RHINOSCIENCE Spring 2014
3 Sense and science-ability Events schedule 2014 4 Indonesia If you cut it, they will come! 5 Indonesia All in a day’s work
6 Thorny Issues Understanding, not judging, demand is key to saving rhinos
7 India India’s pride in its Greater one-horned rhinos 8 News in brief 9 Putting the illegal wildlife trade on the political agenda 10 Zoology Chester’s growing crash! 11 South Africa Managing rhinos in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
12 Namibia Improving tourism’s contribution towards rhino conservation 14 Zambia Rhinos in the classroom. Can education change how people feel? 16 Zimbabwe Tricks for tracking: transmitters, transponders and traps 17 Rhino goodies
LAIKIPIA WILDLIFE FORUM
18 How many rhinos are there? 20 Events in brief 21 You can ride for rhinos We can be heroes! 22 Kenya The need for boots on the ground
23 Kenya Innovative thought to protect rhinos 24 Kenya Camera-trapping in the Chyulus 25 Vifaru milele! Rhinos forever! 25 ‘Treasured’ success 26 Zoology How do you manage Europe’s captive white rhinos?
27 Champions for conservation 28 Tanzania Balancing rhinos and other animals in Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary 29 Uganda Christmas with a difference 30
31 Thank You!
SENSE AND SCIENCE-ABILITY Rhino conservation is full of thorny issues these days: the Dallas Safari Club auction of a black rhino trophy hunt; how to tackle the escalating demand for rhino horn in Vietnam and China; whether it’s OK to shoot-to-kill poachers; the validity (or not) of injecting poison into rhinos’ horns to deter poachers; or whether to legalise the trade in rhino horn. The challenge for us, and for other responsible rhino conservation organisations, is to consider all sides of any particular argument, to base our decisions on the best scientific advice available, and to apply a wee bit of good, old-fashioned, common sense. Cathy Dean | Director
ake the poisoning horns issue. SANParks is currently conducting detailed research into how well injected poisons diffuse throughout the horn, and how potent they are after a given period; we expect the results to be made public around Easter time.
Meanwhile, Sabi Sands (one of the private game reserves adjacent to Kruger National poisoned its rhinos’ horns Park) had poisoned its rhinos’ horns and widely advertised but it didn’t deter the the fact. Yet that didn’t stop poachers from targeting poachers from killing their rhinos; in fact, some of Sabi Sands’ horns were recovered from poachers in Kruger and these are the ones now being tested.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Why, you might ask, didn’t the fact that the poachers probably knew that the rhinos’ horns had been poisoned deter them from poaching these rhinos? Well, imagine you’re a poacher: unscrupulous, keen for a quick buck. You’ve killed a rhino. When the middleman comes knocking on your door one night, keen to hand over the cash for whatever you’ve got, are you going to tell him that you’d love to sell him the horns but you can’t, because they’ve been poisoned and might harm someone living thousands of miles away that you’ve never met? Seriously?
Our website has a whole section called ‘Thorny issues’. We cover a wide and complex range of themes that crop up frequently; we revisit these from time-totime and review and update them to take account of the latest findings. See www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/ thorny_issues and post your comments. Meanwhile, in this issue of The Horn, we asked field programme managers to write about how they use science in their everyday work. You’ll read about different methods of ensuring that you have counted your rhino correctly (harder than it sounds), how to ID them, how to mix tourists with rhinos so that all are happy, and about zoos’ efforts to breed both black and white rhinos. And perhaps unexpectedly, you’ll read that for all the talk of drones and hightech equipment, nothing can beat a wellequipped, motivated and trained ranger force. Common sense really.
Events schedule 2014 Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2014 ‘The Science of Harry Potter’ by Roger Highfield and ‘The Mathematics of The Simpsons’ by Simon Singh Virgin Money London Marathon Rhino Mayday Prudential RideLondon–Surrey 100 World Rhino Day Save the Rhino 21st anniversary dinner Rhino Climb Kilimanjaro UK challenges Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture 2015, by Neil Gaiman
Tuesday 11 March 2014
Sunday 13 April 2014 Thursday 1 May 2014 Sunday 10 August 2014 Monday 22 September 2014 Date to be confirmed: autumn 2014 Dates to suit 2014 and 2015 Various dates throughout 2014 To be confirmed
For more information about any of these events, please visit www.savetherhino.org/events or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)20 7357 7474
If you cut it, they will come! Habitat availability significantly limits the number of Javan rhinos in the species’ final stronghold, Indonesia’s Ujung Kulon National Park. Only a few dozen animals manage to survive on a remote peninsula at the western tip of Java. Bill Konstant | Programme Officer, International Rhino Foundation
nfortunately, much of the tropical forest within the National Park is dominated by an invasive palm species, Arenga obtusifolia, which crowds out other native vegetation and provides the rhinos with little sustenance. Neither its leaves nor its fruits are on their menu. This has focused biologists on the problem of how to effectively remove Arenga palm (referred to locally as langkap) and increase Javan rhino numbers in the process.
Right: Local workers constructing a perimeter fence around the JRSCA
UJUNG KULON NP WWF-INDON
MAIN IMAGE: SECTION INOV
Below: A Javan rhino, caught on camera trap, reaches for tropical plants
For the past decade, Indonesian biologist and International Rhino Foundation liaison, Sectionov (known as Inov to friends and colleagues), has been hard at work trying to solve this problem. His research began with an initial study of the Javan
banteng, an endangered species of wild cattle that also occurs in Ujung Kulon and has a diet similar to that of the rhinos. The list of plants eaten by Javan rhinos exceeds 200 species, many of which are losing out in the competition with langkap. Inov developed a research protocol that compares both physical and chemical methods for clearing langkap, examining their environmental impact, cost-effectiveness, re-vegetation rates, and impact on local communities.
This research effort is underway in the Javan Rhino Science and Conservation Area (JRSCA), a 10,000-acre tract of lowland tropical forest on Ujung Kulon’s eastern border surrounding Gunung Honje (Ginger Mountain). Part of this area was formally inhabited by people that lived illegally within the National Park, but they were relocated by government authorities a few years ago. Subsequently, Inov and his team began clearing plots of langkap within an experimental research grid. In some cases, the palms were chopped down with machetes and left in place. Other plots were cleared in similar fashion, but the cut vegetation was piled along the perimeter. Other plots were cleared by injecting the palm
trunks with a chemical herbicide. As these methods were being tested, workers began collecting seeds of Javan rhino food plants to develop a nursery for re-planting purposes. The results of the applied research are promising. One important finding was that the herbicide used left no harmful environmental residues. The injected palms died in place in a few months and there was minimal regrowth of langkap from surface roots. Seedlings of other plant species began to appear as the palm fronds withered and the forest canopy opened, allowing sunlight to reach the forest floor. Experimental plots that were cleared by cutting produced rapid growth of other plant species, but also a higher rate of palm regeneration. Removing the cut palm required more time per hectare, but quickened the speed at which new vegetation appeared — without seedlings having to be planted. One of the most encouraging results is that, of the dozen or so species of plants that appear after the langkap is gone, more than 90% are Javan rhino food plants. To date, more than 100 acres have been cleared, and at least the same number of local workers have been employed in the effort, as well as to construct a perimeter fence around JRSCA and to build a new base camp for the Rhino Protection Units that patrol the area. As for the rhinos, only two or three animals were known to inhabit the forests of Gunung Honje before the JRSCA project began. Today, footprints reveal that at least nine have come to sample the tropical forest ‘salad bar’ created to help save their species.
Grants We gave £5,000 from our own funds, together with £900 from Blair Drummond Safari Park, for a project to build Indonesian leadership capacity — supporting the studies of Inov — to establish how best to eradicate Arenga palm and support Javan rhino conservation efforts, as well as £467 received from miscellaneous donations for work in the JRSCA.
, ALL IN A DAY S WORK As if hiking 10 miles a day through forests and swamps on the lookout for poachers wasn’t enough, members of Indonesia’s specially trained Rhino Protection Units (RPUs) also collect incredibly important data regarding endangered rhinos and other threatened wildlife.
ince they rarely view rhinos directly when on patrol, they rely heavily on indirect evidence such as footprints, dung, urine, wallows, scrapes, and signs of feeding as indicators of population size, density and composition.
Twelve 4-man RPUs patrol Bukit Barisan Selatan and Way Kambas National Parks in southern Sumatra, protecting an estimated 50—60 Sumatran rhinos, while four units are responsible for monitoring the world’s last remaining population of Javan rhinos in Ujung Kulon National Park, located in western Java. In addition to rhino signs, the RPUs also compile data regarding the presence of endangered tigers, elephants and tapirs in Sumatra, and of banteng in Java. Signs of all these species, as well as evidence of illegal activities — snares, traps, fishing, logging, forest product collection — are catalogued and mapped on a daily basis. This is critical to enforcing existing wildlife laws and assisting in the prosecution of offences.
Since they rarely view rhinos
Measurements are taken each time rhino footprints are encountered. This can RPUs rely heavily on help determine the size, sex indirect evidence and age of the animal that left the spoor. Adult male Sumatran and Javan rhinos tend to outweigh females, so the largest tracks probably belong to older males. The smallest tracks are those of calves, which are found alongside those of the mother for the first couple of years. The birth of Andatu — the first calf born at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary — provided an excellent opportunity to measure the rate at which foot size increases in young rhinos, and that will allow the RPUs to better estimate the age of juvenile wild rhinos.
directly when on patrol,
In Ujung Kulon National Park, the RPUs can often tell if a wallow is being used by a bull (male) or cow (female) rhino. Only the bulls have horns, which they like to use to enlarge the size of the wallow. They excavate the surrounding mud banks by jabbing them with their horns and prying loose chunks of soil. Telltale conical holes along the wallow’s edge confirm a recent bath taken by an adult male. Mud that clings to the other end of the rhino’s body after taking its ‘spa’ is characteristically scraped off by plant stems and trunks as the animal ambles away, providing evidence both of direction headed (determined by the side on which it is deposited) and the time since its departure from the wallow (evident from the mud’s moisture content). Bubbles on the water’s surface are also a clue that the rhino just left.
are actively engaged in both efforts, working with field biologists to strategically place camera traps throughout the forest, and collecting dung samples for genetic analysis in the laboratory. The latter programme has From top: Rangers are trained in faecal sample required special training collection techniques. in collection techniques Rhino dung is very useful and is still in its early for genetic analysis! stages. From the field, An RPU member faecal samples are sent discovers a snare set to the Eijkman Institute for large mammals in Way Kambas NP in Jakarta, Indonesia for analysis. The objectives are to determine sex ratios within the population, as well as the degree of relatedness. Given the small population sizes of both rhino species, as well as the fragmented nature of the remaining Sumatran rhino populations, their future will depend upon intensive management and knowledge of individual animals.
YAYASAN BADAK INDONESIA
Bill Konstant | Programme Officer, International Rhino Foundation
Grants We are very grateful to Chester Zoo, which awarded £8,000 towards the ongoing costs of the RPU programme in Sumatra.
The greatest potential for creating profiles of the elusive Sumatran and Javan rhinos lies in a combination of cameratrap studies and genetic analyses of dung samples. The RPUs
5 MARK CARWARDINE
Understanding, not judging, demand
is key to saving rhinos
The current rhino poaching crisis is being driven by the demand for rhino horn in consumer markets such as Viet Nam, where unprecedented social, cultural and economic evolution is taking place. Dr Richard Thomas | Global Communications Co-ordinator, TRAFFIC
or the past decade Viet Nam has achieved an impressive 7% or more annual increase in GNP and new wealth has created high levels of disposable income and thus many new opportunities for status-driven spending, including the purchase of rhino horn, despite this being illegal.
While there’s little doubt that direct action to identify and apprehend the poachers and organised traffickers of horns is at the frontline of stemming such activities, without a complementary effort to address the persistent market demand that drives this trade, such efforts will be in vain. But constantly rebuking those who buy and use horn will achieve little. Experience has taught us that consumers simply don’t react to being told what they are doing is wrong. Rather, a concerted approach is needed to try and understand what motivates horn consumers; we need to gain real insights into the hopes, fears, attitudes, beliefs and desires
The typical user is a man
sampling techniques) were then interviewed to ascertain their motivations for consuming rhino horn. The results provide our first real glimpse into the world of illegal wildlife consumption in Viet Nam: the typical user is a man over 40 years of age, who is educated, successful and influential in society. He purchases horn in the belief that it is a badge of wealth, power, social status and hard work. The association of rhino horn with ‘social status’ has reached new dimensions in the country: habitual users routinely consume rhino horn casually and conspicuously, as a means of demonstrating wealth, status and social connections. Most revealing, and of considerable concern, was the finding that 16%
TOM MILLIKEN, TRAFFIC
over 40 years of age, educated, successful and influential in society
driving people’s consumption of wildlife products; understand the emotional, spiritual or physical needs and aspirations that consumption fulfils, and the occasions during which it is expected, prompted or triggered. In short, we need to understand in order to change minds and behaviour: knowledge is power. To begin the understanding process, in November 2011, TRAFFIC convened a meeting of ‘Creative Experts’ from academia, industry, non-governmental organisations, intergovernmental organisations, and other stakeholders. It confirmed the potential for sophisticated, targeted communication materials and messaging in shifting consumption patterns and informed the development of a five-step demand reduction Strategy. This Strategy has now been endorsed in relation to rhinos through a process led by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and work to implement it in Viet Nam has recently begun. Underpinning the process has been social market research commissioned by TRAFFIC, involving interviews with 600 randomly identified Vietnamese people in two major cities. Only 5% admitted rhino horn consumption or purchase; an additional 80 consumers (identified through further
Vietnamese consumers often use serrated bowls to grind rhino horn to a powder, which is mixed with rice wine or water and drunk Left: Confiscated rhino horns in Vietnam
of respondents who were not currently using rhino horn desired to buy or consume it in the future as a means of demonstrating elevated social standing and affluence. These and other findings put us in a strong position to identify messaging that will appeal to the head and the heart of actual or wouldbe consumers. It will enable us to identify who best to carry the message that rhino horn is no longer cool: the key influencers of the target user group. Our knowledge is helping us design and refine a suite of interventions that will become the ‘agents of change’ and ultimately undermine the factors driving serious organised wildlife crime.
Grants We gave £1,130 to Education for Nature Vietnam, towards the costs of a press conference of a Vietnamese celebrity visit to South Africa to raise awareness of the poaching crisis
INDIA S PRIDE IN ITS
GREATER ONE HORNED RHINOS KELLY RUSSO
At the start of this year I was privileged to travel to Assam in India on a trip organised by the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), to see the progress of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 programme and plan the next steps. The trip was led by Bibhab Talukdar; IRF’s Asian Rhino Programme Coordinator and Susie Ellis, IRF’s Executive Director.
Susie Offord | Deputy Director
ALL IMAGES BILL KONSTANT UNLESS NOTED
RV 2020 is a partnership between the Assam Forest Department, the Bodoland Territorial Council, WWF, IRF, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Save the Rhino has supported the IRV 2020 since 2005 through IRF. The goal of IRV 2020 is to have a wild population of at least 3,000 Greater one-horned rhinos in the Indian state of Assam, spread over seven protected areas, by the year 2020.
Above: Mr Shiv Kumar gives a briefing on the planned rhino translocations Right: The team at Laokhowa-Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary
MAIN IMAGE: KELLY RUSSO
Below: Ranger sleeping quarters at an antipoaching post
We travelled to Manas National Park, which is located in the eastern Himalayan foothills and is home to around 21 rhinos, all of which are part of the IRV 2020 expansion programme. While driving to the Park it was evident that human population growth and agricultural expansion are putting immense pressures on the local wildlife, and so these national parks are a lifeline for rhino habitat. Unfortunately, in recent years poaching has increased in Manas, with seven rhinos poached in the Park since translocations began. This is due to recent uprisings of heavilyarmed local insurgents, threatening the lives of both rhinos and rangers. During our visit several meetings were held to discuss the best course of action to stop the poaching, and activities to tackle these problems are planned for the next few months.
After Manas we travelled to Laokhowa-Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary where we were greeted by Assam’s Forest Minister Rakibul Hussain, who is a strong supporter of the programme. It would be impossible to carry out a successful programme such as IRV 2020 without strong government support. Laokhowa-Burhachapori is the next planned location for rhino translocations with four rhinos to be translocated later this year. It is located between Orang and Kaziranga National Parks and is an important habitat corridor for rhinos. We were taken around by Mr Shiv Kumar the Divisional Forest Officer managing the Park. Mr Kumar and his team were very professional, organised and motivated. We left the Park feeling hopeful that this will become a great haven for a new rhino population to grow. After Laokhowa-Burhachapori we travelled to Kaziranga National Park, which is home to approximately 2,300 rhinos. Kaziranga is a popular tourist destination in Assam and it is evident that the rhino is the main tourist attraction. There are statues and signs of the rhino everywhere; it is clear this is a nation that feels very strongly about the importance of its rhino. We spent two days exploring the Park and visiting anti-poaching camps, during which we counted 120 rhino! There are not many places in the world where you can still see this number of rhinos and nowhere where you can see this number of Greater one-horned rhinos. The other amazing thing about this place is how close rhinos live to people; you can see rhinos from the main road and from people’s houses. This is only possible because of the fantastic anti-poaching teams and the support of the local people who clearly love their rhinos. In a time when we are bombarded with horrific stories of daily rhino poaching, it was incredibly motivating and heartwarming to visit an area where, although it is still facing its own difficulties, overall rhinos are doing well. This is very much down to the support of the people, the Government of Assam and the fantastic work of IRV 2020.
Elephants are used for monitoring patrols in Kaziranga National Park
News in brief
We are pleased to report that Kenya’s President signed the long-awaited Wildlife and Conservation Management Act at the end of December 2013. For years, conservationists in Kenya and the rest of the world have been calling for more stringent penalties for those involved in poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. In recent decades, poachers have got away with minimal fines and short prison sentences for slaughtering the country’s wildlife. Under the new Act, poachers, traffickers and those committing wildlife crimes will now face much more severe penalties. This includes substantially higher fines, confiscation of property and longer prison terms. The new law carries a minimum fine of one million Kenyan shillings (GBP £7,000) or five years in jail. The most serious offenders caught killing or smuggling endangered wildlife now face fines of up to 20 million shillings (GBP £140,000) and life imprisonment.
1,004 rhinos poached in South Africa during 2013
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has revealed that a shocking 1,004 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone during 2013; this equates to nearly three rhino killed per day. SARAH NELSON
Kenya’s longawaited Wildlife & Conservation Act
South Africa has been hardest hit by the poaching crisis, particularly Kruger National Park, which lost 606 rhinos in 2013. The Park has a long, shared border with Mozambique, from where the majority of poachers come. Criminal syndicates are becoming increasingly involved in the illegal trafficking of rhino horn, which is smuggled to east Asian countries, predominantly Vietnam. Outside South Africa, at least another 100 rhino were poached during 2013, with Kenya and India recording the next highest losses. Experts have warned that the escalating poaching crisis is pushing rhino populations closer to the critical tipping point, when deaths will begin to outnumber births, driving rhinos into a dangerous decline.
Namibian auction controversy The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia has been under pressure recently over its decision to allow one of the five annual black rhino trophy hunting permits (as authorised by CITES) to be auctioned in the USA, at the Dallas Safari Club’s annual convention.
STEVE & ANN TOON
Limited black rhino trophy hunting in Namibia (and South Africa) has been allowed since 2004, although many commentators seemed unaware of this. The permit eventually went for $350,000; an increase on the previous highest bid of $225,000 when auctioned in
Namibia, but substantially down on estimates that the auction could raise $750,000 for black rhino conservation efforts in Namibia. The Ministry’s sustainable use policy is supported by the IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group, and from the IUCN Sustainable Livelihoods initiative, which point to the history of white rhino trophy hunting and the corresponding increase in overall white rhino numbers. This issue is discussed in detail on our website: See Rhino info/Thorny issues / trophy hunting for more information and comment.
Putting Zimbabwe’s ‘Rhino policy and management framework 2011–16’ into practice In 2011, with funding and technical support from USFWS and ourselves, a series of stakeholder workshops in Harare led to the production of a new national rhino strategy. Some two years later, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority signed it off. We now want to assist ZPMWA, NGOs and other rhino organisations working in Zimbabwe to implement the monitoring and measuring of progress towards the Key Performance Indicators identified in the framework. To that end, we have made a grant of £3,725 from our core funds to Dambari Wildlife Trust, to cover the costs of a 2-day workshop in March 2014.
PUTTING THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
ON THE POLITICAL AGENDA BIG LIFE FOUNDATION KENYA
In February 2014, London hosted several high profile meetings aimed at tackling the illegal wildlife trade, now one of the biggest threats to global security facing the world today. Susie Offord | Deputy Director
On the 11—12 February experts from across the conservation community including TRAFFIC, WWF, CITES, IUCN, Save the Rhino International and many more, gathered at the Zoological Society of London for a two-day symposium led by Prince William’s new foundation, United for Wildlife. The symposium’s aim was to find new ways to tackle this problem. After several talks, including one from John M Sellar, Anti-Smuggling, Fraud and Organized Crime Consultant, it became clear that many nations do not currently treat wildlife trafficking as a serious crime, and it requires global co-operation from governments to tackle such a huge criminal problem. It is important that agencies already dealing with drug, human and arms trafficking are engaged, so that they include illegal wildlife trafficking on their remit and their capacity is built up to tackle this crime. Reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products in consumer countries was also highlighted as a key instrument in tackling this growing problem.
■ Eradicate the consumer demand for illegal
wildlife products ■ Strengthen legal frameworks
and improve law enforcement ■ Amend legislation to
make poaching and wildlife trafficking ‘serious crimes’ under the terms of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime ■ Strengthen cross-
border co-ordination and support for regional wildlife law enforcement networks ■ Further analysis to better understand the links
between wildlife crime and other organised crime, corruption and terrorism
The illegal wildlife trade is now operated by organised criminal gangs who see it has a low-risk, high-reward trade. However, some countries still only give minor punishments for poaching, with few convictions of toplevel criminals. Yet over the past 10 years, an estimated 1 ,000 rangers have been killed trying to do their job. Local people and rangers are threatened and intimidated by armed criminal gangs; communities are having their natural heritage and resources robbed from them. Some of the world’s most majestic animals are currently threatened with extinction.
The conference concluded with the signing of the London Declaration which outlines the steps needed to tackle the illegal wildlife trade. These steps include:
By signing the London Declaration, 46 nations vowed to take decisive and urgent action against the illegal wildlife trade.
LEFT & MAIN IMAGE:
he illegal wildlife trade is reaching unprecedented levels; it is now worth an estimated £6 billion per year, and is the main threat to the survival of many endangered species, particularly rhinos, elephants and tigers. Historically, governments have seen poaching as simply an environmental or animal issue, which has been given to under-resourced environment agencies to tackle along with NGOs; it has not been given the appropriate attention and resources it has desperately needed. This is slowly beginning to change.
Prince William (below) was a key speaker at the conference.
■ Address problems of corruption and money
laundering related to wildlife crime with legislation and a zero tolerance policy Recently wildlife trafficking has been raised up the political agenda in meetings such as Rio+20, the G8 summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. We sincerely hope that the London Conference marks a turning point in the battle against illegal wildlife crime and that all countries that have signed the London Declaration will immediately undertake and implement the actions they have committed to. Without urgent action, rhinos and other threatened wildlife could be poached to extinction within our generation.
The symposium was followed by a high-level conference at Lancaster House in London, hosted by the UK government and attended by HRH the Prince of Wales, and his sons, Princes William and Harry. Recommendations from the symposium were documented and provided for the conference. 46 nations were represented at the meeting including Vietnam and China, who are identified as the main user countries of rhino horn. Rhino range states including Indonesia, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania were also represented.
Chester’s growing crash! Born to mum Zuri in June 2013, Embu is the fifth black rhino born at Chester Zoo since 2008. Our 10 Eastern black rhinoceros are listed on the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, which means we work closely with other zoos to breed more of this valuable species. You’ll find our 10 living in small groups. We might place a breeding pair together, or a mother with her young. You might also see a couple of adult females together sometimes with a male. Dr Andrea Fidgett | Zoo Nutritionist, Chester Zoo Dr Sue Walker | Endocrinologist, Chester Zoo
r Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s Director General, co-ordinates the European breeding programme for the Eastern black rhino, D. b. michaeli, of which there are 63 held in zoos in Europe (10% of the total wild population of this sub-species) acting as an insurance population for their wild relatives.
He said, ‘These new arrivals — Asani, Bashira, Chanua, Dakima and Embu — are down to real team work and years of planning, excellent husbandry and science in
for rhinos now includes fresh browse, which supplements their nutritional requirements and also satisfies their behavioural needs. In 2007, Chester Zoo established an on-site endocrinology (or hormone assessment) service. Tracking hormones noninvasively in material such as dung gives an insight into what is going on inside these animals. It can help determine: ■ whether an animal is a seasonal breeder ■ whether it has reached puberty ■ whether it is cycling on a regular basis or not ■ when the optimum time to introduce a male to a female is. It can also help us diagnose pregnancies and estimate birth dates.
ALL IMAGES CHESTER
Dr Sue Walker, endocrinologist at Chester Zoo, said: ‘It was sometimes difficult to see from the rhino behaviour when a female was receptive to a male, so introductions could be difficult. Based on hormones in dung samples, however, we could predict the best time for introductions to increase the chances of successful mating.’ Above: Chester Zoo has established an on-site endocrinology service to improve the breeding success of its Eastern black rhinos Below and right: mother Zuri with new calf Embu
action. Be it our facilities, the husbandry techniques of our keepers, nutrition, endocrinology or veterinary care, it’s been a great team effort over the past decade.’
Dr Andrea Fidgett, zoo nutritionist at Chester Zoo, works closely with the Animal Supplies Department, which sources, manages and distributes food to the keepers. Each animal’s diet is reviewed regularly to ensure nutritional support for all life stages. Specific nutrients are required, not necessary specific foods — although the physical form of food, dietary diversity and presentation may be important in promoting normal feeding behaviour and physiology. Keepers are closely involved in any suggested adjustments as they are usually the first to record any health changes. Since 2007, following a thorough evaluation, the daily diet
This work grew into doctoral research with Dr Susanne Shultz from The University of Manchester and Katie Edwards, PhD student from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology. The aim was to determine the sustainability of the European captive population of Eastern black rhinoceros, and investigate factors that may influence reproduction in this species. The study was conducted on 90% of the European population and several intrinsic differences in reproductive hormones in both males and females were identified including a link between nutrition (body weight) and reproduction; females that had never had young had higher body condition scores, and were less likely to exhibit regular signs of oestrus. Dr Walker added: ‘It is essential that we achieve successful breeding from as many of the rhinos in zoos as possible. To do this effectively, we need to look at the population of rhinos in zoos across the whole of Europe, not just the ones here in Chester. A better understanding of the causes of these differences would be beneficial to maximise growth rates and overall population performance of this valuable ex situ population.’
Chester Zoo’s support for in situ rhino conservation programmes For over a decade, Chester Zoo has supported Eastern black rhino work in Kenya and Tanzania, and for some 6–7 years, it has also supported Greater one-horned and Sumatran rhino conservation work through Save the Rhino. Thank you!
South Africa The biological management
of rhinos in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park Understanding the biology and ecology of species is vitally important in developing effective conservation strategies. For species such as the black rhino (Diceros bicornis minor, below) and white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), this understanding has been developed over the years through research and by learning from the results of various management actions. Dr Dave J Druce | Park Ecologist, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
n the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province of South Africa, this knowledge has allowed Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo), the government agency mandated to manage the conservation portfolio of KZN, to develop management and monitoring strategies for both rhino species for the province. These strategies include a vision, objectives and various population performance targets. The success of the two rhino populations are assessed against these targets on an annual basis.
In Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (HiP), as with other public protected areas within the province, more detailed Parklevel management plans exist, which outline how censuses are to be undertaken, how the data is to be analysed, what monitoring and reporting needs to be done and how A detailed black rhino park removals or introductions
database contains each individual’s history and details of all sightings are to be determined. The HiP management plans for both black and white rhino, purposefully, do not list a carrying capacity limit for either rhino species. Black rhino are individually identified and monitored. To do this, young black rhino are immobilised and a unique pattern of notches are clipped out of their ears. A detailed black rhino Park database contains each individual’s history and details of all sightings. Each time a black rhino is seen, the unique notch patterns and location of the individual are accurately recorded and reported. Sightings are reported by field rangers while on foot patrol, by managers and scientists while on aerial anti-poaching patrols, by priority species monitors, and by tourists. Camera traps also assist in providing additional sightings.
White rhinos, however, are not monitored individually in HiP. Every two years, detailed game counts are conducted on foot throughout the Park with the assistance of Earthwatch Institute volunteers. This produces a very accurate estimate of the Park’s white rhino population. Within the Hluhluwe section of the Park, 2% of the white rhino population is removed annually. In iMfolozi, the removals strategy was informed by research conducted by Professor Norman Owen-Smith many years ago. Here there is a core area, which is assumed will form the hub of the rhino population. Away from the core area are various sinks. The density of rhino in the sinks is kept low so that rhinos can move from the core into these sinks when habitat conditions and social interactions become poor. These sinks have trigger densities that, when exceeded, result in rhinos being removed. A fixedwing aeroplane is used to determine where the rhinos are distributed relative to the core and the sinks. All white rhino that are removed are either donated to other Ezemvelo protected areas or auctioned off to various buyers. The success of these management plans are greatly dependent on the management and scientific teams working closely together and having the resources and manpower to monitor the populations, conduct censuses, store, analyse and interpret data and review the plans’ effectiveness.
Grants We sent £1,300 in emergency funding from restricted donations received for HiP for eardefenders for rangers to wear while at target practice, and for repairs to Section Ranger Dirk Swart’s motorbike. We are currently holding over £11,000, from donors including Safari de Peaugres and the Foundation Friends of SafariPark Beekse Bergen, which will be sent in March, ready for HiP’s new financial year.
ALL IMAGES DAVE DRUCE
Annually, the population performance is determined and 5% of the population is removed to
form new populations, usually on private or communal land. Because the population is monitored to the individual level, and in order to ensure that the population within HiP is not negatively affected by the removals, specific individuals are selected for removal. The success of this process is dependent on good monitoring, which allows managers and scientists to have an accurate idea of the demographics and distribution of the animals.
Namibia , IMPROVING TOURISM S CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS RHINO CONSERVATION Just over a decade ago, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism began developing an ambitious recovery programme to re-establish black rhino populations across their historical rangelands in the north-western communal areas. Lasting success would need to create and institutionalise mechanisms that foster and maintain local community support for rhino conservation. Jeff Muntifering | Conservation Biologist, Minnesota Zoo and Science Adviser, Save the Rhino Trust
ollowing a series of fruitful community meetings and well-orchestrated research on local attitudes and perceptions towards rhino recovery, it became clear that rhino tourism could play a pivotal role in delivering key rhino value outcomes back to local people. However, tourism is a double-edged sword and very little knowledge existed on how best to ensure that anticipated benefits would outweigh the potential costs. Thus, ensuring the emerging rhino tourism would contribute net positive conservation benefits for rhino was paramount.
Improving tourism’s contribution towards the Since Desert Rhino Camp conservation of Namibia’s opened in 2003, desert-adapted black rhino has been my primary focus no rhino have been in my role as Science Adviser poached in the area to Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a small yet successful rhino conservation NGO based in north-western Namibia. In this article, I provide a brief summary on some of the key lessons learned from the past decade of applied research and policy development at Desert Rhino Camp, our rhino conservation tourism prototype in north-west Namibia.
ALL IMAGES STEVE & ANN TOON UNLESS NOTED
Removing the devil in decision-making Catalysed by a thorough understanding of the local rhino context, a new concept for tourism to directly support rhino conservation was initiated and operated under the name Palmwag Rhino Camp (later re-named Desert Rhino Camp) in 2003. The enterprise existed initially as a direct partnership between SRT, a high-end tourism company — Wilderness Safaris, and the government, which would evolve to directly include the neighbouring local communities. The basic idea was fairly straightforward: SRT’s unrivalled rhino tracking expertise would be put to work not only to find and monitor rhinos but, together with Wilderness Safaris’ award-winning hospitality and guiding services, enable high-paying tourists to accompany them on their patrols. The government would get a concession fee and local communities would receive employment opportunities and monthly cash pay-outs (based on occupancy). However, we soon realised that putting
the concept into practice would be challenged by the complex, competing interests and perspectives of the parties. This ‘devil in the details’ is precisely what the conservation and tourism sectors historically struggle to reconcile and is typically the fundamental stumbling block that leads to conservation or tourism failure, or both. Therefore, designing a decision-making process that not only cultivated common-interest solutions but also fostered a social-learning environment would be essential to any lasting and effective partnership and rhino-tourism practice. One of the central tenets of the policy sciences is a theory and practical framework that provides just what we needed: a systematic, transparent and repeatable method for designing and evaluating effective decisionmaking processes. This process consists of a series of decision functions and gold standards such as goal setting and intelligence gathering, discussing management alternatives, setting rules, guidelines and the mechanisms to enforce them, implementing the new policy and terminating old ineffective policies and evaluation (see Susan G Clark,The Policy Process, 2011, for a detailed description). Each function should be discussed collectively and chronologically, ensuring not to leave anyone out or skip a step. Establishing this shared decision-making process from the very beginning has been the most fundamentally important lesson for building lasting partnerships in rhino conservation tourism and solving problems in the common interest. In practice, the process was initialised through conducting joint forum meetings on a regular basis. These policy forums provided a comfortable environment to collectively design, interpret and invoke applied research that would continually improve our practice and strengthen our partnership.
Grounded by an effective decision process and a shared goal to view rhino without our presence being detected, our first study focused on identifying key rhino disturbance factors and modelling scenarios to promote viewing policies that minimise the chances of a rhino detecting the group. Guides and trackers requested ‘rhino viewing cards’ be developed from the data they collected, to illustrate viewing times and distances under various circumstances. Ad hoc rhino viewing practices, of which over 50% resulted in displaced rhinos, were thus terminated. Currently, only 10% of rhino-viewing events result in a site displacement.
Applying rhino research in a decision-process framework
We also agreed that our activities should not permanently displace rhino from the area. Using rhino location information collected by our monitoring teams and GPS tracking devices installed in vehicles we explored rhino tolerance to vehicle activity. This research clearly demonstrated that rhino were actively avoiding areas under chronic (daily) vehicle disturbance. Guides and trackers decided to rotate areas for tracking, giving each area a 2–3 day ‘rest’ between patrols. No rhinos have been permanently displaced and rotating areas also helped ensure that patrols did not only focus on easy to find rhino close to camp. We have also developed spatially explicit rhino habitat models and maps to evaluate whether our operations were indeed securing key rhino habitat. Currently over 300,000 hectares of high-quality rhino habitat is being secured by Desert Rhino Camp and regular monitoring for roughly 40 rhino with no measurable impacts on population performance or distribution is taking place. Most importantly, no rhino under tourism has been displaced into sub-prime habitat or at-risk areas for poaching. Since the camp opened in April 2003, no rhino have been poached. Landscape-scale rhino habitat maps incorporating known human-impact factors have and will continue to help prioritise rhino-recovery planning efforts.
From top: Tourists can visit Save the Rhino Trust’s shop and information centre to learn more about the critically endangered desert-adapted black rhinos. Local people are employed as trackers and guides to take tourists to view rhinos, while also monitoring the species. Below: tourists stay in luxury tented accommodation at Desert Rhino Camp. SRI
However, we still have plenty to learn and improve upon. Although preliminary tourist surveys have indicated high levels of satisfaction, exploring how rhino messaging could be improved using conservation psychology and human behaviour theory to produce increased willingness to donate to rhino conservation or become greater ‘rhino ambassadors’ would be valuable. Additionally, even though over US$0.5m has been paid out to neighbouring communities through tourism revenue-sharing deals since 2007, has this led to increased pro-rhino behaviour at the broader community level? Such behaviour change research will be crucial to ensure that our rhino tourism strategy continues to adapt and improve to secure both the rhino and the local community support they need to survive. We hope some of our lessons learned may help guide the expansion of responsible rhino tourism elsewhere.
Grants We would like to thank all the donors to our 2013 appeal, Operation Wild and Free, in aid of Save the Rhino Trust, who donated a total of over £13,000. We’d particularly mention Woburn Safari Park, which raised an amazing £8,342, Blair Drummond Safari Park (£2,000), Zoo Bassin d’Arcachon and rhino’s energy GmbH. We donated £6,400 from our own core funds, and raised another £3,700 from auction items donated for our annual dinner in November. We’re really grateful to all those who have supported Save the Rhino Trust over the last year.
Rhinos in the classroom
Can education change how people feel? You can’t save animals without changing people. It may seem obvious, as we are the cause of so many problems that animals face, but for a long time conservation has been considered an issue solely for biologists, not sociologists, to solve. Education has frequently been an afterthought in conservation projects: a poster, or a talk in schools, without prior research to find the best method of achieving change, or measuring if there was any impact at all. Kate Oliver | Education Officer, Zoological Society of London
ne of the reasons for this is that achieving valid results in education research is genuinely difficult — it is much easier to count the number of posters printed than to measure whether they‘ve changed people’s minds. But, with experience and evidence growing, the science of studying people is rapidly shifting from a box-ticking exercise to a method effecting real conservation change. In North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) in northern Zambia, one such programme is striving for more than just ‘raising awareness’ — aiming to change attitudes, behaviours, and ultimately save species. The North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP — a partnership between Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zambian Wildlife Authority) runs a conservation education programme in local schools called Lolesha Luangwa (meaning ‘Look at Luangwa’). Over 1,500 Grade 5 (around 11 years old) children per year enjoy weekly environmental lessons in schools, led by their Conservation Teacher (a volunteer from the schools’ staff). NLCP’s Lolesha Luangwa Officer and Assistant visit each school five times a year to give rhino-focused presentations, using the story of rhinos’ local extinction and reintroduction to bring the curriculum to life. Schools join together at the end of the year for Conservation Celebration Days; to perform plays about
rhino conservation, sing songs and display poems and pictures from their work. These are incredibly popular days and attract an audience of families and community members from surrounding villages. By 2012, schoolchildren in North Luangwa had received 10 years of environmental education through Lolesha Luangwa, and it was a popular and informative part of local life. But NLCP felt it had the potential to achieve more. Save the Rhino connected NLCP with the education team at ZSL London Zoo, who sent Education Officer Paul Bamford to Zambia to see the project for himself. After conducting surveys and interviews with schools, it was clear that everyone enjoyed Lolesha Luangwa and children were certainly learning conservation facts. But was enjoyment and knowledge all that was being achieved? The most important foundation of any study is clearly defined goals, so NLCP and Paul drew up aims for the programme:
>Stop Press > Lolesha Luangwa wins 2013 award for ‘Best Education Project’ from the British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) >Stop Press >
If people lose knowledge, sympathy and understanding of the natural world, they’re going to mistreat it. David Attenborough Lolesha Luangwa’s aims ■ To raise awareness and understanding of the conservation
of the North Luangwa Valley, and the benefits that these bring to local schoolchildren and their communities ■ To generate a sense of empathy for black rhinos amongst
local schoolchildren, and to foster responsibility for their future survival in North Luangwa ■ To engender a sense of ownership and responsibility
amongst local schoolchildren for the conservation of North Luangwa, and to promote key messages to a secondary audience Armed with this new focus, Paul set about adapting the curriculum, creating new activities that specifically consider feelings about conservation, and placing a strong focus on the children identifying problems and solutions in their own environment. The new Lolesha Luangwa curriculum hit desks in January 2013, and during its first year we’ve been conducting a
doing well. Quantitative data like this is great for overall trends, but it has limits: it cannot show why the teachers thought this, or why they gave less than a perfect 5! So qualitative data is collected using open questions (for example, ‘How could we improve the programme?’), plus one-on-one conversations to probe further, and to uncover information you wouldn’t know to ask for. Questions are carefully worded to avoid people feeling there is a ‘right’ answer — especially important in Zambia where there is a strong culture of politeness, perhaps preventing real feelings being revealed! So instead of ‘Do you like rhinos?’, we asked ‘Tell me three things about rhinos’ — eliciting some factual answers (‘big’, ‘horns’) and other emotional ones (‘amazing’, ‘dangerous’) — overall giving a picture of how these animals are perceived. All this data is painstakingly entered into spreadsheets and coded, to group together similar responses for example, general positive comments (‘I like the programme’ ), or ones referring to a specific topic (‘The lesson plans were easy to use’ ). PAUL BAMFORD, ZSL These can then be analysed Main: Kate and Paul from ZSL with a group of local teachers give their best ‘rhino pose’
Left: Local children and communities enjoy the annual Conservation Celebration Day! Right: Wildebeest running across the Park
wide-ranging evaluation to see if the programme is achieving its stated aims.
KATE OLIVER, ZSL
The best way to get strongly valid results is to triangulate — to collect data from several different sources in several different ways, and compare. If you get the same results through different methods, they are more likely to be true. We used a variety of evaluation techniques: ■ Questionnaires for teachers, learners, and NLCP staff
to get all perspectives on the curriculum ■ Focus groups and interviews with Conservation
Teachers and NLCP to discuss issues more deeply ■ Children’s workbooks were designed with evaluation in
mind, including activities such as writing letters about their local environment, which can be analysed ■ Interviews with the local community to find out current
local knowledge and opinions about the National Park ■ Studying the dramas and displays created for
Conservation Celebration Days for common themes and content. How do we analyse all this information scientifically? Some parts are easy: for example, Conservation Teachers were asked to rate the ‘ease of use’ of the curriculum out of 5, and we can see from the average answer (4.2) that it is
to give an idea of each opinion’s prevalence.
Full analysis of 2013’s data is underway and is already providing interesting results. Community interviews and learner questionnaires show a relatively good knowledge of and positive attitudes towards conservation amongst local people, but also reveal problems such as crop-raiding by elephants. Many adults identified their children as their primary source of information about conservation, which happily indicates that the programme’s aim of spreading messages is working! But teacher questionnaires refer to some of the new curriculum’s activities as being too difficult, and the children’s workbooks support this, so we have already made changes and cuts in response for the 2014 academic year. What we learn from this study will not only inform changes to Lolesha Luangwa and introduce new ideas, but yearon-year the data will build a picture of how and if feelings about conservation are changing in the area. A next step could be to measure specific changes in behaviour, perhaps by comparing numbers of newly planted trees or levels of poaching year-on-year. So what can studying people achieve for conservation? By evaluating and improving Lolesha Luangwa, we hope to see not only an increase in people’s knowledge about conservation, but a genuine change in feelings, behaviours, and most important of all — a brighter future for rhinos.
Tricks for tracking transmitters, transponders & traps
A hopeful view on the current role of rhino conservationists is that we simply have to keep rhinos alive in viable numbers for long enough that new technology will become available to make our work ten times easier. Raoul du Toit | Director, Lowveld Rhino Trust
he new technology that is most likely to benefit the battle against poachers within Africa will be advanced tools for monitoring rhinos and detecting poachers. The ‘new toys’ for poacher detection will probably be a combination of surveillance devices such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with thermalimaging capacity, and boundary sensors installed around conservation areas to detect incursions.
ALL IMAGES LOWVELD RHINO TRUST
Some of the poacher surveillance options will also be useful
for monitoring rhinos, for example, UAV-mounted infrared sensors should be able to generate a flow of data that can be automatically analysed by customised software to distinguish rhinos from other animals. However, the research-and-development costs of these tools will be high. The costs are not only financial but also require time from overstretched conservationists to streamline practical solutions amidst the growing clamour of technical suggestions (especially from the many enthusiasts who drone on about drones). Meanwhile, we have to keep playing with the tools we already have for tracking rhinos, making them more cost-effective
and appropriate to the varying circumstances that arise in African project sites. Radio transmitters are tried-and-tested technology with ongoing high value in rhino conservation. They are small matchbox-size devices, containing lithium batteries that generally last about three years and with a thin cable aerial, 10—15 cm long. Various ways of attaching them have been
Far left: Rhinos regularly visit dung middens, where they are snapped by camera traps for identification purposes Left: A rhino horn fitted with radio transmitter and RFID system in its posterior horn
attempted, including neck collars. However, African rhinos have sometimes developed lesions from collars. It seems surprising that a pachyderm should be more susceptible to collar-rubbing than, for instance, a lion is. The problem is the very thin skin that a white or black rhino has behind its ears, and the bulging neck shape that pushes a collar against those soft areas. Although neck lesions are especially likely in humid and muddy areas of Africa, Greater one-horned rhinos are regularly fitted with collars without reported problems, despite living in swamps, presumably because they have a different neck configuration. The option that is now routinely implemented in Zimbabwe is to embed the transmitters in a hole that is drilled and gouged into the nerveless base of the rhino’s horn, just above the sensitive germinal layer. The aerial is threaded through another hole that is drilled to the apex of the horn, and a quick-setting embedding substance is poured around the transmitter and aerial. The ‘beep’ transmitted every second or so on a specific frequency (for example, 150mHz) is detected by a receiver, over a range of 5—15 km depending upon factors such as whether the transmitter is mounted in an aircraft or carried
Rhino goodies Fluffy rhinos £7.50 each on the ground. With an aircraft that has antennae on both wing struts (so the pilot can determine the strongest signal direction), it takes on average nine minutes to locate the rhino once the first ‘beep’ is heard. Frequency ‘drift’ is a common problem with most transmitters, but can be dealt with through experience and use of digital receivers that can be scrolled through a frequency range to find the signal. Conventional radio telemetry therefore remains a major tool, limited primarily by affordability given that most transmitters work only for two to three years before the battery fails or the growth of the horn brings the transmitter up to the horn apex where it gets damaged. Therefore, in Zimbabwe transmitters are generally implanted only in rhinos that have been translocated and go through an unsettled phase before developing regular home ranges, or ‘problem’ rhinos such as those that habitually range into insecure areas or have injuries that require frequent monitoring. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems are a somewhat different concept, since these signals rely less on the battery strength of the tag and more on the reader to activate the signal. Each tag transmits a unique identity code but all tags transmit on the same frequency. Because the reduced battery requirements mean these tags can be much smaller than transmitters, the primary limitation to their working life is the time until they are exposed at the tip of the horn, which should be up to four years (especially if embedded in the slower-growing rear horn). Active RFID tags (as opposed to very short-range RFID microchips that have no batteries) are a tenth of the price of transmitters, but ‘off the shelf’ products have limited ranges (around 80—100 m). In areas such as the Lowveld conservancies, these cheap tags have major potential despite their short signal ranges because readers installed at water-points frequented by the rhinos can automatically record the identity codes when rhinos come to drink, thus facilitating ongoing population ‘auditing’. Current constraints of reader battery life and data-logging requirements are being addressed to make this system fully practical. It is feasible for RFID readers to be carried on UAVs that fly in a search pattern to record tags within an extensive area. Another tool becoming standard in Zimbabwe is camera trapping. Automatically triggered trail cameras have become highly cost-effective as a consequence of research-and-development and mass production of these devices for the safari-hunting industry. The tendency of rhinos to regularly use the same dung middens exposes them to identity confirmation from cameras set there, meaning their most private moments are recorded by ‘pooperazzi’!
Grants We are very grateful to Dublin Zoo for its grant of €5,000 and to Knowsley Safari Park for its grant of £6,000 for the work of the Lowveld Rhino Trust.
It’s not all about rhinos… these cheeky mongooses were caught on a camera trap looking for attention!
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Join us! We have membership schemes available from £1 per month for kids, and £3 or £10 per month for adults. New members receive fantastic rhino goodies to thank you for their support, plus existing members can now renew online. To place your order, visit www.savetherhino.org or contact email@example.com or call 020 7357 7474 Sizing and details of garments may vary slightly from shown. Colours shown are matched as closely as the printing process allows. Save the Rhino reserves the right to substitute alternative gifts of an equivalent nature and value. See our website for more details.
HOW MANY RHINOS ARE THERE? Just as an investor needs a full set of company accounts to make informed investment decisions, rhino managers need estimates of rhino numbers (and age/sex structures, mortality data, inter-calving intervals etc.), to assess population size and performance, and decide how best to manage the population to ensure good breeding performance is maintained. Richard Emslie | Scientific Officer, IUCN SSC African Rhino Specialist Group
eople often think counting rhinos is easy; you just fly a plane around a reserve and count the rhino you see. In reality, counting rhinos is tricky, as rhinos do not only occur in open flat areas without trees. Often a proportion of rhinos will remain undetected; either hidden by vegetation or terrain. Some animals may be missed if they are directly under the plane or if observers fail to see them.
Above and right: Rangers on foot patrol search for rhinos and use binoculars for identification
Despite white rhinos being big and preferring open areas, if one flies straight, aerial transects experience shows that in hillier bushveld areas you can miss a ZAM SOC significant DAVE ROBERTSON proportion of rhino (as much as 40% in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park). If uncorrected, such counts simply provide a biased minimum number that underestimates true population size. This is why other methods are usually used to estimate rhino numbers. Some counting methods use a distance-sampling approach where you not only count animals along a transect, but if on the ground you calculate the perpendicular distance of the animals to the cut transect line 1 . White rhinos in HluhluweiMfolozi Park are monitored this way. If in the air, you record rhino sightings according to which band they are seen in as you go further from the plane, to the outer edge of the transect area. In general the assumption is you count all (or most) of the rhinos on the transect line but the further you go, the fewer will be counted. In effect, distance sampling makes allowance for animals being missed further out along the transect and uses all sightings to create an estimate of the true number of animals, with confidence levels. 2 3
Black rhinos are even worse to count from the air as they sometimes only move after being flown over. They also prefer areas with thicker bush. With transect counts, you could fly once over an area and record a minimum number that is completely different to the number actually on the ground. To be useful, managers need accurate estimates of the true numbers and densities of animals. Ideally one uses counting methods, which if repeated give pretty similar results (precise) and estimate true numbers (unbiased). Count accuracy is a function of two things — bias and precision. In some years, visibility conditions or observers may be better, meaning it is easier to see rhino, which can further complicate interpretation of population estimates over time. Generally due to cost, one cannot afford to repeat counts; but if a counting method is repeated and produces very variable results (in other words, imprecise) then it is pretty useless, as managers can’t be sure if differences between counts over time reflect reality or could be a sampling error. Block counting is used to estimate rhino numbers from the air when counting very large areas where ground based monitoring is not practical, such as Kruger and Etosha National Parks. In a block count helicopters intensively fly in a criss-cross pattern within blocks demarcated by GPS. If observers don’t see a rhino on the first fly past, they have a good chance of seeing it on the second or third fly past since it may be moving and easier to spot. It is prohibitively expensive to count 100% of a huge park using helicopter block counts, so scientists usually count a random but significant sample of blocks (or walk distancesampling line transects on the ground multiple times), and use statistical analytical methods to covert the raw data into an estimate of the number of rhinos 4 , plus a measure of the confidence in the estimate. This is usually shown by scientists as a ‘confidence level’. It is not possible to reliably detect small changes in rhino numbers year-on-year using such methods, and this
1 The distancesampling approach
DISTANCE FROM TRANSECT LINE
How to estimate rhino populations in the bush
coupled with the high survey costs is why counts are usually undertaken every two to three years in the big reserves. There is generally a trade-off between precision (tighter confidence levels) and the amount of sampling (cost). Although intensive block counts and distance-sampling surveys both seek to estimate true numbers of animals, block counts are better as they are usually much more precise. However, for most smaller reserves that can be more intensively patrolled, individual identification methods provide the most reliable, accurate and precise rhino population estimates. In many reserves, management may know exactly how many rhinos they have. ID-based monitoring methods start to become impractical in either vast areas or those with more than approximately 400 rhinos.
DAMBARI WILDLIFE TRUST
When observing a rhino, you might see one or more notches cut in the outside of the ear. This animal is individually recognisable. Each rhino (or a sample of the rhino in the reserve) that are ear-notched will have different ear notch patterns, allowing field rangers on patrol with binoculars to easily identify them as specific individuals. Figure 1 illustrates the Zimbabwe ear-notch system. Modern digital cameras can also help distinguish between rhinos that have not been notched (for example, based on horn configuration).
If rhinos are seen regularly, you will know how many there are in a reserve without the need for statistics. You also get an early warning from your monitoring if one is missing. However, even if rhinos are seen less frequently and/or not all have ear-notches, then Rhino Bayesian Mark Recapture software can be used to analyse sightings and re-sightings of rhinos to produce population estimates with confidence levels. Mark-recapture statistics essentially use the sighting/ re-sighting data to calculate the probabilities of there being different numbers of rhinos that you haven’t seen yet. It adds the best estimate of the number not seen to the known minimum number seen, to give a total population estimate.
If we could see the entire rhino population at any distance, this is what the graph would look like
The method also allows you to derive confidence levels around your population estimate. Most rhino population estimates today are based on ID methods, and provided there is ample ground coverage these can be pretty accurate. However, Fig 1 Zimbabwean ear notch system a significant proportion of rhinos live in large populations in vast areas, and here at best, estimates have a certain degree of uncertainty. Thus, when you see estimates for total numbers of ‘true’ rhinos in Africa this represents a best estimate of the number. However, be aware that there is a degree of uncertainty around this figure, given the confidence levels around many individual population estimates (especially of the largest populations). In general, rhino population estimates are more accurate than many other species, and the actual rhino numbers are probably within ±5—10% of the total estimate. Additional information such as mortalities, inter-calving intervals, proportions of adult females with calves and ages at first calving also help assist with interpretation of population trends and performance.
Grants Save the Rhino and USFWS RTCF are each giving $10,000 to support the work of the AfRSG Secretariat for the period July 2013 –June 2014, while individuals have given further donations totalling £874. Our thanks to all donors.
But further from the transect line, fewer rhinos can be seen (counted), so estimation must allow for ‘uncounted’ rhino
We use statistical analytical methods to covert the raw data into an estimate of the rhino population Uncounted rhino
Uncounted rhino Counted rhino
NUMBER OF RHINO GROUPS SEEN
Counted rhino TRANSECT LINE
Events in brief
Thanks to the pupils of Broadford Primay School in Australia who raised £440 through a Save the Rhino activity week. Their creative ideas included a cake stall, a sponge toss at unlucky teachers, a lunch-time disco and non-uniform day
Virgin Money London Marathon 2014 A team of 64 runners will take on the London Marathon on Sunday 13 April 2014, 18 of whom will be taking on the challenge in rhino costume. With an electric atmosphere, London Marathon day is always a great day out – why not come down to London for the day and see if you can spot them? You can make a donation to support the team on our website at www.savetherhino.org/donate
A huge thank you to William Rome, aged 10, who has spent the last four months fundraising for rhino conservation and has raised over £600 so far. William has kindly donated money from pet-sitting and gained donations by spreading the word amongst friends and family
Rhino Mayday 2014
In September, Freddie Menzies cycled from London to Portugal with his team to raise money for Save the Rhino and Shooting Star Chase. A huge thank you to Freddie who raised more than £4,000, an amazing total
Thank you to Plymouth Zoological Society (above), who raised £162 for Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary in Tanzania, by holding a cake sale at their university
Our annual Rhino Mayday will take place on Thursday 1 May 2014 at the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL. Join us to hear top rhino-experts – rhino programme managers, zoo staff, and academics – as they talk about the latest debates in rhino conservation and share insights into each of their specialist subjects. You’ll have the opportunity to join in our lively panel debate and also visit the Grant Museum of Zoology, home to a whole host of weird and wonderful exhibits, including a Javan rhino skull. Tickets at £15 are on sale now. Visit www.savetherhino.org/events or call 020 7357 7474
Feeling inspired to do your own fundraising? Get in touch with laura@ savetherhino.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for school fundraising
Thank you to Steven Wilson (left) who ran the New York Marathon in November. He ran for two charities, raising over £1,000 for Save the Rhino and also fundraising for tiger conservation through the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
PLYMOUTH ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Mat Hartley has raised over £3,000 so far through his challenge ‘Braai 365’. Starting on the 18 May 2013, Mat has held a BBQ (or ‘braai’) every day – and will continue to do so for a year, ending on 17 May 2014. Follow Mat’s progress and give him your support on Facebook www.facebook.com/Braai365
Save the Rhino was the beneficiary of EC4 Music’s Christmas concert, An Evening of Seasonal Choral Music, held on Wednesday 18 December 2013. We are deeply grateful for the support of EC4 Music through this thoroughly enjoyable event which raised £3,800 for rhino conservation. A special thank you to Tim, Andrew and Lowri for their superb organisation, and all the EC4 choir.
Strong winds and seriously tough hills did not stop supporter Carla Dray running the Beachy Head Marathon in rhino costume (below). Thank you to Carla for running for rhinos and raising over £600
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Ride for rhinos We can be heroes!
Save the Rhino is looking for team members for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on Sunday 10 August 2014. Taking place on closed roads, this 100-mile ride through London and the Surrey Hills will test your endurance and give you a day to remember, as you join the buzzing atmosphere alongside thousands of other cyclists.
We kept them a secret until the night, but we can now reveal the heroes chosen by our six speakers at November’s tfundraising dinner. Laura Adams | Events Manager Pen Hadow chose Robert Falcon Scott & Sir Peter Scott In the early 1900s, Robert Falcon Scott led a party to the South Pole that sadly never returned. He wrote a letter to his wife asking her to ensure that their son grew up with an interest in the natural world. His son, Sir Peter Scott, became the founder of WWF.
Laura Adams | Events Manager
What you can expect from us ■ A team evening at our
office to meet other rhino cyclists
Fuzz Dyer talked about Anna Merz Anna Merz was a true hero and ambassador for conservation. Passionate about wildlife, she founded Lewa Wildlife Conservancy’s rhino sanctuary in 1983 with the Craig family. Anna is the reason there are now so many rhinos in Kenya.
■ Regular team emails
from Save the Rhino ■ Fundraising
information pack, magazine and rhino pin badge ■ A cycling jersey to
wear for training and on the day ■ A finish-line picnic on Sunday 10 August in Green Park ■ A thank-you prize for our top fundraiser!
Our 2013 team said... I couldn’t have asked for anything else from the Save the Rhino team. I felt the info in the run-up to the event was perfect, and the jerseys were fab! Steph Smits It’s the first time I’ve actively supported Save the Rhino and I really enjoyed doing so... I would readily do this again, or recommend someone else to do the same. Martin Lawson I thought the regular updates were useful. I liked the jersey very much – good design and good quality. The picnic and refreshments afterwards were a nice touch Michael Stollery
Want to ride for rhinos? Get in touch with email@example.com
Natasha McElhone’s hero was James Miranda Stuart Barry James Miranda Stuart Barry was born a woman, but in the 1800s only men could go to university, so she disguised her gender. She became a military surgeon in the British army. Barry carried out the first caesarean section in which both mother and child survived. Jaco van Gass spoke about true heroes Jaco served on tours to Afghanistan with the British Army, but was injured when a rocket was propelled at him injuring his arm. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond, and true heroes are ones that make the ultimate sacrifice. Ed Smith chose Roger Federer, Richard Wagner and Vikram Seth Ed’s heroes had all gained success, but remained true to themselves, and contributed something original to their field. Roger Federer may be the most successful tennis player of all time, but still demonstrates his love and passion for the game. William Fiennes chose Anton Chekhov Chekov worked as a doctor, but over his life he wrote 600 short stories. His father had to flee with his family to Moscow to avoid debtor’s prison, and whilst researching a story, Chekov travelled to a prison in east Russia to interview inmates. He campaigned for prison reform.
The dinner raised over £45,000 for rhino conservation programmes in Africa and Asia: thank you very much indeed to the speakers, to MC Clive Anderson, to our committee, the donors of auction and raffle prizes, and to all those who came.
The need for boots on the ground As the poaching epidemic escalates, greater emphasis has been placed on technology. Military technology, including drones, thermal imaging and geo-fencing, is all being explored and used with varying degrees of success. Whilst donors are often enthused by the idea of funding technology, it is only as good as the men on the ground who operate it. Sam Taylor | Chief Conservation Officer, Borana Conservancy
Technology should be there to
ALL IMAGES BORANA CONSERVANCY
orana is a fledgling rhino conservancy, and our financial resources are slim. Our knowledge of rhino and their behaviour is limited by our inexperience. However, we hope that through the careful visual monitoring, recording and analysis of data (ours and from older conservancies), we will be able to refine and develop our biological and security management of rhino.
provide additional capacity to rangers on the ground, not to replace them
In recent times, the defining aspect of rhino conservation has become primarily one of Intelligence gathering. The development and training of paramilitary-style reactive and proactive teams have dominated my thought process in the preparations leading towards introducing rhino onto Borana. The biological management has been secondary in my priorities — such is the current horrific state of affairs. However, we have found that these two fields are not mutually exclusive; in fact each is instrumental in the planning of the other. The monitoring of rhino provides not only valuable insights into their behavioural biology; it also provides both incidental and specific indications as to how best to deploy security. Having just 21 black rhino, all fitted with simple VHF telemetry transmitters embedded in their horns, we are able to locate each rhino. We then deploy large numbers of scouts to track the rhino and get a visual on them, which is verified by a supervisor. From the accumulated data, we can ascertain security risks.
Obviously, knowing where the rhinos are means we are better able to protect them. But similarly, by knowing where they’ve come from, and under what conditions, and where they may go next because of these conditions, we can now loosely predict behaviour and help manage risk — predation, poaching or any other threats that affect rhino. However, the principal component is boots — trusted boots — on the ground (pictured left) . These men see the animal, make informed decisions and ultimately have it in their hands to keep these animals alive. They work long hours in testing conditions, day and night, monitoring the whereabouts and status of each rhino. Armed anti-poaching units are deployed at night when the threat is highest. Top-quality but basic equipment ensures that the men perform their job effectively and at minimal risk to themselves. Whilst advanced technology, both for anti-poaching and research, is fantastic, it does not replicate loyal, motivated and trusted men on the ground. I am not arguing against the use of technology to protect rhino, as there are some incredible — if expensive — innovations that are revolutionising wildlife management and security. I am, however, arguing that the investment in the men and women on the ground and their welfare should not be jeopardised by investment in technology. Technology should be there to provide additional capacity to the rangers on the ground, not to replace them. With the large sums of money associated with the illegal rhino horn trade, a huge amount of trust must be placed in the men on the ground. Investment in the rangers, both financially (in terms of equipment and training) and personally (through close working relationships), boosts morale and loyalty to the cause. Once we have the financial capability to protect boots on the ground, then we’ll start to consider putting drones in the sky.
Grants We recently sent over £12,136 (raised by Nicholas Nangunye and from a donated auction lot) to Borana for fencing upgrades, the education support programme and for Borana’s information networks. This will be of direct benefit to the rhino and also continue to strengthen the community involvement in the Conservancy.
Kenya INNOVATIVE THOUGHT TO PROTECT RHINOS Over the past few years, the rapid inflation in the price of rhino horn has exerted significant poaching pressure on global rhino populations. At Ol Jogi, in common with many others, we have been forced to analyse, evaluate and evolve our security infrastructure to mitigate the ever-increasing threat.
Our efficiency might be measured in terms of rhinos lost to poaching as a percentage of our total population; the impact of poaching on our net population growth; and/or our relative success measured against local, national and international trends. It is clear that the strength of individual tools is vastly increased when used in conjunction with other tools. Cooperative and mutual intelligence-gathering between the private sector and the Kenyan government has led us to understand that ‘most’ rhino poaching sadly has some form of ‘inside’ involvement. Rhino poaching cartels now have the financial motivation and backing to economically incentivise sanctuary employees. In doing so, the poachers gain valuable information on our circumstances and rhino security is compromised. According to our information, poaching syndicates actively seek sanctuary employees with the view to financially corrupt them. We believe individuals are being offered large sums of money to sell sensitive information to the poachers, meaning poachers are able to evade all other security tools and ultimately poach our rhinos. In recognition of this theory, we added another implement to our toolbox in 2013. We initiated a ‘zero rhino-poaching-bonus incentive’. Ol Jogi realised it would be very difficult and financially unviable for the poachers to corrupt ‘all’ of our security employees. In light of this, we took a percentage of our security budget to one side. A bonus is payable at stipulated intervals to ‘all’ security employees in equal measure, as long as we do not lose a rhino to poaching during that interval. Those who stand to gain are all people who hold the information that could potentially compromise our security. The concept is simple and aims to create a self-policing mechanism amongst our security employees. We felt that if we added another financial incentive to improve motivation, the Ol Jogi security personnel would actively seek individuals who might selfishly deprive them of their bonus. The fact remains that one or two individuals might gain more by selling information to poachers but, by doing so, they deprive the rest of their financial reward.
It soon becomes clear when an individual suddenly ‘comes into money’ and typically starts to buy material items far beyond their economic means. In such cases, the perpetrator not only lends him/herself to further investigation but also alienates his/her colleagues. Only time will tell whether this concept will work. It is still new and leads to a series of unanswered questions: How much of our security budget can we afford to put into this scheme or withdraw from other aspects of our security tool-box? What is the right balance, considering the level of our current security infrastructure?
ALL IMAGES JAM
often refer to our ‘toolbox’ of security techniques with which we combat the threat. Each ‘tool’ serves a purpose and plays an individual part in offering a level of protection for rhinos; however each tool may become obsolete and relatively ineffectual as the threat evolves. It is paramount to consistently scrutinise our toolbox to ensure that we host an efficient model.
Jamie Gaymer | Warden, Ol Jogi Conservancy
In conclusion, Ol Jogi aims to test Rangers work hard this concept and to protect Ol Jogi’s adjust the balance if rhinos including necessary. Ultimately, Mweiga and her calf we hope to find a (top) and Mbenda more cost-effective (left) from poachers rhino conservation model and if successful, perhaps others can replicate this idea, fine tune it to suit their individual circumstances and hopefully achieve better efficiency by tackling the problem from a different angle.
Grants Ol Jogi is a member of the Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries (APLRS) in Kenya. Save the Rhino has supported a number of APLRS initiatives, most recently the black rhino Emergency Fund, thanks to grants of £5,000 from Chester Zoo, £2,500 from the Swire Charitable Trust and £200 from Matt Todd.
Camera-trapping in the Chyulus The Chyulu Hills’ rhinos are a difficult population to work with; they live in dense bush and are completely wild, unfenced and unmanaged. Their first reaction to human presence is to charge and/or run away. Craig Millar | Security and Field Coordinator, Big Life Foundation
arlier this year, I spent two months in the rhino area, tracking rhino every day. During this period, I saw a rhino on only three occasions and each time I had to climb a tree pretty quickly! On average, the team of 50 rangers, from Big Life Foundation and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) see rhino around 25 times a year.
named four rhinos. One is called Cathy in appreciation for Cathy Dean’s (and Save the Rhino’s) support over the years. Nataana, meaning ‘the close one’, is named for where she likes to spend her time. Dixon is named after the oldest Big Life ranger who started working in 1991! The third female is named after Tara Bonham and gave birth to a calf in November 2013 — the third this year. As I write another two females (both with calves) have been identified and will be named shortly.
This makes monitoring the rhinos very difficult, from both a scientific
we get an additional
ALL IMAGES BIG LIFE FOUNDATION
Using the camera traps,
Using camera traps we get an additional
70 to 100 sightings each year and security perspective. Prior to this year, the only way to estimate the population was through DNA analysis of dung found by rangers. This gave a minimum of 14 rhino in 2011, and was little help in identifying individuals on the ground. The years since 2011 have been tough on rhino and we are no exception; every rhino loss pushes us closer to the point of no return, where the population stops being viable. We lost one bull in 2012 and three rhinos in 2013 (one bull and a mother and calf). The best way to get information on these rhino is through camera trapping. Big Life and KWS now operate 10 camera traps in the rhino area, for both rhino monitoring and security. This year, a monitoring system using a combination of camera traps and track measurement has yielded results — we are now constantly evaluating the rhino population, identifying individuals and keeping track of breeding, territories and habits. The new system has confirmed the identification of 11 rhino, with suspicions of at least three more. The rangers have
Left: Camera traps capture both rhino images and detect poacher incursions Near left: Cathy the rhino, named after Save the Rhino’s Director!
70 to 100 ‘sightings’ each year. While these are mostly at night, many images can lead to immediate rhino identification. And by measuring the tracks from low-quality images we can identify rhinos nine times out of 10.
In addition to the six camera traps used on rhino wallows, rhino paths and waterholes, we have four GSM camera traps on access paths to rhino area, which have been cleverly disguised using old bits of wood carved by one of our talented rangers. These cameras can send images to a phone at the HQ and have already proved effective. In October, a group of poachers went into the rhino area, an image was received and a joint effort by KWS, Big Life and the combined services Rapid Deployment Unit based at Hunters Lodge prevented any poaching taking place and led to the arrest of one would-be poacher. The 10 camera traps have made a massive difference and the prospect of additional camera traps from a ZSL grant to the Tsavo conservation area is very exciting. If this much progress has been made with 10, imagine what we could do with 50! Ideally we will have an extensive grid system of camera traps so we can monitor each rhino to a satisfactory standard. This will lead to increased data for research and more effective security for this special population.
Grants We sent over £12,500 from Chester Zoo towards the costs of building a second, more secure waterhole inside the Park. We also sent £2,289 from USFWS to pay for the costs of three of BLF’s rangers to spend a fortnight with trackers from Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia – report to follow!
‘Treasured’ success We are very pleased to report that Save the Rhino’s recent ‘Treasured’ auction event raised a fantastic £6,000 for rhino conservation.
CTRL “S”, Ekkard Altenburger
‘Vifaru Milele’ – Rhinos forever was the key theme of World Rhino Day celebrations in Laikipia, Kenya, on 22 September 2013. Samuel Njoroge | Environmental Education Officer, Laikipia Wildlife Forum
he celebrations aimed to create public awareness of the plight facing rhinos and elephants, since Laikipia is home to half of Kenya’s black rhinos, including Kenya’s newest rhino sanctuary in Borana Conservancy.
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, Save the Rhino auctioned 16 original artworks on eBay, all starting at a bargain price of 99p! The bidding took place over 10 days, with Richard Long’s ‘LIFEDEATH’ fetching the highest price of all of the artwork — an amazing £1,250.
The use of sports, excursions to wildlife sanctuaries, billboards and rhino exhibitions for children helped appeal to people’s sense of pride. Although Laikipia has several rhino sanctuaries, many people have never seen rhinos and other wildlife found in their county. It is sad that local residents have not been exposed to the landscapes and experiences that tourists seek in Laikipia. The aim of celebrating World Rhino Day was to create exposure and begin to build a sense of pride amongst Laikipians for their wildlife and other natural resources.
All of the artworks were inspired by our theme of ‘treasured’ and whilst one piece was inspired by listening to favourite music (Trevor Sutton, ‘Music 2013’), another depicted the scene of a much-cherished walk (Elisabetta Mutty, ‘Treasured’). The works ranged from more literal interpretations, working with gold, the classic ‘treasure’ (Tennant & Tennant, ‘Well-travelled rhino’ left) and to our delight, quite a few canvases that depicted rhinos.
The Laikipia Wildlife Forum, through support from SRI, celebrated World Rhino Day by engaging Laikipians and mostly youths in sporting activities, including cycling, volleyball and rugby. A huge fibreglass rhino made the rounds in Nanyuki town and villages (below). Kids were engaged in painting and drawing competitions in which they were required to interpret the theme ‘rhinos must live’.
Grayscale, Mr Kobo
Thank you to each of the artists who took part by creating a piece for auction! LIFEDEATH Richard Long
The week preceding World Rhino Day was a good opportunity for Laikipians to see rhinos for the first time. The town of Nanyuki was sent into a frenzy as people tried to secure space on the bus taking people to Ol Pejeta Conservancy, which Laikipia Wildlife Forum uses for environmental education purposes.
Well-travelled rhino, Stella Tennant and Issy Tennant
We would like to thank our partners Save the Rhino and Ol Pejeta Conservancy for being key to the success of the day.
Save the Rhino made a grant of £4,900 from our core funds to help cover the cost of the LWF’s World Rhino Day events.
ALL VIFARU MILELE IMAGES LAIKIPIA WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
Music, Trevor Sutton
Treasured, Elisabetta Mutty Special Memories, Allan Offord
Zoology HOW DO,YOU MANAGE EUROPE S CAPTIVE WHITE RHINOS? Within EAZA (European association of Zoos and Aquaria), there are currently 347 member zoos in 41 countries. One of the important missions of EAZA is sustainable population management. Lars Versteege | EAZA White rhino EEP coordinator and Curator, Safaripark Beekse Bergen
The White rhino EEP was established in 1992 and in 1995 the first husbandry guidelines were published. It was apparent that the species had a very sluggish breeding potential, and many animals had not bred at all. A large effort was taken to improve the breeding potential in zoos, including specialised reproduction research undertaken by the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife research (IZW). From this investigation, it became clear that ‘not becoming pregnant’ has huge impacts on the reproductive tract of a female rhino.
If female rhinos have not bred before a certain age, there is a high chance that they will never breed due to reproductive 275 pathologies. In response, several institutions decided to import young animals from South Africa to ‘kick-start’ 250 breeding, as at that time (1995—2009), the population in 225 South Africa was flourishing. Import guidelines meant that these animals immediately fell under the EEP, without 200 restrictions for recommendations in the Rhinosfuture. This was 175 done to build up sustainable breeding herds in the EEP and increase births to counteract the death of many of the ‘old’ 150 original 1970s import animals.
199 1993 199 4 1995 1996 1997 1998 20 9 0 20 0 20 01 0 20 2 20 03 0 20 4 2005 0 20 6 2007 0 20 8 0 20 9 1 20 0 20 11 12
reeding programmes for many species are used to manage populations the best way possible. Depending on different factors (status in the wild, status in captivity, and so forth) a decision is taken on what level of management is needed. The heaviest form of management is called an EEP (European Endangered Species Programme).
Fig 1 Population growth of white rhinos in EEP programme 300 275
The reasons behind the difficulty in getting young adult rhinos to breed remained largely undetermined, despite the many investigative research projects. With the change of EEP coordinator, more pressure was put on those institutions with potential breeding animals. The initiative to exchange animals was slowly accepted by some institutions and young females were exchanged out of their maternal groups. It was also recommended that young males were transferred to bachelor groups, for which several institutions built new enclosures, and adult bulls were also exchanged to stimulate reproduction.
250 225 200
199 3 199 4 199 5 199 6 199 7 199 8 199 9 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 04 20 05 20 06 20 07 20 08 20 09 20 10 20 11 20 12
As coordinator of a studbook, the first step is to record all animals from participating zoos in a software programme called SPARKS (Single Population Animal Record Keeping System). It is important to have the full pedigree of all animals. The studbook records each animal’s birthdate, parents’ details, house name and transponder number, and all transfers are kept up to date throughout the year. This way, the coordinator knows what is happening with the population throughout the year. To manage a population demographically and genetically, 300 another software programme called PmX is used. In this programme, demographic and genetic data are recorded 250 to allow the coordinator to best manage the population. Animals that have not contributed to breeding are 200 genetically more important to breed than animals that have bred many times, and of course closely related animals 150 By managing a population should not breed together. genetically, a sustainable population is built up.
RHINO KEEPERS OF SAFARIPARK BEEKSE BERGEN
With the new initiatives on exchanging animals, building new enclosures, and greater focus on nutrition, veterinary 50 issues, behaviour, hormonal cycles and so forth, the White rhino EEP has entered a new decade that aims to achieve 0 3 (see 6 7 1).8 With 4 5figure 9 0the substantial population growth 01 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 199 199 199 199 199 199 199 200 20 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 20 20 20 horrific poaching in South Africa, there are great fears for the future of this species. All white rhino holders in the EEP are encouraged to support rhino conservation and educate their visitors about the situation, thereby benefiting the wild rhino populations.
Champions for conservation STEVE & ANN TOON
Thank you to all of our fantastic corporate supporters who have helped support Save the Rhino’s conservation work. Here are just a few of the many ways that companies have been – and can be–inv be – involve olved. d. Josephine Gibson | Corporate Relations Manager
Many of our corporate partners work closely with their customers by donating a r products. Last year, Davmark, a percentage of the sales of thei the e y, agreed to donate to Sav South African printing compan y sold. As part of our diar and r nda Rhino for every cale r. special ‘saving the rhino’ calenda partnership, it also launched a in n atio serv con o rhin ort 95% of its donations will supp Africa, and 5% will support our Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South .za core funds. www.davmark.co
From fantastic designers to financial advice and free advertising, our corporate rtise to provide useful partners share their time and expe Hen is a free-range creative skills to support our work. Red es in providing marketing marketing agency that specialis are very grateful for We or. sect solutions to the charity new corporate Red Hen’s help in designing our creative.co.uk partnership pack. www.redhen
TREVOR COTTRELL, NEWTON PR
Some of our corporate partners g muchdonate directly to us, providin we mes ram needed funds to the prog no ‘Rhi of e rang has a great help support. Victor Stationery able long-standing donor to valu a is and s pad note ry’ Statione onery.com/gb tati Save the Rhino. www.victors
This has been an active year for rs’ many of our corporate supporte rterly employees. In addition to a qua rgy donation, the team at rhino’s ene the t spen lier, supp e al beverag GmbH, the German-based glob and ing train ths mon mn autu fundraising for the Munich 10km run. They combined fun office activities and a Christmas card campaign to raise funds, supporting the Big Life Foundation in Kenya, and our Namibian ‘Operation Wild and Free’ appeal. www.rhinos-energy.com/en
Charity of the year
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Rhino costume In other exciting news, our long-term supporter and veteran rhino-costum e runner, Vinny O’Neill(above), was a high light of the new promotional campaign for sportswear brand ASICS. Our iconic rhino cos tumes can be an entertaining and unusual way for employees and customers to get invo lved with fundraising, whether in a race or an eve nt.
RHINO’S ENERGY GMBH
n runners and cyclists have also Some of our amazing maratho rts for their challenge events maximized their fundraising effo loyers who provide match through the support of their emp funding.
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Tanzania Balancing rhinos, elephants, predators and other animals in
Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary When establishing a fenced rhino sanctuary, how do you maintain the right balance of other species in the ecosystem? Lucy Fitzjohn | George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust
security and administration of the Park in 2008. Herds of oryx are now back on the plains. Herds of eland, Peter’s gazelle, buffalo and zebra are seen in healthy numbers close to the border with Tsavo National Park. The lion populations are slowly returning, having been devastated over a sustained period of time by trophy hunters and poisoned by pastoralists.
hen the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary was originally constructed, it was imperative that the elephant and lion were fenced out. For elephant, this was because the water resources within the Sanctuary would not have been sufficient for an expanding population. Also once in, elephants would have been unable to move outside the fence to their traditional range areas through Tsavo and Mkomazi National Parks.
Elephant herds have also returned over the years (mainly from Tsavo National Park) as Mkomazi is a wet season sanctuary for them. However, over the past year we have noticed much smaller numbers of elephant in Mkomazi. This could either be due to the recent good rains in the Tsavo National Parks, or more ominously and more likely, it is probably due to increased elephant poaching. As we are all so well aware, elephant and rhino have been poached in such numbers that Brave rangers are on the
For the lion, this was because of the very real threat of predation of rhino calves. Actually, we have tragically lost a rhino calf to a pack of hyenas and another to a leopard (an unusual event and a devastating loss). It took a long time, many flying hours and months of foot and vehicle patrols to achieve
Our colleagues in TANAPA
frontline of protecting Mkomazi’s rhinos and other endangered species such as wild dogs (centre)
tell us they have heard rhinos described as
ALL IMAGES SRI UNLESS NOTED
this and finally close off the fence. Most of the wildlife that was fenced in can move through the fence; the ex-Director of Wildlife, Costa Mlay, once saw an eland jumping through! Smaller gazelles also come and go with relative ease, as do cheetah and wild dogs. The Sanctuary’s giraffe population has expanded and their population is concentrated in the centre, close to the Environmental Education Centre. Lesser kudu are abundant, as are smaller cats such as genets and civets. We meet often with the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) ecologists and vets, who have extensive knowledge of this ecosystem and on the management of this area. The Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary is intensively managed by the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust and this works well within the partnership we have with TANAPA and their excellent close management of the overall Park. The Sanctuary covers an area of 55 km2 within the Mkomazi National Park, which itself covers 3,270 km2. The overall habitat of Mkomazi National Park has improved enormously since TANAPA took over the close management,
‘mobile banks’ both are now threatened with extinction. In the wake of the slaughter of rhinos and elephants across Africa comes the deaths of dozens of brave rangers and trackers, innocent civilians and desperate poachers. Our colleagues in TANAPA tell us they have heard rhinos described as ‘mobile banks’. In the field, we have to react to this ongoing slaughter and continuously increase and adapt the security measures in place, along with upholding the integrity of the personnel and the fence. Conservation projects are the front-line and the demands on our resources are immense. We are very grateful to Save the Rhino for supporting Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary over many years, from the early days of clearing the original fence line by hand, to the upgrading of security systems, maintaining the fence itself and with the environmental education programme ‘Rafiki wa Faru’.
with a difference Uganda may not be everyone’s choice of where to spend Christmas, but this year two of Save the Rhino’s supporters, Pam and Phil Hobson, did just that, volunteering with the Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) team situated in the privately owned 7,000-hectare Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Phil and Pam Hobson | SRI supporters
As recently as 1983, the rhino population in Uganda was violently wiped out. Thankfully, during the early 2000s, a desire to reintroduce the species gained momentum, leading to six animals being donated to the Sanctuary in 2005—06; two of which came from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney is just one of the supporters of the RFU’s work. The Sanctuary is, at the time of writing, home to 14 Southern white rhino: three adult males, three adult females and eight young aged between one (baby born 15 January, just 10 days after we left) and four plus years. Another female is also heavily pregnant, due in March/April. As the population within the Sanctuary grows, some of the animals will be relocated to protected national parks within Uganda. As volunteers, we were assigned ‘monitoring of mum-to-be’ duty, watching for any kind of behaviour change in the mother and in particular her interaction with her two existing young. Normally just before a mother gives birth she would force any existing young to leave her, joining another group, so she can focus all her attention on the new baby. Unfortunately during our twoweek stay this didn’t happen. But this didn’t prevent us witnessing fascinating behaviour at close hand including:
■ Some unusual sudden movements by
the mum-to-be, put down to possible kicks from the baby This kind of detailed behavioural study forms part of the 24-hour monitoring of all the female rhinos, undertaken by the 80+ rangers and guides who work within the Sanctuary. Throughout the year, these data are collected and shared with Pachyderm, a scientific journal, to further enhance the knowledge of rhino behaviour.
■ The herding of two young cows by
a juvenile male
ALL IMAGES PHIL & PAM HOBSON UNLESS NOTED
Sharing information externally is just one way the RFU team supports rhino conservation. Having rangers with the female groups 24-hours-a-day means they can offer rhino trekking on foot and guarantee visitors a wild rhino sighting. The knowledge the rangers and guides impart to the visitors about rhinos and the 300+ species of birds found there is vast. Tourist trips to see the primates (which are all some people think Uganda is renowned for) now have a stop-off at the Sanctuary; further spreading the good work being done. The simple but effective 24-hour monitoring, coupled with the community engagement work undertaken by the team, ensures the rhinos are at minimal risk from outside harm. There are also discussions about the possibility of introducing black rhino in the future; the scrubby areas of the Sanctuary would be perfect for them. The Sanctuary may be comparatively small but they are doing great work as the successful breeding programme is testament to. Could this methodology be a cost-effective template which could be adopted elsewhere? We think almost certainly ‘yes’.
■ The charging of the dominant bull when
he thought one of the other males was getting close to one of ‘his’ females
Second from bottom: The Sanctuary’s newest rhino calf, which was born in January 2014
RHINO FUND UGANDA
he trip came about as a result of Phil’s fundraising Arc to Arch Triathlon last summer when he raised almost £1,400 for Save the Rhino (SRI). Quite coincidentally when the money came in, RFU asked for funds towards new uniforms, closely followed by a phone call from Pam asking if SRI knew of any volunteering opportunities over Christmas. A perfectly timed match.
Centre: Phil and Pam with the RFU rangers and their new uniforms.
Our thanks to Phil Hobson, who raised a wonderful £1,400 that helped pay for new uniforms for the Rhino Fund Uganda’s rangers.
■ Interaction between siblings who had not
seen each other for some time
ecies of rhino? sp nt re ffe di e fiv e ar e er th at th Did you know Africa is home to two species of rhino The white rhino (left) and the black rhino (right). Despite their names, there is actually no colour difference between them. It is thought that the world ‘white’ may have come from a mistranslation of the Afrikaans word ‘weit’ meaning ‘wide’, used to describe their wide lip. TOON
White rhino Ceratotherium simum
Black rhino Diceros bicornis
Population 20,405 individuals
Population 5,055 individuals
Weight 1,800 — 3,000 kg Largest rhino species
Weight 1900 — 1,350 kg Third largest rhino species
Found in S Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda
Found in : Kenya, Namibia, S Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi
Pointed, tufted ears
Flattish back, with hump near middle
Elongated head, usually held down
Rounded head, usually held up
Flat, square lip for grazing grass
Pointed upper lip for browsing on trees/shrubs
Calf usually runs ahead of mother
Calf usually runs behind mother
Less aggressive than black rhino
Solitary, more temperamental than white rhino
In Asia, you find three very different looking rhino species Greater one-horned rhino Rhinoceros unicornis
Javan rhino aicus Rhinoceros sond individuals Population 37— 44 donesia) Found in Java (In
Found in India and Nepal Weight 1,800 — 2,500 kg Appearance Greater onehorned rhinos have just one horn. They have very thick skin whic h forms heavy folds, making the rhino look as if it is wearing a suit of armour! They have long lower incisor teeth used in fighting
0 kg Weight 900 —2,30 one-horned ilar to the Greater Appearance Sim e often on t jus d an in folds rhino with heavy sk mp on bu a t jus ve ha en oft small horn. Females grasp to lip ve a long pointed their nose. They ha est branches in the for y the rarest van rhino is possibl Fun Fact The Ja er see one ev le op , very few pe mammal on earth ivity e are none in capt in the wild and ther
rhino Sumatran ensis us sumatr in rh Dicero als 100 individu Fewer than aysia) Population Sabah (Mal (Indonesia), ra at um S Found in 0— 960 kg ly Weight 60 e particular n rhinos ar ra at two e um S lik g ten lookin Appearance o horns, of h tw uc ve m e ha y ar d hairy. The nose, an the rhino’s on ps m s ie bu raised rhino spec the African ve smaller than lieved to ha n rhino is be ra at um nd S la he r living Fun Fact T an any othe th longer th ar E on en be t is the closes mammal. It c ri to is eh the pr relative to ed am ro at o th woolly rhin ice-age during the
How big is a rhino? White Greater one-horned
1.0 m 0.5 m 0
Population 3,333 individuals
Fun Fact Greater one-horned rhino are good swimmers and can dive and feed unde rwater
STEVE & ANN
The name rhinoceros means ‘nose horn’ in Greek
A group of rhinoceros is called a herd or a crash
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VERITY BOWMAN, DAMBARI WILDLIFE TRUST
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Founder Directors Johnny Roberts David Stirling
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COVER: KELLY RUSSO
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