirmed sighting was in 2007.
“Rhinos are one of the great symbols of Africa yet they are severely threatened and are on the decline in many places across the continent due to the extremely lucrative and illegal rhino horn trade,” said African Parks boss Peter Fearnhead.
According to the conservationists, there are fewer than 5,000 black rhino in the wild worldwide, with only about 1,000 of the eastern sub-species.
Two black rhinos wandered off on their own adventure. To keep these precious animals safe, RCB (rhino Conservation Botswana) scrambled a rescue team to capture and return them to the Moremi Game Reserve, where they can be kept under the monitors’ watchful eyes.
With the two rhinos safely captured and munching on lucerne in an enclosure or ‘boma’, Map Ives, director of RCB, tracks down a suitable aircraft to return the pair to safety. Thanks to the support of the Director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), and the Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) air-wing, the majestic Lockheed C-130 aircraft is placed at our disposal.
As the first rays of light warm the skies, our rhinos are already in crates, sleeping, for their journey to Moremi Game Reserve
The next day the team is up before the sun, at 3am, to immobilise the rhinos and load them into crates by the light of our headlamps. Vets Rob Jackson and Caron Botes oversee the operation, while we make sure our adventurous mother rhino is fitted with a transmitter, so that we can follow her movements closely once she’s released.
The rhino crates are then placed on the back of the 10-tonne trucks, kindly supplied by the DWNP, and we start the journey to Maun airport under heavy armed escort.
It takes us two hot hours to load the rhino crates into the aircraft. Then we’re finally ready to fly our wandering rhinos back to the Moremi Game Reserve, where they belong.
The rhino crates have to be gently loaded into the aircraft. They are very heavy so it’s all hands to the pumps!
As soon as we touch down, our highly trained team sets about off-loading the rhinos and moving them onto a truck for the short journey to their next stop. The release bomas have been meticulously prepared by George, one of the local rhino monitoring officers. Once installed, the rhinos are offered water and lucerne – their favourite food – and began to eat with gusto.
By the time the rhinos are bedded down and the crates are re-loaded onto the aircraft, it’s late. The sun has almost set and the mighty aircraft lifts from the gravel strip.
The next day, both rhinos are tucking in to the freshly cut browse we’ve hung on the boma walls. We try feeding them slivers of sausage fruit, which they almost take from our hands – another sign that they’re not stressed. The rhinos will stay in the care of George, Kyle and Mike Fitt, who are among the best rhino boma managers in the business, until they are ready for release.
Our young rhino has a bright future ahead of her, living wild and free in beautiful Botswana. Photo courtesy of Michael Fitt.
A few days later, as evening falls, the door of the boma is opened and the rhinos stroll out, back into the wild, as if they have never been gone. We will keep an even closer eye on this pair from now on!
Why Elephants and Rhino are important to us. #Biodiversity
Elephants and rhinoceroses are essential to keeping biodiversity levels high, new research suggests.
In areas where these large seed-dispersing animals have disappeared, like the tropical forest of South-East Asia, researchers found that biodiversity dropped off. Other herbivores like the small pig-looking tapir can’t replace these large grazers.
“Megaherbivores act as the ‘gardeners’ of humid tropical forests: They are vital to forest regeneration and maintain its structure and biodiversity,” study researcher Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, of the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, said in a statement.
Seha, a poached rhino, is in recovery thanks to the brilliant work of Saving the Survivors
Several rhino themed wall paintings have appeared around Saigon in Vietnam recently.
Founded in 2013, ChangeVN fights climate change and promotes wildlife conservation in Vietnam.
In 2014 they partnered with NGO WildACT to create “Stop Usng Rhino Horn Campaign.
Their aim s to raise local awareness to reduce local demand.
Vietnam is the number ONE consumer of rhino horn. They drove their own Javan rhino to extinction 7 years ago. Consumers believe horn is a cure for disease and a symbol of wealth.
ChangeVN targets the business community because it believes they are the main consumers.
They reach out in schools, pagodas and online.
This campaign is about EDUCATION. One innovative segment asked viewers to bite their fingernails to demonstrate that THIS is what rhino horn is composed of.
The wall painting was a huge project. Vietnamese and international stars were invited and they signed a massive drawing of a rhino horn. People watched the artists painting and asked what this was about. Some knew about the rhino crisis; others did not.
This is a significant contribution to global efforts to stem the poaching of the rhino.
This year’s Game Fair, to be held at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 July, will include demonstrations from Daryll Pleasants, who specialises in training dogs to help with anti-poaching efforts in Africa.
Daryll, who has been involved with anti-poaching efforts for five years, is working on projects in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia and Kenya through the organisation Animals Saving Animals, where he is helping to protect the last northern white rhinos.
The South African Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group properties have recently partnered with the non-profit organization “The Rhinos Are Coming” to raise awareness and funds in the fight against Rhino poaching in South Africa.
On April 6 2017 a herd of life sized Rhinos, sponsored by various local businesses and organizations, painted by both famous an emerging artists, embarked on a Grand Rhino Roadshow.
Touring Cape Town and the surrounding Winelands, those unique pieces of contemporary art will build the basis of a region-wide three-month-long Outdoor Art Exhibition. The goal of this unique initiative is to raise awareness and funds to support StopRhinoPoaching in their efforts to actively fight Rhino poaching within South Africa. The roadshow will culminate with the Carlson Rezidor Rhino displayed at the various Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson Hotels, to further entrench our efforts to raise awareness around this worthy cause.
At Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson, we are proud to support this exceptional fundraising project and sponsor a colourful Rhino figure, which the incredibly talented Andrew Hart Adler made his canvas for this extraordinary cause and who in true Park Inn by Radisson spirit literally added colour to life.
To get involved and support this worthy cause please contact: The Rhinos Are Coming
Photo Credit: Grant Smithers Photography
Canine in the Kruger National Park – used for tracking and capturing poachers as well as detecting contraband like firearms and rhino horn – have been described as a game-changer since their introduction to the park, with an arrest success rate of more than 80%.
On recent media trip to the Kruger National Park K9 Centre at Skukuza, canine manager Johan de Beer said in the space of a year, the dogs have been responsible for 168 of the 200 odd poaching related arrests in Kruger. “I don’t think we’d be able to do the job without them,” de Beer said.
In total, there are some 53 dogs in the park at the moment, which de Beer says is the largest anti-poaching canine unit in the world. Dogs are mainly acquired from Denel Mechem, Paramount Group and Genesis Canine Group as well as a few other certified companies. Trained, thoroughbred working dogs are not cheap, and typically cost between R35 and R50 000. Training a handler also costs tens of thousands of Rands.
On 15 March 2017 Rhino 911 assisted with yet another Rhino cow that was shot in one of our North West parks. She has a small calf with her.
Dr Gerhardus Scheepers treated her bullet wound and will have to do a follow up treatment. They were both darted to determine the extent of the injuries.
Her calf was such a cute little thing and fortunately he has no injuries.
Please support us by donating
Blog Category: South Africa’s statistical report on rhino poaching reveals a 10.3 per cent dip in the numbers illegally killed in 2016 compared to the previous year. As Professor Keith Somerville, senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London explains: The South African Ministry for Environmental Affairs released the rhino poaching statistics, which showed that nationally 121 fewer animals were poached in 2016 (1,054) compared with 2015 (1,175). But the figures also indicated that there had been an increase in illegal killing for horn in areas outside Kruger National Park. The decline is welcome but it still represents 5% of SA’s total rhino population of 20,000.
Poaching networks are spreading their operations across the country with increasing sophistication and flexibility. Demand from Vietnam, China and other countries in East Asia shows no sign of abating.
Poaching gangs include Mozambicans brought into the country and paid to poach – they are often armed with high-powered rifles imported for the Mozambican security forces and wildlife department that have been corruptly diverted to poaching gangs. But much of the poaching in South Africa involves gangs of Afrikaners, which include former vets, wildlife rangers, helicopter pilots, professional hunters and game farm owners. Senior ANC members are involved as well as government ministers.
Save the Rhino and other conservation NGOs have welcomed the overall fall in South Africa, but are opposed to the South African government’s draft legislation which would allow a domestic trade in rhino horn to resume. The trade was suspended by a government-imposed moratorium in 2009, which was successfully challenged in the courts by private rhino owners.
Under the new law, the government’s hacked together response to the court decision, a foreign citizen visiting South Africa could get a permit to export a maximum of two rhinos per year (or their horns), meaning the already overstretched South African wildlife authorities would be required to police both a legal and illegal trade.
This has huge potential for laundering poached horns and for a new form of what was once called pseudo-hunting, when non-hunters from Vietnam and Thailand paid to shoot rhinos and export the ‘legal’ trophy.
Article Content: – Rhino owners and some conservationists, like David Cook (formerly director of the Natal Parks Board, and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi senior ranger) and John Hanks (former director of WWF’s Africa programme), favour an internationally regulated, legal trade that would supply demand through the provision of non-lethal horn. Such a system needs strong safeguards and monitoring procedures that are neither in place nor addressed in the rushed draft legislation.
South Africa’s government has a reputation for corruption at the highest levels of the ruling party, ministries and state institutions (including the police), so the hasty creation of a poorly-monitored legal trade does not amount to a regulated, well thought-out means of destroying the monopoly of the smugglers, or of using a regulated trade in non-lethal horn to undercut the illegal trade, reduce poaching significantly and produce income for sustainable conservation. Falling between the two stools of a total ban and a properly-policed legal trade, the new legislation looks like a new rhino disaster waiting to happen.