World Rhino Day: Rhinos Need Our Help

Rhinos are long-lived mammals having roamed the earth for millions of years. These amazing animals were once common in Africa and Asia. Today, all five species of rhino – Black, Greater one horned, Javan, Sumatran and White – are under threat. But some species have seen a remarkable recovery, proving that conservation works.

Humans are largely responsible for the decline of the rhino. Their numbers have dwindled due to a relentless demand for their horns, used in traditional medicine and as status symbols. Loss of habitat through land fragmentation, illegal logging and pollution have also contributed to diminishing numbers.

 

Only 3 Northern white rhino sub-species remain in the world – as captive individuals in a sanctuary in Kenya. The Western black rhino sub-species was declared extinct in 2011, as was a sub-species of the Javan rhino in Vietnam. Three of the five species of rhino  – Black, Sumatran and the Javan – are listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

 

But thanks to conservation efforts, one rhino species is flourishing in the wild and is the only one that is not endangered. Once on the brink of extinction, 20,000 of the Southern white rhino subspecies can now be found in protected areas and private game reserves mostly in South Africa.

 

Similarly, the Greater one-horned rhino found in India and Nepal was almost extinct due to hunting and being killed as agricultural pests.  Thanks to rigorous conservation efforts numbers improved, and it is now listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN.

 

The Long Run Members play a critical role in saving rhinos in their localities. Borana Conservancy opened its land to expand the critically endangered black rhino habitat, and with Lewa Conservancy forms the largest continuous rhino habitat of 100,000 acres, with 90 black rhinos. Through translocation efforts, it received 11 rhinos from neighbouring Lewa in 2013, and a further 10 from Lake Nakuru National Park.

Wilderness Safaris has received wide acclaim for its pioneering Botswana Rhino Conservation Project. Not only has it seen the establishment of a very healthy white rhino population in the Okavango, but it also completed, in July 2015, the largest ever cross-border translocation of Critically Endangered black rhino.

 

In the South East of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which has most of the reserve’s Rhino population, The Long Run GER® Cottar’s 1920s Camp is actively engaged in habitat conservation through the Cottars Wildlife Conservation Trust, and contributes a portion of its revenues to the Reserve.

 

Protecting and managing rhino populations has significant cost implications; rhino conservation projects projects need our help. You can help by:

 

  • Contributing directly to conservation efforts such as those at Borana, Wilderness and Cottar’s
  • Choosing  to visit Rhino-range countries and contributing to economic growth and sustainable development through tourism, which in turn supports conservation
  • Raising awareness of the plight of the rhino and the demand for rhino horn
  • By not buying rhino horn products

 

Sources: WWF, Save the Rhino

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