Following in the tyre tracks of Olympic heroes
humans & rhinos live side by side
The state of the
3 15 years. A passion, not a sentence 4 The state of the rhino 6 Rhinos London Marathon Anniversary 7 Zimbabwe The ongoing tale of rhino orphans 8 Zimbabwe Baby steps forward 9 Rocky the Rhino does Hanoi 10 Thorny issues Rhino orphanages:
to fund or not to fund?
1 2 Swaziland Caring for orphans in Swaziland’s Big Game Parks
DEALING WITH DROUGHT
RHINO ORPHANAGE FUNDING?
13 South Africa Dealing with drought conditions in uMkhuze Game Reserve
3 1 14 1 6 18
South Africa On extended camping patrol in Hluhluwe South Africa Off to a flying start
Namibia One voice to save our rhinos
Zambia Lolesha Luangwa’s education centre is fully open for business | Santa’s sleigh
20 Zimbabwe Helping Zimbabwe’s rhinos
and humans live side by side
THE RHINO ORPHANAGE
Going undercover in Viet Nam
2 2 Where the money went 23 Mapping the crime 24 Viet Nam Going undercover in Viet Nam 26 Viet Nam Behaviour change in Hong Kong The Strength of Chi
8 Events in brief 2 RideLondon 2016 30 Tanzania Human-proof fences and hearts and minds in Mkomazi National Park | Nine years of Rafiki wa Faru
3 2 The three peaks – as a rhino! 34 Kenya Helping a blind calf to see and other success stories 35 Kenya Protecting ghosts in the Chyulu Hills 36 Kenya Winning the battle for rangers | Running, Riding
RANGERS ON PATROL
BIG LIFE FOUNDATION
The 3 Peaks
as a rhino!
and kayaking For Rangers
8 3 39 40 41 42 44 45 46 47
Life & Death
Kenya The role of the new APLRS Administrator
Championing conservation across zoos Kenya Improving technology and building morale Kenya A day in the life of a ranger
India Life and death during Kaziranga’s monsoon floods Indonesia Sumatran rhinos: a 10-year plan for recovery Rhino Goodies
Indonesia Creating space for Sumatran rhinos Our thanks go to...
15 YEARS A passion, not a sentence On 1 October 2016, I celebrated having been Chief Executive Officer of Save the Rhino for 15 years. Such a lot has changed since I began working for this wonderful organisation. Cathy Dean | Chief Executive Officer
hen I joined, we had four staff and raised between £360,000 and £490,000 a year. Now, we have seven staff, and raised £1,700,000 in 2015—16. In our first decade — we were formally registered as a charity in 1994 — we focused almost exclusively on the black rhino; now we support all five species of rhino. Back then, black rhinos were slowly increasing in number, after their all-time low of 2,100 animals in 1994. The rhino world’s biggest problem in the first few years of the 21st century was finding enough space in which to put the growing population. If only that were the most difficult thing now: the poaching crisis is threatening all those decades of patient conservation work.
As I’ve just explained to some new members of my team, I think there have been several significant milestones since I joined the rhinos. In 2002, our entire Board of Trustees, together with our Founder Director, our thenEvents Manager and a couple of willing supporters, ran the Marathon des Sables. In rhino costume, of course. They raised an extraordinary £125,000 or so, which gave us the freedom, for the first time, to expand our support to Asian rhino species. In 2005, we successfully pitched to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to deliver its annual conservation campaign, which focused on rhinos in 2005—06. We budgeted to raise €350,000; we raised €660,000. Not only did we form partnerships with many zoos that continue to grow over the years, we were also able to invite field programmes throughout Africa and Asia to apply for funding. Some of the successful beneficiaries, including Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and the North Luangwa Conservation Project, have since become long-term partners.
Bottom: Painted fibreglass model rhinos were auctioned off in November 2016 by Paignton Zoo to raise funds for Sumatran and Javan rhino conservation
I was invited to attend the African Rhino Specialist Group meeting, the first time for somebody from Save the Rhino. The opportunity to meet experts from field programmes, other NGOs, academic institutions and range state governments has been hugely beneficial for our understanding of, and engagement with, rhino conservation issues. In 2012, we made our first grant towards tackling the illegal demand for rhino horn in Viet Nam. Our Managing Director Susie Offord-Woolley leads on this side, building excellent working relationships with colleagues in TRAFFIC in Viet Nam and Education for Nature-Vietnam, and securing a major grant from the UK government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund for behaviour-change campaigns. I am very lucky to have a wonderful team here at Save the Rhino. Although there are only seven of us, we feel like a much bigger family, with former staff staying in close touch, our friends at other NGOs and zoos, and the field programme staff we have got to know so well over the years. I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave. Thanks to all of you for your support.
In 2006, partly as a result of the EAZA Rhino Campaign,
Save the Rhino International is a UKregistered charity which raises funds and awareness for the world’s five rhino species. We work with global project partners to support 17 long-term rhino conservation programmes in Africa and Asia
“The illegal trade in rhino horn has effectively doubled since 2013” “South Africa remains the main source of rhino horns for illegal trade” “Viet Nam remains the primary enduse destination for rhino horn, but there is little evidence of concerted law enforcement action” “China (including Hong Kong) also emerges as the second most prominent destination, although Chinese authorities demonstrate a far more active commitment to prosecution of rhino crimes” And: “Despite some progress, it is appropriate that South Africa, Mozambique, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe remain countries for priority attention by the CITES Rhino Working Group (RWG). Parties should consider adding Namibia to this list because of the recent escalation of rhino poaching. Parties should also consider adding China to the list of CITES RWG countries of priority concern, because evidence has now established a significant market for rhino horn” cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/17/ WorkingDocs/E-CoP17-68-A5.pdf
2016 has the makings of being a momentous year for rhinos. The African Rhino Specialist Group meeting, held in February in Kruger National Park, provided the all-important information: rhino population numbers and trends as of 31 December 2015, and poaching statistics. Cathy Dean | Chief Executive Officer
For African and then for Asian rhinos, it gives rhino population figures per species per country; reports on poaching and illegal killing; discusses the illegal trade in rhino horn (quantity, sources, trafficking routes, seizures in consumer countries, consumer research), trophy hunting; live rhino sales; major conservation actions and field activities; management plans and strategies; rhino horn stockpiles; legislation and prosecutions; demand reduction efforts by consumer countries; and conclusions and recommendations. Among the stand-out conclusions:
Would South Africa table a controversial proposal to legalise the international trade in rhino horn at the CITES Conference of the Parties? And what about so-called “solutions” to the poaching of rhinos?
Would 2016 be the tipping point year, in which rhino deaths (poaching and natural) overtake rhino births? How are the Asian rhino species faring? Would China be pinpointed as a key consumer of rhino horn?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! The rhino poaching crisis seems to have given rise to a plethora of “solutions” touted by an unlikely mix of proponents. Silicon Valley bio-tech companies are busy patenting methods of creating synthetic or bio-fabricated rhino horn; drone manufacturers are two-a-penny; and there was a widely publicised “rhino cam” (a camera embedded in rhinos’ horns to take incriminating photographs of poachers).
…or the catchily named “African and Asian Rhinoceroses – Status, Conservation and Trade, A report from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) African and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups and TRAFFIC to the CITES Secretariat pursuant to Resolution Conf. 9.14 (Rev. CoP15)” is the go-to document.
The state of
But the bio-tech people haven’t figured out their routes to market, the drone people drone on, and the rhino-cam inventors need to come up with a windscreen-wiper that can cope with rhinos’ love of wallowing.
We reckon the best way we can help rhinos is to keep fundraising with everything we’ve got, so that we can help rangers do more of the same but do it better.
MICHAEL J COHEN
CoP17 Doc. 68, Annex 5…
Having well-trained, -equipped and -motivated staff is key. So too is tackling the demand for rhino horn through better law enforcement and behaviour-change campaigns in consumer countries. Better intelligence that can disrupt a poaching gang before they kill a rhino. It will take time, it will take money, but we can save the rhino.
So almost, but not quite, at the tipping point. “The extensive poaching for the illegal trade in horn continues to undermine the rhino conservation successes made in Africa over the last two decades”, said Mike Knight, Chair of IUCN’s African Rhino Specialist Group.
90% confidence levels around endof-2015 continental rhino numbers indicate that there are 19,666 – 21,085 white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) and 5,040 – 5,458 black rhino (Diceros bicornis), with white rhino fractionally down since 2012 (-0.4% per year) and black rhino slightly up (+2.9% per year).
In Asia, the three species of rhino have increased in population size since figures were last collated at the end of 2012. The Greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) now numbers some 3,500+ individuals, and is listed as Vulnerable; the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) remains steady at an estimated 100 individuals; and the Critically Endangered Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus) now numbers between 61 and 63 animals, a slight increase compared with five years ago.
Hillary Messel award Cathy received her Award from (left to right) Ben Okita (Vice Chair), Mike Knight (Chair) and Richard Emslie, (Scientific Officer) of the African Rhino Specialist Group.
While Sumatran and Javan rhinos do not suffer from poaching attempts – in so far as we can detect – Greater one-horned rhinos are being poached in Assam and Nepal. It is believed that this rhino species’ horns are highly prized as being more “potent” than the larger horns of the two African species.
To trade or not to trade?
On 21 April 2016, Cabinet announced that after carrying out an investigation looking into the feasibility of legalising the rhino horn trade, it would not be putting forward a proposal for consideration by CITES at CoP17: “The committee recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns. The country’s strategic approach entails security; community empowerment; biological management; responsive legislative provisions that are effectively implemented and enforced; and demand management.”
In late 2015, we teamed up with the International Rhino Foundation to commission research into China’s potential emergence as a key consumer country.
MICHAEL J COHEN
The most divisive issue in rhino conservation in recent years has been the potential legalisation of the international trade in rhino horn. South Africa, where the private sector manages some 25% of the country’s rhino population; many of whom are in favour of legalising trade, had commissioned a Committee of Inquiry made up of c. 20 experts to consider the issue. For nearly two years, this Committee convened meetings, called for written representations and considered the evidence. It finally submitted its report to the South African Cabinet in early 2016.
Chinese nationals’ involvement in the illegal trade in rhino horn
Here in the UK, this decision attracted little media attention; seemingly no proposal = no news. Quite the opposite in South Africa – and in neighbouring Swaziland, where the reaction was one of disbelief. And a scramble to produce a proposal of its own: “To alter the existing annotation on the Appendix II listing of Swaziland’s white rhino, adopted at the 13th Conference of Parties in 2004, so as to permit a limited and regulated trade in white rhino horn which has been collected in the past from natural deaths, or recovered from poached Swazi rhino, as well as horn to be harvested in a non-lethal way from a limited number of white rhino in the future in Swaziland”. In the event, the CITES CoP17 rejected Swaziland’s proposal, and the international trade in rhino horn is on hold once again.
Although we decided not to publish our findings, other individuals and organisations – such as Karl Ammann, the Environmental Investigation Agency, Esmond Martin and Lucy Vigne, the Natural Resources Defense Council and TRAFFIC-International – have come forward this year with compelling evidence of the demand for rhino horn in China, and the involvement of Chinese nationals in trafficking horn from all over the world. cites.org/sites/default/files/eng/cop/17/ prop/SW_Rhino.pdf
Fans of the TV series Lost may remember the repetition: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Thankfully, rhino numbers are bigger than these, but they haven’t yet won the lottery of life.
Chichester Festival Theatre
he original costumes date from 1989, and were designed by Gerald Scarfe for the musical Born Again, directed by Sir Peter Hall (founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company) at the Chichester Festival Theatre.
The musical was based on lonescu’s absurdist play Rhinoceros, in which all but one of the inhabitants of a small French town gradually turn into magnificent horned beasts. The costumes themselves were built by Niki Lyons, who has also worked on the TV show Teletubbies, and more recently designed costumes for the film Where the Wild Things Are. Save the Rhino’s founders Dave Stirling and Johnny Roberts, not wanting to miss a rhino-sized opportunity, approached Gerald Scarfe after the production had closed, and the Sir Peter Hall Company kindly agreed to donate the costumes to Save the Rhino.
Rhino’s London Marathon Anniversary Every year, tens of thousands of runners push themselves to their physical limits along one of the most famous 26.2 mile routes in the world — The London Marathon. Amongst those thousands are 50 wonderful, dedicated, Save the Rhino supporters, some of whom are a little more conspicuous than others. 2017 will mark Save the Rhino’s 25th year taking part in this iconic event. Where did the idea of running in rhino costume come from? Emma Baker | Former Events Manager Making their fundraising debut, a rhino costume had its first outing at the London Marathon in 1992, worn by William Todd Jones who ran in brogues! Quickly becoming the symbol of everything Save the Rhino stood for, the costumes branched out from the London Marathon and now join marathons all over the world.
to an hour to a runner’s predicted time. The current record is held by Vinny O’Neill, who finished his marathon in the incredible time of 4:17:27 in 2012. Roughly 17 runners complete the marathon in costume every year, and often say they feel like celebrities along the route. The ‘Go rhino’ cheers from the crowd can be deafening and runners quickly realise that they represent the worst nightmare of those around them, who had hoped to complete the course without being overtaken by a rhino.
Could this be you? Read more and join the Save the Rhino team for this special marathon year. Visit savetherhino.org/events or contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
In 1994, Save the Rhino Founder Patron and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author; Douglas Adams, walked to Mt Kilimanjaro in rhino costume. In 2002, a new desert-adapted costume was developed. This new, slightly lighter and more breathable rhino took its first steps in the 150-mile Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert.
ALL IMAGES SRI UNLESS NOTED
Today the crash consists of ten new generation rhinos, the 2002 Marathon des Sables costume and nine of the stalwart originals. Running in a costume is no easy feat and can add up
The ongoing tale of rhino orphans It is seven years since we released the first of our hand-raised black rhinos back into Bubye Valley Conservancy. Some readers of The Horn may remember a story about five hand-raised black rhinos – Lisa-Marie, Carla, Blondie, Millie and Sassie1. Natasha Anderson | Rhino Monitoring Coordinator, Lowveld Rhino Trust
ot all stories of hand-raised wildlife end well, and black rhinos are no exception. Seeking human company, lacking rhino social skills, and naïveté about predators can all prove fatal flaws after their release. Bubye Valley Conservancy has now raised and released a total of 10 black rhino calves, making special efforts to minimise human habituation with the overarching objective of giving calves the best possible chance of reintegrating back into natural, socially complex, black rhino populations.
The first hand-raised black rhinos released in Bubye Valley Conservancy were Carla and Lisa-Marie back in 2009. This pair were released at two-and-a-half years old and remained together for two-and-a-half years until Lisa-Marie wandered off in the company of a bull. It may be that they chose separate areas to establish their home ranges, but evidence does point to The most recently released hand-raised rhinos being youngsters, Sabi and Squirt, were somewhat geographically both less than two weeks old when challenged in the wild, at they entered the hand-raising facility least initially, and these girls possibly didn’t know how to find each other again after becoming distracted, and have remained separated ever since. Both produced their first calves at a respectable age of seven years old, and we await their second calves soon.
Out of the ten hand-raised calves, we have lost two
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Blondie; orphaned at five months old from poaching, was raised with three other youngsters and released as a group of four when she reached two-and-a-half years old. Four months after release, he was hit by a vehicle speeding past a waterhole at dusk. Maybe a wild rhino would have run from the noise of an approaching vehicle sooner? Or maybe people should not speed past waterholes at dusk in wildlife areas. Either way, Blondie was killed. His three companions, the females Millie and Sassie and the young male, Ollie, continue to live together and now, four years later, Millie and Sassie have successfully raised their first calves.
with other rhinos at waterholes without incident. Tragically, two months afterwards, a non-resident bull came to the area and went on a calf-attacking rampage, killing two-year-old white rhino Sabi, and badly injuring Squirt. The bull had lived 15 km to the north for over 14 years without any difficulties, and his actions came as a complete surprise. It is impossible to be certain why this bull behaved this way, but he has been translocated to a new area, in the hope this stops similar behaviour.
Top to bottom: Lisa-Marie and Carla; A calf and her poached mother; Millie learns to take milk from a bottle
The remaining two of the ten hand-raised individuals are Bebrave and Long Playing (BB and LP for short). This pair are quite the celebrities, having featured in a TRAFFICfacilitated demand-reduction campaign promoted by The Body Shop in Viet Nam. Released three-and-a-half years ago, the duo remain companions and are often joined by the area-dominant bull, Romeo. LP is now five years old and believed to have mated recently so we look forward, hopefully, to seeing her first calf in around 15 months’ time.
The most recently released youngsters, Sabi and Squirt, were both less than two weeks old when they entered the hand-raising facility. These two were probably the most challenged in terms of their ability to interact with other rhinos, with next-to-no experience of wild rhino life with their mothers. The pair, as expected, remained together after release and met up A tale of five orphans’,
The Horn, Autumn 2009
Baby steps forward In this time of escalating poaching, a lot of attention is paid to statistics. Every loss is a hard blow. Not only because we are dealing with species’ threatened with extinction, and every poaching death is a step backwards; but also because, often, we are losing an animal we have known for many years. They are not just a number in our population tally but are an individual with personality and a shared history.
Natasha Anderson | Rhino Monitoring Coordinator, Lowveld Rhino Trust n early August, Lindiwe and her calf became victims to the poaching onslaught. Statistically, Lindiwe was rhino identification number 2079; a 25-year-old black rhino cow. Statistically, her calf was her sixth confirmed in Bubye Valley Conservancy. Together they represented 0.9% of the Bubye Valley black rhino population. Personally, she was an inquisitive and gentle rhino I first met 13 years ago when the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT) rescued her with a deeply embedded snare to her left hind leg, leaving a scar that enabled me to identify her carcass after poachers had removed her horns and scavengers removed her ears.
I Left to right: A mother and calf recover in a boma; A rhino poached for its horn is found by rangers
then we see that the average age at first calf for translocated females in these populations is seven years four months (n=19). For females moved when dependent calves (so their mothers provided social stability) or not translocated, the average age at first calf is six years one month (n= 67). For a Critically Endangered species, one extra calf per female is a very valuable contribution. What is known as an “inter-calving interval”, or the period between giving birth and carrying a new calf, is another important indicator of breeding health. The gestation period for black rhinos is 15 months. A normal inter-calving interval is considered to be 36 months with 30 months being considered good. In the populations monitored by the LRT, the average inter-calving interval has been 29.3 months (n=298), with intervals as short as 15 months being recorded. Splitting this data in two, based on births to females that have been recently translocated (but not pregnant on translocation) and births to settled females, we see further evidence to support the value of minimising social disruption.
Various indicators are considered benchmarks for black rhino breeding performance. Seven years old is considered a normal age for a rhino’s first calving. Six-and-a-half is considered good. The average for Bubye and Save combined is six years four months (n=86). Separating this indicator into three groups further illustrates the importance of stable, social environments for black rhinos. If we look at: ■■
Females that have been translocated
■■ Females translocated when they were themselves ■■
a dependent calf, or Female not translocated
The Lowveld Rhino Trust’s rhinos have produced a total of 444 black rhino calves — lots of valuable little steps forward in this race from extinction. Poachers, however, have claimed the lives of 230 black rhinos from these populations; taking one step backwards for every two calves that have moved the species forward. But forward we move. Even if it is sadly without Lindiwe, the future will be with her calves, and their calves.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent $45,000 from Anna Merz Rhino Trust, £6,536 from Knowsley Safari Park and £502 from miscellaneous donation towards ongoing rhino monitoring costs, and €11,248 from Dublin Zoo for payments to informants. Our UK government Darwin Initiative grant from DFiD for the ‘Land harmonisation’ project we wrote about in the last issue of The Horn commences in October 2016. Read more on page 19–20.
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LRT works to monitor and support large (>100) black rhino populations in the South East Lowveld of Zimbabwe. This focus is based on the belief that that strong breeding performance is key to the recovery of this species, and that as a socially subtle and complex species, black rhinos breed best when they can maintain stable social associations. This is achieved when dispersed populations live across large areas.
The average inter-calving interval for recently translocated females has been 35.9 months (n=28); for settled females, 28.6 months (n=270). These shorter inter-calving intervals can add up to multiple additional calves born over the lifetime of a breeding female.
Rocky does Hanoi
Waiting at the airport...
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LOLA HIERRO | FLICKR
Horns are used in China and Viet Nam in traditional medicine and as a status symbol
Rocky received a warm welcome in Hanoi, making some friends as he explored the city
Rocky the Rhino Rocky the rhino couldn’t wait to make the 9,000 km journey from London to Hanoi. Josephine Gibson | Partnerships Manager
After sampling the ous delights of the fam soup le od no Vietnamese black g on str ry ve d ‘Pho’ an ar ge ed up coffee, Rocky was s Race – ino for the Run for Rh ought br d ha t the event tha m Na t Vie to him
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More than 600 people ran for rhinos with Rocky to show their support
Rocky was pleased to join his new friends in Viet Nam championing rhinos and saying “No!” to the rhino horn trade
Rhino orphanages To fund or not to fund? The escalating poaching crisis has thrown a spotlight on the slaughter of rhinos for the illicit horn trade and the threat of extinction faced by these magnificent animals. Katherine Johnston | Communications Manager
ften, the most headline-grabbing stories focus on one of the more upsetting outcomes: a huge rise in the number of orphaned rhino calves. In the wild, rhino calves will usually stay with their mothers for three to four years while they learn the skills needed to become an adult themselves. When poachers strike, sometimes calves are killed for their tiny nubs of horn. Often, they are left to suffer and, even if found nearby by rangers, are in a highly stressed state; severely dehydrated and with injuries of their own. Without the milk and care of their mothers, the future for many orphaned calves can seem bleak.
Across South Africa and other countries, a range of rhino orphanages have sprung up; aiming to meet the need for appropriate care. Many have the laudable, long-term aim of reintroducing the fully grown orphans back into the wild. But how well do rhino orphans fare, and how do they work with in situ conservation efforts? And, most importantly for Save the Rhino International, are they a strand of work we should consider funding?
A welfare need Rhino orphanages bring many benefits, perhaps most obviously in their key animal welfare and husbandry role. And every rhino is valuable — literally and figuratively. With every year that the poaching crisis continues, we are more likely to reach a tipping point where the number of poached animals outnumbers live births. It makes sense to try to save every animal. Protecting overall numbers also plays an important part in maintaining genetic diversity of future populations. Helping orphans to survive and, in future, return them to the wild, could potentially help smaller rhino populations reach the minimum number for genetic viability: twenty unrelated founder animals. Rhino orphanages or hand-rearing facilities also offer opportunities to learn about nutrition, veterinary issues and social behaviour.
Rhino orphans are, of course, particularly appealing to the general public. The antics of well-known calves such as Ringo at Ol Pejeta (which subsequently died) tug on the heartstrings of people who might not otherwise be keen conservationists, and help inspire younger children with compelling conservation education messages.
The best use of funds? However, rhino orphanages also raise important questions about how limited funds are best spent. Do orphanages risk diverting funds from in situ conservation efforts? And are all orphanages genuinely working to reintroduce their rhinos back into the wild? At Save the Rhino International, all grants put towards rhino conservation across Asia and Africa — including our demand reduction programmes in Asia — have to meet one key objective: “to conserve viable populations of rhinos in the wild.” Despite the benefits outlined above, the rise of orphanages has also raised some questions in conservation circles. We have considered how a focus on individual animals can blur the broader issues Save the Rhino stands for. Our approach to how we spend your money is, above all, pragmatic and results-focused. We want to make the biggest impact with limited funds available and believe that in situ conservation efforts still offer the biggest “bang for your buck”: focusing on viable populations as a whole has more impact on the long-term future of the species than preserving individual animals. We have yet to see a proven cost-benefit analysis for rhino orphanages, or evidence that releasing the animals back in the wild can work on a larger scale. Rhino orphanages often experience high up-front costs linked to hand-rearing calves that need round-the-clock care. Recently, SANParks highlighted the huge cost of caring for its orphaned rhinos: R300 per rhino, per day. We have also seen a proliferation of new so-called rhino orphanages offering pay-and-play sessions to the public. Cathy Dean, Save the Rhino’s Chief Executive Officer comments: “Organisations that charge a fee to play with a rhino, and have a constant stream of visitors handling the animals on a day-to-day basis are behaving irresponsibly. This type of handling vastly reduces the animal’s natural instincts and diminishes its chances of learning rhino behaviour vital for living in the wild.”
Now or never A passionate advocate of rhino orphanages is Thomas Ropel, a Googler based in Hamburg, who offers pro bono support to a range of rhino-focused charities in his capacity as a global digital marketing expert. A current project led by Thomas
Left, below: Calf Ntombi suffered deep axe wounds to the head when her mother was poached, requiring daily, intensive treatment to control the risk of infection and sepsis
is The Now or Never African Wildlife Trust, linking a range of orphanages and related organisations to form a joint strategy to support orphans from the poaching crisis, as well as natural causes. According to the team, in South Africa they expect around 300 orphans every year.
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Thomas explains that to have the best chance of success, orphans need to be rescued within 24 hours to avoid attacks by predators such as hyenas, and estimates that around 10—20% of all orphaned calves are currently rescued by orphanages. When it comes to successful release, the Now or Never team has identified a best-practice route for ensuring their survival, from a 24-hour helicopter task force, specialised vets, minimal human interaction after the first year, and release into Save the Rhino will continue to a safe stronghold support the rescue, care, and after three rehabilitation of orphaned or years. “A good rejected rhino calves as part of rhino orphanage larger programmes that support minimises wild populations of rhino rhino-human interaction” says Thomas. “Rhino calves aren’t pets and tourists shouldn’t be admitted. A good project will have the required expertise and experience — including equipment — and the clear commitment and objective to release the orphan back into the wild.” One of the first orphanages to have joined the Now or Never Trust’s network is The Rhino Orphanage. Set up as a specialised and non-commercial centre, the team has one aim: to rehabilitate calves back into the wild. Laura Ellison, a carer for calves, explains: “We have to be sure of normal development of natural and social behaviours and interactions, as well to ensure minimal human imprinting.” To reduce this risk, The Rhino Orphanage is not open to the public or paying volunteers. Calves are allocated set human carers without interaction from other staff, and interaction is limited to specific areas, such as bomas.
“I had worked with rhinos in a zoo before coming to The Rhino Orphanage and working here has exposed a whole new repertoire of behaviours displayed by rhinos, whether it be the trauma you witness when they first arrive, or observing their social structure and the development of their unique bonds formed with other rhinos.” The complexity Laura describes is exactly why rehabilitation poses huge challenges, not least financial.
The way forward? Save the Rhino’s primary focus will always be on in situ conservation projects and tackling the root causes of the horn trade through education work in countries where demand is highest. Our focus will not change to prioritise animal welfarefocused charities, but we certainly will continue to support the rescue, care, and rehabilitation of orphaned or rejected rhino calves as part of larger programmes that support wild populations of rhino. Whether stand-alone orphanages ever become partners in our work or not, we certainly wish the dedicated professionals making a difference to rhino calves all the best in their work.
Rhino projects The Rhino Orphanage is based in Limpopo, South Africa, founded by Arrie Van Deventer in 2012 and is the first specialist, dedicated, noncommercial centre for orphaned rhino calves requiring hand rearing and rehabilitation. The Now or Never African Wildlife Trust aims to connect all critical organisations on the ground to safeguard all rhino orphans by solving current problems within the rescue chain.
Swaziland Caring for orphans in Swaziland’s Big Game Parks The sun was scorching, the dry earth felt hard-packed beneath my boots, and the grasses were unusually low. It wasn’t hard to spot the effects of the drought as I surveyed my surroundings in Big Game Parks (BGP), Swaziland.
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Josephine Gibson | Partnerships Manager
ow rainfall across Southern Africa has had dire consequences on BGP, putting pressure on the land and severely depleting food and water sources for rhinos and other wildlife. Mick Reilly, BGP’s Head of Conservation and Security, and his team have had to manage an ecosystem under strain from the drought; taking decisions such as translocating rhinos to areas with more browse, and providing supplementary feed for the rhinos.
Top to bottom: The new ranger outpost; Snares found by rangers; A rescued rhino calf; Rhino calves suffer from the poaching crisis and drought, with their mothers unable to care for them
It’s not just the drought that is putting the rhinos in BGP at risk; there is also the constant threat of poachers. Like Kruger National Park, Swaziland shares a border with Mozambique, where many of the rhino poaching gangs originate. Rangers carry out regular anti-poaching patrols for rhinos and other wildlife. I was shocked to see tall towers of wire snares, left by poachers to trap wildlife, which rangers have found on routine patrols over the years. Another troubling consequence of the poaching crisis and drought are the rhino calves left orphaned after their mothers die from poaching attacks or who are too weak from the drought to raise a calf. With no chance of survival in the wild, Mick and the team have stepped in to care for two rhino calves until they are strong enough to be released back into the parks. Looking after rhino calves is a full-time job. A team works around the clock to feed them every few hours and ensure their security. During my stay, I helped on the 9 pm, midnight, 3 am and 6 am feeds; when Mick emailed beforehand to ask if I would mind doing some “babysitting”, I hadn’t quite guessed what he meant! The level of dedication I witnessed by Mick, his family and team was outstanding. This couldn’t be further from a 9 to 5 job.
During my stay, I was lucky enough to meet some of the dedicated rangers who risk their lives to protect Swaziland’s black and white rhinos and see first-hand the difference that donations by Save the Rhino’s corporate partner Sporting Rifle and its readers have made in helping the rangers’ antipoaching and monitoring activities. Mick Reilly adds, “The rangers who go out every day and night, come rain or sunshine and risk life and limb to protect Africa’s rhinos are often a forgotten force in the daily hum-drum and hype created around rhino conservation. These men take the brunt of the escalating conflict and remain the true heroes in the fight of life and death. The readers of Sporting Rifle should therefore rest assured that the support provided to these men is highly appreciated by Swaziland’s rangers as well as the management of BGP”. I also visited remote ranger outposts used as bases for patrols, some of which were upgraded thanks to Sporting Rifle’s donations. Due to the threat of night-time incursions into BGP, one camp was constructed to house the sleeping quarters on the roof. By elevating themselves at night, rangers are more easily able to hear any disturbances from intruders or gunshots and survey the land. Some camps also have solar panels to provide renewable energy for lighting and radios. With strong conservation efforts, BGP has thankfully not suffered any poaching losses since a rhino was killed in 2014. Dedicated efforts by rangers and other agencies, coupled with political support of King Mswati III and strong legislation to prosecute poachers has provided a tough stance against poaching in the country. During the last 22 years, only three rhinos have been poached in Swaziland, a stark contrast to the 1,175 rhinos illegally poached in neighbouring South Africa last year. The dedicated team at BGP are working hard, but continue to need our support to provide high levels of protection and management of rhinos in areas affected by the drought.
Grants Since November 2015, Sporting Rifle and its readers have raised £10,657 for Big Game Parks’ rhino conservation work.
South Africa Dealing with drought conditions in uMkhuze Game Reserve Usually we’d be looking at thigh-high grass at this time of year,” said Eduard Goosen, uMkhuze’s Conservation Manager. “But we’ve had severe drought for the second year running, and the animals are suffering.” Cathy Dean | Chief Executive Officer
Main, right: Varied ration packs help boost rangers’ morale while out on extended patrols, but many of the camps lack sports equipment, games or even a communal dining area
After a briefing in his office, Eduard laid on a Grand Tour that included visits to several ranger camps to see the impact of our grants: solar panel installations, boreholes and pumps, water tanks, new lighting and power sockets for charging radios and torch batteries, and a new hangar for the helicopter to be based in uMkhuze. While all of that was very gratifying, it was brought home to us just how tough
the rangers’ lives can be. They’re rotated through different camps every six months, and there aren’t a lot of entertainment options for them when off duty. We would dearly love to be able to fundraise for a few “luxuries” to improve their morale: a dartboard, basketball hoop, gym equipment… Anyone out there? uMkhuze has black and white rhinos. Only 80 km from the Mozambique border, the Reserve is roughly rectangular in shape, and a quick-footed poacher can run from the middle of uMkhuze to the relative safety of the boundary in less than an hour. While canine units have been effective in other rhino sanctuaries, we understood why they wouldn’t work here: by the time rangers had heard gunshots and deployed teams, the poachers could be long-gone. The helicopter, however, will come in handy. Despite Eduard’s best efforts, we didn’t see a rhino — black or white. Extreme drought had forced Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the state department that manages KZN’s parks and reserves, to translocate white rhinos out uMkhuze and into neighbouring iSimangaliso. Grazers rather than browsers, white rhinos are particularly affected by any loss of grass cover. Black rhinos (browsers) can survive drought conditions better, but they kept themselves hidden.
ALL IMAGES SRI
Thank you to rhino’s energy GmbH for its continued support kindly donating €1,000 each quarter. Last year it donated €2,000 for the Rhino Dog Squad campaign, helping towards veterinary care, equipment and training, and €2,000 for vital equipment for rangers in uMkhuze Game Reserve, South Africa
t was late February, and I was in uMkhuze with colleagues Susie and Josephine, and Save the Rhino Patron Friederike von Houwald from Basel Zoo, at the end of a South African trip that had included the African Rhino Specialist Group meeting and a trip to KwaZuluNatal’s flagship, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. We’d begun to help Eduard with his annual proposals to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2014, and have since found other donors for the Reserve, but this was our first visit and we were keen to explore further.
Mantuma Camp has basic but comfortable cabins to rent but the real highlights are the impressive hides built out over some of the waterholes, the perfect spots from which to gaze at the day-long procession of animals and birds coming in for a drink. The Fig Forest Trail, which takes you up into the canopy, is wonderful, and we got envy-making sightings of Rudd’s apalis but missed the Pel’s Fishing Owl. Above all, we were extremely impressed the hard-working rangers, Lawrence and Pila from the anti-poaching units, the Park Ecologist Bridget and Honorary Rangers that we met, led by Eduard. On our first night, Eduard had invited 20 or so people, plus us, to a braai at his home. A prayer for the safety of his team, beers round the fire and some of South Africa’s finest outdoor cooking. We were so pleased that we have been able to recruit donors for uMkhuze: it may be the little, less well-known brother of Hluhluwe, but it deserves our support.
Grants Since November 2015, we have made various grants to uMkhuze: $35,565 from USFWS for communications equipment, tactical jumpsuits and solar panel installations, €2,000 from rhino’s energy, €1,500 from Zoo Madrid and Parques Reunidos Foundation, £1,812 + €5,000 from Stichting Wildlife and £2,068 from our own core funds for other kit items.
On extended camping patrol in Hluhluwe Field Rangers Sihle and Bhekisisa wake up at the crack of dawn. They have all their kit packed to last for another four days out in the Park overnight, patrolling an area they know is very vulnerable to rhino poaching incursions. Dirk Swart | Section Ranger, Manzibomvu, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park Main, left: New tents, rifle-mounted tactical torches and ration packs for the Park’s field rangers and antipoaching units
y now, they are accustomed to extended camping trips, often journeying out into the wilderness with little notice, but they know that the only chance we have of catching poachers — and preventing rhino deaths — is for us to go where they operate.
Five years ago, the only teams camping in tents in the Park were the specialised anti-poaching units, who would, from time to time, visit these danger spots. Now, the poaching crisis has put pressure on everyone to have a 24/7 presence in danger zones or accept the possibility of finding butchered rhinos the next day. The escalation of rhino poaching has forced a change in tactics and our patrol methods.
ALL IMAGES DIRK STEWART
At the early stages of the crisis, in the mid2000s, field rangers would often come across a rhino carcass a week or even longer after it had been killed. The teams almost never investigated the crime scene in the immediate aftermath. How things have changed. Field rangers in some sections are camped for up to 12 days per month in areas known to be targeted by poachers, especially around the full moon (also called a “poacher’s moon”) when criminals are perceived to be more active. Rangers working deep within the Park, for days at a time, are in a much stronger position to identify suspect activity, hear gunshots, or pick up on any other signs of illegal incursions into the Park. Now, if a rhino is poached, its carcass is usually uncovered within a day, or at least less than a week, due to a combination of highly-focused field ranger patrols and the hawk-eye view brought to us by aerial surveillance. Working with a fresh crime scene means fresh evidence is collected. In turn, this means we have a better chance of identifying the perpetrators, and the criminal groups involved in the relentless drive to profit from
the rhino horn trade. This is just one way Save the Rhino International and people like you, its donors, have enabled us to improve our work. We now have a spotter aircraft, new camping equipment, safety tactical equipment for night-time operations, ration packs of lightweight food for long missions away from home, and many other essentials that, when pieced together, have allowed the field ranger force in the Park become better equipped, more prepared and motivated. Thank you.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent the following to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park: £7,680 from miscellaneous donations and our “Help a Ranger Save a Rhino” appeal; £1,423 from Boras Djurpark, £1,835 from Zoo Zlin, €2,771 from Zoo-Salzburg, €2,000 from Zoo de la Boissiere du Doré, $515 from SRI Inc., £911 from West Midland Safari Park, $1,387 and £16,174 from Just Wheels & Tires, £5,448 from Colchester Zoo for canine units equipment, solar system gear at rangers’ camps and ration packs, $50,000 from USFWS RTCF for roof repairs, solar panel installation, water tanks and stands etc. at ranger camps, and another $35,957 for a new vehicle, €2,500 from Parc de Lunaret – Zoo de Montpellier, and £468 from Hamilton Zoo.
Off to a flying start The alarm goes off at 3.30 am. I have a quick shower and get dressed. At long last, after a year and half of hard work and preparation, it’s time to pick up a new spotter plane, a light aircraft, to help anti-poaching operations in HluhluweiMfolozi Park in my home country of South Africa. Dirk Swart | Section Ranger, Manzibomvu, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Top, below: The new Savannah S light sport aircraft, shown below outside the hangar at Hluhluwe airfield, provides valuable “eyes in the sky” over the Park
In the afternoon, I spend time getting used to this specific model, and practise my flying skills. Then, it’s time to sign the paperwork and plan my flight back with Noel the next day. John, pleased to see that the plane will make such a difference to South Africa’s rhino population, invites me to spend the evening with him and his family. As dusk falls, we hope for good weather. Sure enough, next day the weather is clear, and Noel and I can fly back to KwaZulu-Natal. Climbing high, the flight goes very well with us chasing behind a storm front, with a nice tailwind to push us along. Our journey takes us along the Wildcoast, or Transkei area, passing stunning landscape along a rugged coastline, including the famous “Hole in the Wall”; a hole burrowed through an isolated cliff island a few hundred metres out to sea, and passing a cascading waterfall plummeting from the cliffs straight into the ocean. After a pit stop at Port St John’s and lunch at Margate, a town on Kwa-Zulu’s south coast, we head inland to Cato Ride, near Pietermaritzburg, to drop Noel back home. By now, I am feeling pretty confident but, as it is getting late and we have flown for about four hours, we decide to wait until the next day, depending on the weather, for me to fly the plane solo for the first time. The next day, I attempt the last leg of my flight to Hluhluwe, with a flyover before landing. As I touch down on the airstrip, I am met by the Hluhluwe Honorary Officers, my manager and some Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife staff, shake hands, and then put the aircraft away in its own newly renovated hangar once used for the previous spotter aircraft.
ALL IMAGES DIRK STEWART
A big thank you to Black Rhino Wheels for generously donating £17,142.87 by donating 5 Rand from each sale of its Black Rhino truck wheels to help rangers protect rhinos in HluhluweiMfolozi Park, South Africa. Black Rhino Wheels designs and manufactures aftermarket wheels for off-road trucks and SUVs and was inspired to help save its namesake
irst of all, I need to pick up safety pilot Noel, who is based at Light Flight near Pietermaritzburg. I feel it prudent to take an experienced person with me on my maiden flight back to our ranger base. Together, we travel to East London — the town in the Eastern Cape, rather than the hipster part of London UK — and at the airport, the aircraft’s manufacturer, John Waterson, picks us up and takes us to see our new plane; the Savannah S light sport aircraft.
Since then, I have done a few hours of circuit work to get used to take-off and landings, practised stalls and steep turns and all the necessary skills to be able to fly safely over huge tracts of land. A few days later I put this into action: patrolling Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Starting off with boundary fence patrols, I then monitor the corridor road that splits the Park in two. It feels good to be able to assist the rangers on the ground from the air again. From high, we can cover more land, see more signs of illegal activity, and make sure we have the biggest geographical coverage and best intelligence possible. My aim now is to continue to gain experience with my flying, and keep supporting the team as much as possible.
Thanks Thanks to Save the Rhino International, USFWS, the Anna Merz Rhino Trust and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, for making this possible.
One voice to save our rhinos as SRT revises strategic plan
Lazarus Hoxobeb, Headman of the ≠Khoadi-//Hôas Conservancy, knows that the safekeeping of rhino is absolutely crucial to Namibia – not only for future generations, but also for the local economy. The presence of rhino brings tourism to the area, which results in job creation. This, in turn, supports local empowerment and improves living conditions in this secluded part of the country. Marita van Rooyen | Communications/PR Coordinator, Save the Rhino Trust
The Kunene Region, where Chiefs are guardians of the land, is arid, desolate and exudes an unforgiving harshness. However, despite its hostility, it features a remarkable selection of plant and wildlife species, and is home to the last truly wild population of any rhino species on the planet; the largest to persist outside national parks. The country itself hosts 34% of the world’s remaining black rhino population (Diceros bicornis), and 90% of the southwestern subspecies (Diceros bicornis bicornis). As a result, Namibia’s success in protecting the species from extinction has landed it a prominent position in the global spotlight. But these men know that protecting such a valuable resource is no easy task. Such high demand for rhino horn, at a price that is often difficult to resist, means that the threats these animals — and those who protect them — face are often immense. To help overcome these challenges, in August 2016, Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) launched a national outreach campaign to take a stand in support of rhino conservation and against poaching. With this campaign, we aim to boost information sharing and education, and build a sense of rhino custodianship nationwide. Furthermore, SRT is currently revising its internal strategic plan with the help of key Save the Rhino Trust’s monitoring and protection work is supported by Rhino Rangers recruited from local communities and by tourism operations; The Kunene Region’s rhinos range over particularly large territories
conservationist and rhino expert, Dr Rob Brett. Dr Brett is a long-standing member of the African Rhino Specialist Group, also responsible for developing the Kunene Rhino Data Base, and is Director of Fauna & Flora International’s Africa Programme. The plan will be implemented within the coming months, and to help his review, a Strategic Planning Workshop was held in July at Wêreldsend, in the heart of rhino country. The workshop discussed the future of the desert-adapted black rhino, how to strengthen collaboration between stakeholders, reviewed policies, and highlighted strategic objectives for the next five years. Key partners from the Kunene and Erongo Regions were also invited to participate, and the event was well attended by the traditional authorities, conservancy leaders, tourism enterprise owners, representatives from NGOs and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). Whilst there was a clear consensus on the importance of safekeeping Namibia’s rhinos, it was also agreed that the role of information sharing, education, and capacity building and training should be strengthened.
oxobeb is not the only one who feels strongly about the protection of the world’s last freeroaming black rhino population. Chief Josef Max Haraseb, of the /Ao-Daman, and Chief Petrus Ukongo, of the /Ao-Daman, share his sentiments. As custodians of the land, the Chiefs speak for their people when they stress, “We are all working together towards zero poaching and will do whatever it takes to protect our rhino.”
If the rhino is not there anymore, what will be left for our youth to conserve, protect, and be proud of?
“How sad would it be if our children will one day only be able to see images of rhinos in books? And how would we then explain to them why we didn’t take proper care of these animals?” said Gerson Namiseb. As representative of the Doro Nawas Conservancy, Namiseb understands the importance of rhino conservation, but highlighted the necessity of spreading this message to the people living within rhino area. “Community members need to be more involved in the protection of rhinos. Only then will they understand the value of taking care of such a special species.” The Chiefs and all other people in attendance at the workshop also supported the “No Bail for Rhino Poachers” action taken by MET. We believe that if released on bail, poachers only go back and interfere with the investigation, or worse, go back to targeting rhinos. All in all, the stakeholders agreed that rhinos are a valuable resource and should be taken care of accordingly. Simson Uri-Khob, CEO of SRT, summarised the common feeling by stating, “These rhinos do not belong to a single group or government. They are a national asset belonging to each and every Namibian, and we should be proud of having this very rare species in our country. We can only combat the crisis by working together.” Working closely with MET, Save the Rhino Trust, with support from WWF, IRDNC, NACSO, conservancies and local community members, is proud to be part of ensuring that Namibia’s rhino population has grown and expanded over the past three decades.
Since November 2015, we have sent £750 raised at our annual dinner, £4,051 in miscellaneous donations, £2,000 from Madeleine Scott, £7,750 from the Desert Heart party, €2,000 from Zoo Krefeld, £3,250 from core funds, $25,000 from the Glen and Bobbie Ceiley Foundation, and $94,814 from USFWS RTCF, all to help cover SRT’s ongoing operating costs.
ALL IMAGES DAVE HAMMAN UNLESS NOTED
The Strategic Planning Workshop and Dr Brett’s fact-finding mission to Namibia was generously supported by Flora & Fauna International, Save the Rhino International, Save African Rhino Foundation Australia and Nicolas Duncan, the David Shepherd Wildlife Trust, B2Gold, and IRDNC.
Zambia Lolesha Luangwa’s education centre is fully open for business It’s been a labour of love, and taken longer than we wanted, but the doors are finally open for the Lolesha Luangwa education centre. The construction and fit out has been a multi-donor project over many years and it’s still evolving, but everything we had down on paper is now a reality. Claire Lewis | Technical Advisor, North Luangwa Conservation Project
e’ve wanted to bring school children into North Luangwa National Park (NLNP) for many years, but had neither the vehicle nor facilities to transport or house the trips. So the fundraising began and, thanks to USFWS, in 2013 we bought an exoverland safari truck, to which we added seatbelts and a PA system so we could safely deliver the children into the Park, down the Muchinga escarpment. The visits began in the dry season 2014, but it soon became apparent the facilities we had were inadequate for the scale of the trips. Each visit brings in two teachers and 20 school children, a Department of National Parks and Wildlife officer, and a cook, each needing a bed, feeding and bathroom facilities. The tired old rondavel chalets we had were cramped and dark, and the two wood-fired showers struggled to cope with the volume of showering at the end of hot and dusty days.
Main: Games and quizzes help deliver conservation messages to the visiting school children, during a trip they will remember for the rest of their lives
So we began another round of fundraising to upgrade services — a new borehole and water tank, a 200-litre solar geyser and a huge solar panel set up with deep-cycle battery bank for lighting and plug points. We designed a new layout for a purpose-built Lolesha Luangwa education centre incorporating two dormitories (girls and boys) with five bunk beds in each, complete with mattresses, mosquito nets, and animal-print bed linen. New showers and toilets were built, as were individual rooms for the teachers, DNPW officer and cook. While we were at it, we included a new room for the Lolesha Luangwa officers, Sylvester and Michael, a store with shelving and solar powered deep freezer, a dining area, a kitchen prep area and an outdoor (traditional) kitchen nsaka with fuel-efficient stoves. Phew! But although the best teaching resource is surely the Park itself, we needed to create a space for more formal sessions within the choreography of the visits. We had a building that had been used variously as a teaching space, temporary accommodation, store room, anything really, but the bottom line was that it was big enough to house an office, store and classroom for the LL visits. It needed some TLC and refitting — new roof and insulation, replastering, removal and redesigning
of windows, and smashing out some old cupboarding — but once all that was done we were ready for some creative input. Vic Guhrs, a friend and long-time Luangwa Valley resident, kindly offered his services to paint the classroom. Vic is a renowned wildlife artist and we are very lucky he’s doing this for us. His style and intimate knowledge of the wildlife and landscape of North Luangwa means he is able to capture the light and colours so well that the views through the windows perfectly match the painted walls. The room has been designed to flow from the doorway (village) through rivers and waterways on the left-hand wall with people fishing and washing, to forests and the escarpment on the right showing firewood collection and caterpillar harvesting, to the National Park full of animals on the opposite wall. Elements of the Lolesha Luangwa curriculum have been included in the paintings to aid Sylvester’s teaching and provoke discussion from the school children. As this edition of The Horn goes to press, we are about to receive Ruth Desforges, from the Zoological Society of London, who mentors and supports the monitoring and evaluation of Lolesha Luangwa, to go through the room, the resources and the school trips to refine, refocus and refresh the formal sessions to better use the room and give us some more ideas on an interactive teaching and learning space.
Thanks and grants Since November 2015, we have sent £3,664 raised by three Artillery staff members who ran the London Marathon in 2015, €738 from rhino’s energy, $20,000 from Disney Conservation Fund, £2,000 from Ales Weiner and $22,780 from USFWS RTCF. Previous grants from Disney, USFWS, the de Brye Charitable Trust and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund also contributed to the development of the education centre. We are very grateful to Vic Guhrs who did the painting. Thanks also to Ruth Desforges and ZSL for its input into the programme.
Rhino goodies IDEAL CHRISTMAS GIFT . . . IDEAL CHRISTMAS GIFT . . . IDEAL CHR
Santa’s sleigh NLCP
Faster with rhinos than reindeer
Congratulations to Lolesha Luangwa’s Education team! We are thrilled that Sylvester Kampamba (above), Lolesha Luangwa’s Education Officer, came third in the Rhino Conservation Awards’ category for “Best Education, Awareness and Fundraising.” Sylvester was also chosen as one of the 2016 Disney Conservation Heroes, winning $1,500. Congratulations to Sylvester, and not forgetting Michael Eliko, Lolesha Luangwa Schools Officer, and Claire Lewis,
By purchasing a Little Ndaba rhino toy you’re helping to support both rhino conservation and women’s entrepreneurship in Zambia. Grace Dibden | Former Michael Hearn Intern Little Ndaba produces a huge range of toys for children, all designed and hand-crafted by its members using 100% organic cotton. A growing number of women’s groups in rural villages are joining the scheme, benefitting from extra income and flexible work. As well as bringing financial empowerment, learning new skills is building their confidence (below). Little Ndaba’s knitted and crochet rhino toys joined the Save the Rhino family in late 2015 and have been flying off the shelves ever since! These special little rhinos are each named after individual rhinos monitored in the North Luangwa National Park in Zambia and come with their own unique history.
who together make the programme such
Show support for Save the Rhino and the Zambian women’s group by purchasing these adorable rhino toys from our online shop.
Kango Kango, meaning ‘chief’, was born in South Africa. Since moving to the Park, Kango has never become a dominant male and suffers at the horns of his rivals. Luckily, protection from the rangers means that he is able to lead a less stressful life with additional support and food provided to him.
Intanda Intanda, meaning ‘star’, was born in 2005 in South Africa and travelled to North Luangwa as part of an exciting operation to introduce black rhino back into the otherwise poached-out Park. She was very shy and nervous when she first arrived but soon found comfort in staying close to the Park rangers. In 2013 she became the proud mother of a male calf, Kamti.
Julila Named after the mother of Chief Chikwa who reigns over a kingdom in North Luangwa, Julila was born in 2006 in South Africa and was transferred to Zambia with her daughter Twikatane. She was pregnant when she arrived and gave birth to a female calf named Twibukishe meaning ‘We remember’.
Londokeni Londokeni, meaning ‘We are back’, was born in South Africa and travelled to North Luangwa when he was seven. Now aged 12, he is father to many of the calves born in North Luangwa.
See more on page 45 or at www.savetherhino.org/shop
Little Ndaba crochet rhino £15 each Choose your rhino online. Handcrafted using 100% organic cotton. Approx 14cm horn to tail.
19 IDEAL CHRISTMAS GIFT . . . IDEAL CHRISTMAS GIFT . . . IDEAL CHR
HELPING ZIMBABWE’S RHINOS & HUMANS LIVE SIDE BY SIDE
Above: A new village in land previously safeguarded for wildlife; Increased livestock farming is putting pressure on rhino habitat — and bringing predator-livestock conflict Opposite: Forest cut down to make room for crops and livestock. Trees are burned in an attempt to improve soil fertility
Zimbabwe’s Save Valley was once lauded as a huge conservation success story but, since the early 2000s, two factors have led to a crisis for Zimbabwe’s rhinos. The resurgence in poaching, together with the impact of the Land Reform policy, have created competition for resources between humans and wildlife and a threat to the local rhino population. Amidst this backdrop, the Lowveld Rhino Trust’s Great Land Share Project has huge potential to help communities in the Lowveld live harmoniously alongside rhinos and prosper. Katherine Johnston | Save the Rhino, Communications Manager, Save the Rhino Trust
imbabwe is one of most difficult places for rhino conservationists to work. It’s where the current poaching crisis began, before quickly spreading into South Africa. Since 2006, almost 500 rhinos have been poached in Zimbabwe, as Viet Nam’s newly wealthy business elite sent demand for the illicit product through the roof. But another threat has emerged that’s even more challenging for Zimbabwe’s rhinos: systemic habitat loss. Back in 1992, Zimbabwe’s Save Valley was a trailblazer in conservation; and effectively rewilded for rhinos. Before then, the land in a vast area known collectively as the Lowveld Conservancies covering some 755,000 hectares, was used predominantly for cattle ranching. Its semi-arid conditions were much more suitable for wildlife rather than livestock or agricultural farming, and the land was restored by its owners to its natural state. By the 1990s a population of black rhinos had been successfully translocated and made its home in the Conservancy, protected by electric fencing.
Rhino habitat under threat Things changed in 2000. Fast-Track Land Reform policies saw areas previously safeguarded for wildlife suddenly experience unplanned human settlement. Wild land was turned over for low-yield subsistence farming and protective fencing taken down. This has had several unintended consequences. Poaching has increased, in part from organised criminal gangs looking to traffic rhino horn, but also from poaching for bush meat. And with the protective fencing removed, wild animals and humans are much more likely to cross paths, which sadly causes conflict — whether from elephants trampling crops, or predators attacking livestock. The risk of disease transmission from wild animals to livestock is also increased. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has experienced spiralling economic woes, compounded by the withdrawal of international government donors as part of the sanctions regime. Amidst this difficult background it has seen an incredible growth in the rhino populations it monitors. But long-term, rhino monitoring, translocations, and even anti-poaching activities will only go so far. Save the Rhino has continued to support the Lowveld Rhino Trust, but we need people living near rhinos to champion conservation too. That’s why our Christmas Appeal is such an exciting — and challenging — project, and one we hope you will be inspired to support.
ALL IMAGES LOWVELD RHINO TRUST
The Great Land Share Project is an ambitious and innovative pilot scheme led by the Lowveld Rhino Trust, in partnership with the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative and Save the Rhino International. Its aim? To help educate people in the Lowveld living near rhinos so they can learn how to live alongside wildlife, feel the benefits of conservation, improve their livelihoods, and champion their natural heritage. The Great Land Share Project — if successful — has the potential to scale and transform the local economy and safeguard Zimbabwe’s wild spaces, for people and rhinos, for generations to come. To provide education and raise awareness, the initiative will recruit community representatives, called Wildlife Guardians. These will include women, and they will be tasked with sharing knowledge and empowering their local community to use it. When communities learn about conservation and how they can generate income from wildlife — safely and without negatively impacting on the rhino population — then they will start to understand the benefit of protecting wild spaces, and protecting rhinos.
GUARDIAN Help educate the next generation of children living in Save Valley
£250 can pay for a school to take part in a rhino awareness scheme — and help its pupils become little guardians for wildlife
£53 can pay for a school to receive 250 exercise books for their students
MONITORING With community support and protected land, you can help Zimbabwe’s rhino population continue to grow
£63 could pay for a Junior Rhino Monitor’s salary for a week
£15 buys around 18 drums of helicopter fuel
GUARDIAN By sponsoring a Wildlife Guardian, you can help people and rhinos live side by side
£250 To train a Wildlife Guardian on a three-day course
£5 can pay for a training manual for Wildlife Guardians to provide to local people, to help train them on fire management, and livestock protection
Where the money went Each year, we keep detailed records of all the grants we make: where the money came from and how it was allocated. Then we analyse the grants totals by country, by rhino species, by field programme, by strategy and by activity. Viet Nam Cathy Dean | Chief Executive Officer Asian
Species support Miscellaneous species 14.1%
In total, we gave out £1,048,965 to rhino programmes, as well as £15,082 to other charities with whom we partnered for events.African The following analysis relates only to the rhino-related work.
Greater one-horned, Sumatran & Javan 0.8%
Black and White 85.1%
Species support ■■ 85.1%
went specifically to African rhino programmes — black and white
went specifically to Asian rhino programmes — Greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan. Our partner the International Rhino Foundation leads on programme management and fundraising for Asian rhinos, and we do what we can to help fundraise for them without targeting the same donors
remaining 14.1% went towards work in Viet Nam to reduce demand for rhino horn and on investigating the demand for horn in China
Indonesia 0.5% India 0.3% Swaziland 3.1% China 0.3% Zimbabwe 5.6% Uganda 0.1% Zambia 5.9% Kenya 25.3% Africa misc 6.7%
Country support of our grants went to the ‘Big Four’ African rhino range states: Kenya (25.3%), india china Uganga Zimbabwe (5.6%), Namibia (20.7%) and South Africa (11.4%). These are the countries with the biggest populations of black and white rhinos; they are the ‘engine rooms’ of African Country support rhino production. Zimbabwe’s Swazilandrhinos receive substantial support from the International Rhino Foundation and its donors; while South African rhino populations have many donors supporting them, e.g. Peace Parks Foundation, Howard G. Buffett, WWF-South Africa etc. Zimbabwe We do all try to dovetail our support to cover the gaps
also gave substantial grants to field programmes in Tanzania (8%) and Zambia Zambia (5.9%). Although these programmes have smaller populations of rhinos, they have the ecological carrying capacity to hold much larger numbers and could contribute to restocking Misc efforts in future. TheyAfrica both also run excellent black-rhino-focused environmental education programmes targeting schoolchildren and communities in the villages surrounding Mkomazi TanzaniaParks and North Luangwa National
S Africa 11.4%
of our funding went to Viet Nam for behaviour change campaign work with South Africa for Nature-Vietnam, thanks in large part to the UK TRAFFIC in Viet Nam and Education government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund; while 0.2% of our grants went towards researching the demand China for illegal rhino horn VietinNam
Viet Nam 13.9%
■■ As always, by far the
largest proportion of our grants went on basic rhino protection and monitoring (66.1%). It is vital that we secure Kenya the safety of the big rhino populations while longer-term behaviour change campaigns, international cooperation, intelligence-gathering operations etc. take effect
went on demand reduction efforts in Viet Nam and China
of grants went on capacity building: sharing experience Assam and skills between field programmes, in particular the African Rhino Specialist Group meeting, held in February 2016 in Kruger National ParkCaptive breeding
Captive breeding 4.7%
Rhino translocations 0.3% Anti-poaching and monitoring 66.1%
Community conservation 5.1% Capacity building 9.7%
went on community conservation efforts in Zimbabwe and on environmental education programmes: Rafiki wa Faru in Tanzania and Community conservation Lolesha Luangwa in Zambia
building went on captive breeding efforts at the SumatranCapacity Rhino Sanctuary, where a calf was born in May 2016, and on veterinary interventions, including the APLRS’s Emergency Fund and a new vehicle for Etosha National Park’s vet Demand reduction Viet Nam China
■■ The remaining 0.3%
went on rhino translocations to LaokhowaRhino protect Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam
Demand reduction 14.1%
Global horn trade
Mapping the crime EIA map indicates the scale and nature of rhino horn trade As part of a series of visualisations of the illegal wildlife trade, London-based NGO the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) recently released an interactive map of the illegal trade in rhino horn. The map gives an instant insight into the scale of the trade and the nature of the transnational crime networks behind the rhino poaching crisis. Environmental Investigation Agency
In order to present the data in a striking and informative way, EIA used the mapping software CARTO to create an interactive world map. On the EIA website, you can zoom in to click on specific incidents, which will bring up information including the number of horns seized, reported origin and destination of the shipment, transit method, and any related convictions.
The map shows that: ■■Approximately 2,947 kg of horn, equivalent to around 1,060
individual horns, has been seized in a total of 357 incidents in the period 2006 to June 2016. This represents a mere fraction of the actual level of illegal trade in rhino horn ■■At least 267 horns have been stolen from museums,
government-held stockpiles and private homes; these were likely trafficked onto the black market ■■ Few seizures have been openly reported as resulting
in convictions You can find the interactive rhino horn map, along with others covering ivory, tigers and other Asian big cats, pangolins, and helmeted hornbill on the EIA website: eia-international.org/category/maps Data collected by EIA suggests a high degree of involvement of Vietnamese and Chinese nationals across the rhino horn trade, and the map shows that nationals of both countries have been arrested in rhino range states, transit countries and consumer countries during the past decade. For example, in March 2014 three Chinese nationals were arrested at Windhoek Airport in Namibia in possession of 14 horns; a fourth was arrested in May 2015. Vietnamese nationals have been arrested in several African countries, including two arrested in October 2014 in Johannesburg in possession of 41 kg of horn, as well as transit countries such as Qatar, Singapore and the Czech Republic. Overall, EIA’s records document the seizure of 887 kg of rhino horn that was explicitly linked to Viet Nam (30% of total seizures), and 695 kg that was explicitly linked to China (24% of total).
he map includes incidents of seizures and thefts of rhino horn over the past decade, along with convictions relating to the rhino horn trade. EIA collected the data from publicly available sources, including government reports, enforcement agency press releases, and news media in several languages — although it is not an exhaustive data set and likely represents only a fraction of the actual activity for 2006—16.
An animated time-lapse version of the rhino map, also viewable on the EIA website, clearly highlights major trends in the rhino horn trade over the past decade. The animation shows the emergence first of China and soon after of Viet Nam as centres of rhino horn seizures, along with a major concentration in South Africa, particularly around Johannesburg and Kruger National Park. The time-lapse also illustrates the more recent rise of seizures in Namibia and other African countries, along with the escalation of trade in rhino horn in India, which poses a great threat to the small and highly vulnerable remaining populations of greater one-horned rhino. These conclusions are also reflected in a report submitted by IUCN and TRAFFIC to the CITES Secretariat in advance of the 17th Conference of the Parties meeting in September 2016. The report notes the involvement of Vietnamese and Chinese nationals across the rhino horn trade, and recommends that Parties consider adding China to the list of ‘countries of priority attention’ for rhino horn. At CITES, a proposal submitted by Swaziland to allow it to sell rhino horn was rejected by a significant majority. EIA recommends that the global focus now be on intelligence-led enforcement to tackle the organised criminal networks responsible for the poaching crisis. EIA welcomes any additional information or updates on the status of rhino horn cases, and the dataset is available for research and analysis. Please contact charlottedavies@ eia-international.org with any information or requests.
EIA is an international non-governmental organisation committed to combating environmental crime and advocating for effective criminal justice responses to tackle such crime. Since its establishment in 1984, EIA has played a key role in contributing to international and national decision-making in relation to combating environmental crimes such as illegal wildlife trade.
Viet Nam Going undercover and meeting
TCM practitioners in Viet Nam Paul Blackthorne is an actor and director currently starring as Quentin Lance in the hit US TV show Arrow. He spends the majority of the year flying between his home near LA and the TV studios in Vancouver, working long hours on set. Susie Offord-Woolley | Managing Director
o, when he gets a break from filming, you’d expect he would want to spend a couple of weeks relaxing on a beach or visiting friends and family. However, Paul has another great passion in life — rhinos and elephants. When he heard that the vast majority of rhino horn ends up purchased by consumers in Viet Nam, he was driven to do something that would tackle the root cause of the poaching crisis. That’s when he picked up the phone, and called us at Rhino HQ.
In May 2016, Paul, together with Arsenal mid-fielder and fellow rhino ambassador Aaron Ramsey, launched the #SavetheRhinoVietnam t-shirt campaign. Featuring a bespoke design by artist Rob Prior, the t-shirts were a huge hit with our supporters. For the next couple of months, inbetween filming Arrow and his new film Daisy Winters, Paul galvanised his friends, colleagues and fans to support the campaign, with a host of celebrities including Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan, the cast of Arrow, Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and Karen Gillen, Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea football players. All funds raised went directly to our partner NGO in Viet Nam, Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV), and its work tackling the country’s illicit rhino horn trade. Once the filming for the latest season of Arrow had come to an end, Paul jetted off on a 20-hour flight from LA to Hanoi, with a quick pit-stop in London for a pint with friends (once a Brit, always a Brit). Paul was heading to Viet Nam to launch the campaign and generate media interest to put the horn trade firmly on the public agenda. Joined by his godson and video-editing whizz Jake Dudman and myself as Save the Rhino’s Managing Director, we all arrived tired but raring to go. Main: Paul touches down in Hanoi to launch the #Savetherhino vietnam campaign
the day, Paul delivered a fantastic talk at Hanoi’s Thang Long University, one of the wealthiest universities in Viet Nam, and a key training ground for Viet Nam’s future elite; exactly the kind of young people who could, one day, find themselves exposed to the rhino horn trade. Paul spoke about his love of rhinos and how important it is that we need to change the current fashion in rhino horn in Viet Nam. The audience were overwhelmingly supportive of the #SavetheRhinoVietnam campaign, and eager to take selfies with Paul, a theme quickly emerging throughout the trip. Day two brought one of the most eye-opening experiences in the whole trip. Paul travelled to Nhi Khe village, an infamous hub for wildlife trafficking, especially in rhino horn and ivory. Going undercover, with a secret microphone and camera, he posed as a tourist looking to buy rhino horn. The village consists of one main shopping thoroughfare lined with small, family-run shops where grandparents, toddlers, mothers and fathers all sat together near counters that back onto their houses. Many of the items being sold were just wooden carvings but, on closer inspection, there was a substantial amount of ivory — carved into chop sticks, bangles or lucky charms — openly on display. The shopkeepers were quite happy to confirm that the items were ivory. Some bragged that their produce was extremely fresh as, according to their sales pitch, if shining a bright light on ivory produces a red tinge, this shows the elephant’s blood steeped into the product. As disturbing as this was, Paul’s key mission was to see if it was possible to buy rhino horn. Eventually, after
Once in Viet Nam there was no time for rest, or to acclimatise to the intense 90% humidity in Hanoi. On day one, and somewhat jet-lagged, Paul and I met with staff at the British Embassy, and later in
Right: Paul needed some light relief after finding traders in Nhi Khe village openly offering to sell rhino horn
horn for inspection. Once the sale was agreed, they would arrange delivery of the horn to a location in Hanoi, or even ship the product to China. Paul is not the typical customer in Nhi Khe, with its Chinese signs and huge number of Chinese symbol carvings for sale. The village is a well-known attraction for Chinese tourists, begging the question why, if the local authorities are aware of what is happening here, why does the village continue to trade, unchecked, in illegal wildlife parts? Paul, of course, didn’t get far enough to buy rhino horn. After gathering our evidence, we left the traders, and their wares, behind. To clear the air, Paul and Jake grabbed a football, headed to a nearby field and had a quick game of football. If any rhino horn traffickers were watching that day, they might have been slightly confused by the sight of a six-foot British man shopping for rhino horn and then replicating some of Arsenal’s best goals in flip flops and in 90% humidity.
Top to bottom: Paul meets with both business leaders and primary school kids in Hanoi; Paul met with several Ambassadors including the South African ambassador; Paul goes undercover in Nhi Khe village and is offered rhino horn and ivory
After the realisation of how blatant the rhino horn trade is, Paul wanted to understand more about why some people use rhino horn, so we went to meet with Dr Hong, one of the most prominent traditional medicine practitioners in Viet Nam, and also a qualified medical doctor. Dr Hong explained that in traditional medicine there are many plants that have similar healing effects as rhino horn, but rhino horn is the most potent. It is believed that as rhinos eat a lot of different species of vegetation, the healing effects of all these plants are crystallised into their horns. This was held as the key reason why synthetic or biofabricated horn, or even farmed rhino horn, would not be considered to have the same qualities, because the “wild” lifestyle and eating habits is necessary for its power. Dr Hong also dismissed the idea that simply telling people that rhino horn is made of the same material as your fingernails will be effective. Again, this doesn’t change the fundamental belief that the rhino’s diet and lifestyle is inextricably linked to its perceived medicinal properties.
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many enquiries and gentle pushing, several shopkeepers confirmed they could get their hands on rhino horn — but at a high price. Horn was apparently not available on the shop premises but, as evidence that they could fulfil our request, they showed us photos on their mobile phones of fully intact horns, placed on scales to confirm weight. We could either purchase a whole horn, or place an order for a specific carving. Several shopkeepers confirmed that they could phone their cousin/sister/ uncle, who would then bring the rhino
Dr Hong has spoken out against the use of rhino horn on many occasions, so it was interesting when he explained to Paul that he believes rhino horn does have medicinal benefits. He also believes, however, that the brutality of poaching brings enough bad karma to counteract any benefits of using rhino horn; a view he encourages his peers to advocate. Paul is a great actor but he is an even better conservationist. He worked tirelessly each day to raise awareness in new audiences in Viet Nam about the problems of the rhino horn trade. The rest of the trip was a whirlwind of school talks, Arrow fan-club events, meeting local business owners, government officials and Vietnamese celebrities, and many more selfies. This was Paul’s first trip to Viet Nam but he managed to see many sides of the country: the friendly and welcoming people, the complex politics, the delicious food, the buzz of the streets and the thousands of motorbikes, and the difficulties being faced tackling the trade in wildlife products — especially rhino horn.
Paul Blackthorne visited Viet Nam with SRI’s Managing Director Susie Offord-Woolley and ENV’s Quyen Vu. Save the Rhino has supported ENV since 2012. Since launching the campaign, Paul has become a Patron of SRI.
Grants Since November 2015, #SavetheRhino Vietnam campaign raised $21,884 for ENV’s work. In addition to this, since November 2016, we have sent ENV €3,000 from Zoo de la Barben, €9,945 from Zoo-Berlin and Tierpark Berlin, and £6,569 from SRI supporters.
Behaviour change in Hong Kong When I was growing up I always wanted to save animals, whether as a vet or a ranger. I imagined myself being like Tarzan living in the jungle surrounded by animals. The reality is somewhat different: I work in an office in a busy city in England, but the goal is the same: to save animals, specifically rhinos. Susie Offord-Woolley | Managing Director
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wouldn’t have it any other way, because the more I learn about the complexity of the threats facing animals like rhinos, the more I realise that the best way to make conservation successful is to work with people. This can involve raising awareness around the world about the threats against rhinos. It can also take me to the people living alongside rhinos, to ensure that we understand their needs and hopes for their children, and work together to create
anywhere from $10-30 billion. People involved in the illegal wildlife trade have different motivations. Whether due to a need to pay debts, a desire to get rich, or to cure an illness, the reasons are myriad and complex. Undoubtedly, to tackle the trade, enforcement efforts against wildlife crimes need to be increased with tougher sentencing. But equally as important is the need to stop the demand for an illegal product in the first place. Behaviour change — through social-marketing campaigns — has been successfully conducted all over the world; primarily in the health sector (think about drink-drive or anti-smoking campaigns). Changing behaviour, however, is no easy feat and, as we all know, even changing your own behaviour is difficult, and does not come about just by the knowledge that you should. I know I should exercise more, for example, but I still struggle to motivate myself. To stop the global trade in rhino horn, it seems obvious that we need to change the behaviour of consumers, yet this type of social-marketing campaign is still relatively new to the conservation sector. Most conservationists probably grew up wanting to be Tarzan in the jungle, too, and not social marketers, but lessons learned from the sector are proving vital.
Top, right: The workshop pushed participants to work and think in creative ways and to collaborate with each other Below: Successful social marketing campaigns target a clear audience using data and insight
a symbiotic relationship with mutual benefits for wildlife and communities. Or my work can involve changing the minds and behaviour of the people who are driving rhino poaching; the people buying and consuming rhino horn. In my opinion, the latter is the most complex aspect of working with people. The illegal wildlife trade is now the fourthbiggest illegal trade in the world. There are different estimates of its total value, with illegal fishing and logging alone touted at
Over the last few years, work has been done by a number of conservation organisations to promote the use of evidence-based behaviour-change methodologies which put in robust monitoring methods, which can accurately evaluate the campaign’s success. This type of work is far afield from the “awareness raising” campaigns commonly carried out by many NGOs and governments. This year in particular, a ground-breaking three-day Behaviour Change Conference was held in Hong Kong in March 2016, aimed at bringing diverse expertise together to share lessons covering what has — and what hasn’t — worked in this field, and to discuss how we can collectively strengthen approaches and build the conservation sector’s ability to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products. The conference was attended by 100 people from 60 organisations from all around the world and I was lucky
UPDATE . . . UPDATE . . . UPDATE . . . UPDATE . .
The first step in any behaviour-change campaign is to start with reliable information to understand demand: who is doing what, where, how and why, what are their motivations, and what are the barriers that prevent them from changing their behaviour? Unfortunately, collecting data is expensive. Even for species such as rhinos and elephants, on which a relatively large number of social marketing campaigns have been conducted, there are many gaps in knowledge about the root causes of demand; for other, less emblematic species, even less is known. At the conference it was agreed that organisations need to pool data, and make findings publicly available. There was also support for the development of a ‘best practice’ toolkit for practitioners. Case studies of behaviour change campaigns along with the methodologies used were discussed, which included looking at the use of positive vs negative messaging, for example: encouraging businessmen not to buy rhino horn because their natural strength comes from within, vs encouraging people not to buy rhino horn because it means they are damaging the environment. We learned more about tailoring campaigns for different audiences and how best to communicate messages based on your audience’s motivations and aspirations. The conference pushed us to think creatively, taking part in exercises looking at how we would approach three common consumer motivations for buying illegal wildlife products, such as buying as an investment, buying to increase social status and buying for medicinal purposes. Thinking creatively is essential, for example: can other products such as art become a substitute for rhino horn or ivory as a means of displaying wealth? One evening, after a day of workshops, our group of 100 conservationists were let loose onto Hollywood Road in central Hong Kong. We visited dozens of traditional medicine and antiques shops selling ivory, saiga horn and many other wildlife products. It was a stark reminder of the immense challenge we all face. At its close, the conference saw new collaborations established, funding announced, research planned, actions and next steps being agreed. One conference will not stop the illegal wildlife trade by itself. If the 60 organisations in attendance can change the behaviour of illegal wildlife consumers more effectively, and share their knowledge with even more conservationists, I believe it will have an important impact in contributing to winning this battle — a battle that we can’t afford to lose.
A website www.changewildlifeconsumers.org has been created to support organisations working on changing behaviour to reduce consumer demand for illegal wildlife products
The Strength of Chi On World Rhino Day 2014, the Strength of Chi campaign was launched by TRAFFIC in Viet Nam and Save the Rhino International, tackling the demand for illegal rhino horn in Viet Nam. Susie Offord-Woolley | Managing Director
unded by the British Government’s Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the Chi campaign is an evidence-based social marketing campaign aimed at changing the behaviour of the country’s main users of rhino horn. In 2013 TRAFFIC in Viet Nam carried out consumer research, identifying that the main users of rhino horn were wealthy businessmen aged between 35 to 50 living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Using data and insight from this research, TRAFFIC in Viet Nam profiled an archetypal rhino horn consumer: “Mr L.” TRAFFIC
enough to be one of them. It brought together NGOs, academics, social marketers, funders, and government officials from demand countries and many more.
Above, right: Chi messaging has been placed on billboards and at events that would reach Mr L
To reach Mr L., Chi billboards were placed in prominent places near where Mr L. would live, and at tennis courts he would frequent. Chi messaging featured in the magazines he likes to read, and postcards were placed in Viet Nam Airlines’ business lounges. A website was launched to engage Mr L. in more in-depth discussions about Chi and the misperceptions about rhino horn use. Advertising banners were placed on online newspapers popular with businessmen. The campaign has gained high-profile support from many influential Vietnamese people and organisations. A short film featured three famous Vietnamese business leaders publicly pledging zero-tolerance for rhino horn consumption. Other important partners include government departments such as the Ministry of Health and the Central Committee of Propaganda and Education, which controls all media messaging in Viet Nam. The campaign has now reached a large section of our target audience, with initial research showing there is some success in changing rhino horn consumers’ attitudes and behaviour.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent £71,972 from the IWT Challenge Fund and £30,000 from SRI’s supporters and miscellaneous donations to TRAFFIC in Viet Nam for the Strength of Chi campaign.
Events in brief
At the Royal Geographical Society, London, guests heard first-hand about the explorations of Benedict Allen, TV presenter, author, patron of Save the Rhino, named one of Britain’s ‘Great Explorers’ by the Daily Telegraph. The evening also featured an expert rhino panel, including Save the Rhino’s Cathy Dean, giving an update on rhino conservation worldwide. Real Africa is also kindly raising funds for Save the Rhino with its #RealRhinos campaign, which offers the chance to win a luxury Kenyan safari for two including flights and the chance to see rhino conservation first-hand by entering the #RealRhinos raffle at www.justgiving.com/campaigns/ charity/real-africa/realrhinosraffle
The Great Big Rhino Project
The Great Big Rhino Project mass public art event, saw a trail of life-size rhino sculptures take to the streets of south Devon throughout summer 2016, with the rhino sculptures auctioned off on Thursday 3 November 2016 to raise an amazing amount of funds for Save the Rhino’s work protecting Javan and Sumatran rhinos. To find out more please visit www.greatbigrhinos.org.uk
Alice and the woolly rhino On the 10 March 2016, the 14th Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture took a step back in time with Professor Alice Roberts to the dawn of man and the demise of the woolly rhino. For this annual celebration in memory of Douglas Adams and his support for Save the Rhino International and the Environmental Investigation Agency, 300 guests were captivated
by Professor Roberts as she spoke with elegance and wisdom about the history of mankind and who the real ‘Survivors of the Ice Age’ were.
Mystery Dinner Wednesday 23 November 2016
Our eighth annual dinner was a memorable night of fine food, inspirational talks and entertainment overlooking the River Thames. This year’s speakers included: ProducerWriter Arvind Ethan David, an Executive Producer to the upcoming Netflix and BBC America series ‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’; Patrick Morris, multi-award winning Series Producer, Producer and Director at the BBC Natural History Unit; and Joanne Scofield, Producer/Director and Series Editor of documentaries and factual programmes including the incredible BBC documentary ‘Flight of the Rhino’, and Jamie Gaymer and Sam Taylor, rhino conservationists working in Kenya. The night’s speakers kept guests captivated throughout the evening with their interpretation of this year’s ‘Mystery’ theme.
Find out more
about all of these and future events at www.savetherhino.org/events or contact Claudia tel (+44) 020 7357 7474 email email@example.com
3 – 6 November 2016 A big thank you to The Luxury Travel Fair for choosing Save the Rhino as its Official Fair Charity to help raise funds and awareness for all five rhino species. The Luxury Travel Fair hosted travel experts from all corners of the globe at Olympia London. www.luxurytravelfair.com SE STAR | FLICKR
Wednesday 2 November 2016
Real Africa presents
Rhino Mayday What does CITES mean for rhinos? Wednesday 26 October 2016 Over 60 supporters joined us at Imperial College in South Kensington to hear all about what happened at the world’s largest wildlife conference – and what it means for rhinos. How did Swaziland’s proposal to legalise the horn trade fare? Would Viet Nam receive sanctions in light of its poor performance in tackling the illegal trade in rhino horn? These, and many more hot topics in conservation were discussed by our expert panel including Mark Jones from Born Free, Abigail Day from SCI, the Royal Foundation’s Naomi Doak, and EIA’s Vicky Lee and Aron White.
Hampton Court Palace
Emma Baker | Former Events Manager At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the world’s top road cyclists powered 100 miles through London and the surrounding countryside. Launched the following year, the Prudential RideLondon offers something for everyone from the Handcycle Grandprix to the Brompton Cycle World Championship, and the Women’s Classique pro race. Centre-stage is the Prudential Ride LondonSurrey 100; the chance for amateur, lycra-clad enthusiasts to follow in the tyre-tracks of their idols and complete the original 100-mile Olympic course on closed roads.
SE STAR | FLICKR
population of red and fallow deer and countless Strava-addicts! Hitting the halfway mark, you’re transported to London’s local countryside and, surrounded by mature woodland, you enter Surrey. You tackle the “Alps of Surrey”, reaching 294 meter on Leith Hill, and zigzag your way up the hairpin turns of Box Hill. Shooting back into the outer reaches of London, you pass through KingstonUpon-Thames and cross back over the River Thames into the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Finally, pedalling past the Imperial War Museum, you race down the Union Jack-lined Mall, and cross the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace. To celebrate your spectacular achievement, fit for an Olympian, you are awarded one of Ride London’s highly prized finishers’ medals.
If you think you’d like to be part of this exciting adventure in 2017, all you need is a bike, determination and a passion for rhinos. We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch for more information: email Claudia Baxter firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0207 357 7474, or www.savetherhino.org/events
From the start in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the central London sections tick off many of London’s most iconic landmarks: Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Harrods and even Richmond Park, home to a thriving
The largest threeday cycling festival in the world During three days in August, thousands take to the streets of London to celebrate all things cycling. Now in its fifth year, what is RideLondon really all about and why should you get involved?
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Tanzania HUMAN-PROOF FENCES AND HEARTS AND MINDS IN MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK Lucy Fitzjohn Project Administrator, Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary, GAWPT
When the Director of Wildlife first asked Tony Fitzjohn if he could put in place an endangered species programme for the black rhino, there were hardly any rhinos left in Tanzania and none whatsoever left in Mkomazi. The habitat of the Mkomazi National Park / Tsavo National Park ecosystem has a very high carrying capacity for black rhinos (in terms of density), with a rich diversity of favoured food plants. A rhino sanctuary with a 13‑foot electrified and alarmed fence was subsequently constructed and the first founder stock of rhinos had to be sourced and translocated from South Africa as none was available in Tanzania.
his year has marked a new era in our Sanctuary fencing strategy, with excellent advice and practical hands-on support received from a Kenyan-based fencing contractor. Once again, with thanks to Save the Rhino, USFWS and the Lubin Family Foundation, we have been able to start the first stage of a new fencing configuration. We have already fitted new energisers and alarm systems, which have increased the voltage three- to four-fold and have also shown us where shorting is taking place. If our fence is made more “human-proof” (quite a high priority!) by linking wires with droppers and anti-tamper loops, the fence inherently becomes a “mesh” which makes breaking in or out quite a difficult proposition — critical as the poaching threat increases.
The new fencing configuration is ultimately designed to send wireless transmissions back to our base-camp, whereby the fence can be monitored on a large screen in the digital radio system room. Shorts can be determined to within 100 metres and a log is kept on the hard drive of when, and where, the fence is switched off and on again; making for better management and monitoring. The new system will involve complete fence replacement over time — an imperative against the sustained threat of poaching.
Eliska joins the Mkomazi black rhino herd from Dvur Kralove Zoo Over the past 20 years, the rhino population has slowly grown, bolstered by five separate rhino translocations. As well as the two rhino translocations from South Africa, we have been incredibly lucky to have been donated rhinos by both Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic and Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in the UK. In June 2016, Dvur Kralove Zoo donated another female rhino (Eliska) to the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary. It had previously donated three rhinos to Mkomazi in 2009 and the female (Deborah) from that translocation has already had two female calves. DHL very kindly agreed to fly Eliska to Tanzania and an enormous operation of huge logistics ensued, involving over 40 DHL staff and managers. Meanwhile, at Dvur Kralove Zoo, Jiri Hrubry (the Curator of Ungulates) had to start the long process of crate-training Eliska to the right standard. Zoo rhinos are more difficult to transport than wild rhinos as they tend to have a more nervous disposition and although they know people, their life experience in the zoo environment is more limited — change is not easy for them. She had to be able to eat and drink in her crate. She needed to be happy with being boldly approached from behind in her crate, vigorously brushed on her hindquarters and, finally, closed into the crate. Dr Peter Morkel then had to fly to Czech Republic a week before the translocation to get himself acquainted with Eliska and to assure himself that her crate training was at a high-enough level for the huge journey ahead.
Above: Mkomazi National Park’s black rhinos; Left: Eliska was crate trained in preparation for her big move. Below: DHL flew Eliska from the Czech Republic to Tanzania
In Tanzania, all the preparations had to take place for her arrival, including fortifying our holding compounds in the Rhino Sanctuary where she would live at first, and then strengthening fences in her first reintroduction paddock. Rhino trackers were assigned to care for her, and collect plenty of browse to eat. Meanwhile, the authorities at Tanzania National Parks formed a special committee to work on all the paperwork and permits required. Eliska arrived into Kilimanjaro Airport on 27 June and was taken by road to Mkomazi. This was an enormous undertaking for one rhino, but each rhino is so valuable in terms of rhino conservation that such translocations make all the painstaking efforts hugely worthwhile. Eliska is now in her large holding paddock, having undergone two months of slow adjustment to the area and the browse. In the background, supporting major events like this, Save the Rhino are always there, supporting the Rhino Sanctuary right from our beginnings, when our work was only a plan on paper. It was thanks to Save the Rhino and its major funder USFWS that we could employ the first team of casual labourers who helped clear the thick vegetation for what would eventually become the Rhino Sanctuary fence-line. The list of their support goes on over so many years; in the past year alone we have been incredibly fortunate to have received a donation of a multi-purpose vehicle (a Toyota Land Cruiser Double Cab Pick Up) for all the Rhino Sanctuary operations.
NINE YEARS OF RAFIKI WA FARU Our environmental education programme, Rafiki wa Faru, has run extremely successfully since 2008, with a tightly choreographed and focused education programme designed to raise awareness and understanding of the conservation in Mkomazi National Park and the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary. The programme focuses mainly on black rhino but also covers the restoration of the Park’s broader habitat, and the breeding and reintroduction programme for the African wild dog.
Top: Excited school children are bused into the park to see black rhinos Bottom: Pupils learn about the Park’s habitat and meet wildlife rangers
The students’ day out in Mkomazi provides a fascinating experience for them, with much learned on conservation issues and many new topics covered. The majority of them have distinct and poignant memories of their day trip in Mkomazi and they go back home with a strong message about wildlife conservation. Above all, Rafiki wa Faru is a hearts and minds programme: throughout the day in Mkomazi, they are encouraged to respect wildlife and the fragility of endangered species, to be proud of Mkomazi and its rhinos, to aspire to work in wildlife conservation when they are older, and to learn the value of a rhino to their nation. Save the Rhino has supported this wonderful programme since it began in 2008. For all of us in the rhino conservation world, it has been a huge learning curve as we continuously adapt to the increasing poaching threat. We will continue to do as much as we possibly can to protect these species and to maintain established systems which have – so far – proved to be effective. Thank you to all the team at Save the Rhino for supporting this critical work.
ALL IMAGES MKOMAZI RHINO SANCTUARY
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent $13,200 from the Anna Merz Rhino Trust for ranger salaries, $5,000 from the Lubin Family Foundation and $68,702 from USFWS RTCF towards the new fence, and $19,742 from USFWS RTCF and £2,000 from Ales Weiner for Rafiki wa Faru.
The three peaks – as a rhino! On a cold afternoon in October 2015, Liz and I sat huddled together for warmth at the top of a very cloudy Mount Snowdon. Feeling very pleased that we had made it to the summit, we felt enthused enough to chat about the challenges we would like to complete for the year ahead. Looking back now, it is hard to remember who suggested the idea of climbing the mountain – in rhino costume. But things soon escalated and we were suddenly pondering the possibility of conquering the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales – as rhinos. Andy Berry | Save the Rhino community fundraiser
o many people, this might have been an odd thing to be considering, but for Liz and I, it was the perfect fundraiser — exactly what we’d been looking for since completing the London Marathon in rhino costume the previous year. So, with a vague plan in mind, we set about organising a team and, more importantly, ways for raising our target £2,000.
Luckily, two of our close friends (Colin and Andrea) were due to get married in July 2016, and were eager to do something exciting in the run-up to the big day. Although far from fit, they were keen to be our support team and help chauffeur the costumes! We set the date for the first week in June; when there would be lots of daylight and hopefully good weather for hiking. Training commenced immediately. Being experienced marathon runners, we knew we had to put in lots of miles both running and hiking, as well as plenty of weight training in the gym to develop the upperbody strength needed to support the rhino outfits.
ALL IMAGES ANDY BERRY
Our fundraising took many different forms. We were suddenly pondering Sponsorship would only go the possibility of conquering so far — we were aware that the highest mountains in Scotland, just two years previously England and Wales – as rhinos the same people had generously supported our efforts for the London Marathon. Colin, however, works in corporate events for Liverpool Victoria, and so was in a great positionto get companies on board, as well as organising and running a very successful treasure-hunt evening. Liz, who is a rather marvellous baker, managed to raise a fair amount of money through cake and cookie sales at work and for friends. By the end of May, we had already raised almost £2,000, and had ensured that we had set up a Virgin Money Giving page, which we continued to update with our progress throughout the following weeks. As the day approached, with rhinos packed into the car and hiking gear prepared, we set off for the 12-hour drive from Kent to Fort William, Scotland. Unbelievably, we left the rain behind and headed into a heat wave that was to last the entire week. On the morning of the hike to the first peak, Ben Nevis, we all stood in the car park at the bottom of the mountain feeling a little silly and extremely nervous. None of us had ever climbed this mountain as a hiker, so the prospect of climbing it for the first time with 8 kg of rhino, extremely limited vision, lack of movement upwards for our legs and extreme heat, suddenly seemed very real and — just maybe — beyond what we were capable of doing.
Once dressed in the outfits, we reflected on why we were doing such an incredible challenge. Put simply, last year was rubbish for rhinos across the world; poaching was still increasing, with the prospect of no wild rhinos left on the planet in just ten years’ time. That’s why, with added determination, we put our first feet forward and strode on. Ten and half hours later — hiking through two snow fields and scrambling along miles of scree – we had completed the first peak. The next climb, Scafell Pike, turned out to be even more
challenging. Although the weather seemed perfect at the bottom, we were aware that the weather could drastically change half way up. Fortunately, we had enlisted four more friends to join our team; two of whom are rhino keepers at Port Lympne and Howletts Wild Animal Parks in Kent. The eight of us started off in great spirits to begin what we knew would be a steep and quite technical climb. As predicted, the weather changed just a few hours later, and the wind began to bellow along the valley. In fact, the wind was so strong that our helpers had to cling on to us to prevent us being blown off the mountain! For several hours all we could do was keep our heads down, cling onto our outfits, and hope that our support team was navigating the correct path through cloud so thick that visibility was limited to just metres in front of us. When we finally made it to the top, we had to crawl to the summit for fear of being blown away. Relief, and a massive sense of accomplishment, set in once we had descended below the cloud and to relative safety. The entire walk took six and a half hours.
By the third day, Mount Snowdon loomed majestically above us. Rhino versus the mountain, part three. Now, back to the original team of four, we set off without a thought of failure. By this point we knew that more sponsorship had come in and we had raised more than £4,000, twice our original target. Compared to the two previous climbs, this ascent was relatively straightforward; three hours up and another three hours down. More tears came when we completed the challenge, sitting with our outfits enjoying a well-deserved pint. Unbeknown to us, we had plonked ourselves down among a wedding party, and several of the guests were so taken with the cause and what we had done to support it, that they parted with quite a few £20 notes.
Thanks Our heartfelt thanks to loyal supporters Andy and Liz, their support crew and walking companions, and to all those who donated in honour of their Three Peaks Challenge.
Left to right: The rhino on a snowy peak; Andy and Liz get a warm send off from friends; A rhino’s eye view; Getting ready to go; Beginning the Snowdon trail; Liz in costume Main image: Rhinos ascend Snowden
Since then, people have often asked, “What was the best bit of the challenge?” The answer is easy: the generosity and support of the people we met who came from all over the UK and further afield. During the three days’ hiking we raised £500 from people we met along the way who were in awe of what we were trying to do, and more importantly, were fond of the animals that we were trying to help. The comradeship we experienced culminated when we reached the peak, with a spontaneous round of applause and shouts of ‘Go rhino!’ from the 60 or so people watching two rhinos emerge through the snow and cloud. I am not ashamed to say that on quite a few occasions there were two blubbing rhino feeling extremely humble as notes were given to us, and, as happened a couple of times, when young children gave us their pocket money. How could we fail when we had such great support? What a cause, what a charity, what an amazing week. We raised lots of money (£5,000 in total), raised awareness for the plight of the rhino, made lots of friends and now have memories that will stay with us forever.
Helping a blind calf to see & other success stories Life on a rhino conservancy never has a dull moment. 2016 has been no exception here at Ol Jogi, just north of the Equator in Kenya, but fortunately this year we have not been subjected to the tragedy of previous years. Jamie Gaymer | Wildlife and Security Manager, Ol Jogi
ALL IMAGES OL JOGI
ather, we have a number of success stories. Nevertheless, we cannot sit on our laurels and the threat is as imminent as ever. We must forge ahead, invest in our infrastructure, train our men and generally improve our systems.
Main, above: Save the Rhino supporters have helped our rangers reach the next level in training and equipment
Every day, the news tells of another rhino poaching incident across Africa. In fact, at current rates, the norm is about three to four rhinos per day. The best possible way for us to avoid poaching is to be proactive in our strategy, to try to anticipate the unexpected and to stay ahead of the poaching cartels. We must learn from our experience and that of others. In order for us to do this, partnerships are essential. They allow us to share the burden and build capacity with the help of others. Save the Rhino has been a pillar of support for Ol Jogi in years past but also in 2016. Here are a few of the projects that SRI has partnered with Ol Jogi, whether directly or indirectly. On 14 March 2016, a black rhino named Manuela had her first calf on Ol Jogi. On 18 March, just four days later, it was confirmed that the calf was totally blind and needed to be relocated to our rhino enclosures for treatment and care. SRI supports an “Emergency Fund” initiative through the Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries (APLRS), of which Ol Jogi is a member, and — thanks to SRI’s donors — has contributed matching funds towards the relocation, treatment and feeding of the calf. Amazingly, the infection that caused the blindness has gone following the treatment and a few months later the calf continues to regain its eyesight. Eventually, once it can fend for itself, it will be released back into the wild. SRI lent further support, this time from a capacity perspective, in helping Ol Jogi compile various donor grant applications. Irrespective of the outcome, donor grant applications are a laborious task and technical knowhow
is certainly required in order to fulfill the necessary requirements. So far, Ol Jogi has received approval for the following projects: ■ USFW
has approved a grant to transition from an analogue radio network to a digital radio infrastructure at Ol Jogi. This will bring us up to par with other neighbouring rhino conservancies and also possess several technological capabilities that will improve our security significantly. This transition will take place by the end of 2016
Zoo and Tierpark BerlinFriedrichsfelde GmbH have approved a grant to train our frontline rangers. The training is scheduled to take place in October 2016 and is essential both for the survival of our rhinos and indeed, the rangers themselves
SRI has a great understanding of the issues faced in conserving rhinos at the grass-roots level. They are personally familiar with conservancies, individuals and projects throughout Africa and Asia. It is this understanding that ensures 100% of proceeds are invested into the areas that require attention and are of poignant conservation value.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent £20,035 from our Rhino Dog Squad appeal to help pay for Ol Jogi’s canine unit, $75,988 from USFWS RTCF and £2,150 from our core funds for the digital radios, and €8,000 from Berlin Zoo and Tierpark BerlinFriedrichsfelde GmbH for ranger training, as well as a total of £9,600 for the APLRS Emergency Fund, thanks to grants from the Swire Charitable Trust, Marjorie Coote Animal Charity Trust and the Robert Cave Memorial Fund.
Protecting ghosts in the Chyulu Hills In June 2015, several gunshots rang out in the darkness of the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya. Hearts sank and everything stopped as Big Life Foundation rangers worked round the clock with their counterparts from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to find out what had happened. Jeremy Goss | Conservation Project Manager, Big Life Foundation
But without the bodies there was always a chance they were still alive, and that small glimmer of hope recently turned to celebration after a camera trap produced a photograph of Tara and calf, both looking strong and healthy. This story demonstrates how challenging this terrain — home to a small remnant population of black rhino — can be for our rangers. It’s like a lost world; inhospitable and untamed. Every bush has thorns that tear at unclothed pieces of flesh; the volcanic rock underfoot is sharp as razors and eats ranger boots for breakfast. Rhinos living here are completely wild. The population has never been managed in any way; they are true survivors from a time when Africa was without the huge pressures of urban development and rural agriculture. It is the Big Life community rangers, supported by Save the Rhino International, who are the forefront of the fight to protect them. Kipalero Lenkilasi is one of these rangers and, unlike many of his colleagues, he has been lucky enough to see one of these secretive animals. It takes a lot of effort to protect something that you can’t see, and even more dedication. The men working in this area have the latter in spades, and put in huge amounts of the former. Thanks to additional support from the Zoological Society of London, Big Life is increasingly able to recognize our rangers for the work that they do, something which can, too often, go unnoticed by the rest of the world. GPS devices carried by the rangers monitor the time and distance walked on their daily patrols, allowing ranger commanders to more effectively plan their teams’ movements, as well as identify and recognize the best performing rangers. Lenkilasi was the first ranger to receive
this award. He is someone who started off as a staff cook for a field unit, becoming a ranger nine years ago and finally working his way up into a senior leadership position in his unit. Lenkilasi and his peers are doing something extraordinary under highly challenging conditions. They are protecting one of the last free-ranging black rhino populations in Kenya, which although few, are uniquely important.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent the following to Big Life Foundation for its black rhino monitoring and protection work: $5,013 from Gary Slaight in honour of his daughter Chrissy, $5,000 from SRI Inc., £2,000 from Treasure Charitable Trust, £10,000 from Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, £1,755 raised at our Sundowner dinner, £500 from Kiboko Trust and $50,000 from USFWS RTCF.
Left, below: There was huge relief when Tara and her calf were spotted by the camera trap looking strong and healthy
ALL IMAGES BIG LIFE FOUN
he men searched high and low and couldn’t find any carcasses, but nor could they find any sign of the black rhino Tara and her young calf. For three months, the rangers combed her home range, searching for any clues that they were still alive. There was no good news. Time passed and Big Life Foundation slowly and sadly accepted that poachers had likely killed the two.
Below: The Chyulu Hills are a volctanic mountain range in eastern Kenya with fertile lava flows home to rhinos and other wildlife
Winning the battle
Posterity. This is the word most synonymous with worldwide conservation efforts these days. “We must save our wildlife for the generations to come.” “For our children”. These sentiments are as noble as they are necessary.
Sam Taylor | Chief Conservation Officer, Borana Conservancy
t is obvious that the only way that we will stop the illicit trade in wildlife goods is through a strategic, multinational and macro-economic approach that addresses markets and demands. Whether it be through the destruction or control of those markets is open to debate, but fundamentally, this is the only way to stop poaching for good. SRI
Cultural shifts, however, can take generations to effect change. International collaboration is laborious, with different nations each expressing conflicting ideologies as to how best to secure wildlife in the long term. We need to be careful that we don’t focus on a solution that won’t happen overnight when we risk losing our wildlife in the morning because, as I write this post, we don’t have a long-term.
The principal success factor is boots — trusted boots — on the ground. These men monitor the animals, make informed decisions and, ultimately, they either have the power in their hands to keep these animals alive, or aid and abet poachers. Either they feel invested in the task they have before them, or they don’t. Technology should provide additional capacity — but it can never replace them.
Perhaps 100 elephants are slaughtered each day. Simultaneously, up to four While governments and NGOs rhinos will suffer the same deliberate and plan how to end the fate. If current trends continue, illegal wildlife trade, we must focus we have perhaps 10 to 15 years on the tools at our disposal of elephants and rhinos left. If we don’t have a long term then we need to create one. So, while governments and NGOs deliberate and plan how to end the illicit trade decimating our wildlife, we must focus on the tools at our disposal — the tools that grant them the time. We need to win the battle on the frontline in order to win the war.
Rangers are quite literally on the frontline of a war. As a result of growing consumer demand in South East Asia, rhino and elephant poachers have become ever more determined and motivated, using highcalibre assault weapons and sophisticated night-vision to operate at night. Poachers come from an underworld of illegal gunrunners, involved in all facets of guncrimes, including human trafficking and drugs. It has even been suggested in the global media that there are links between revenue from poaching and terrorism organisations.
Right: Sam Taylor at a recent SRI event Main: Rangers are our best asset on the front-line of the poaching crisis. Their job is also the most dangerous
What tools do we have? Technology — certainly, and this is often pushed forward as the method to end the crisis. Drones, cameras, motion sensors: all sexy innovations that donors are desperate to fund. Whilst advanced technology, both for anti-poaching and research, is fantastic; it does not replicate loyal, motivated and trusted men. These are the men who, through constant monitoring and time on the ground with their charges, understand rhinos and their wider habitat — and the communities who live near rhino populations. Rangers make decisions and recommendations based on their own understanding of each individual location and indeed, each animal.
MAIN IMAGE SAM TAYLOR
Those on the ground work long hours in testing and highly dangerous conditions, both day and night, monitoring the whereabouts and status of
Running, riding & kayaking For Rangers
Top-quality but basic equipment ensures that rangers perform their job effectively and at minimal risk to themselves. Investment in the men and women on the ground and their welfare should not be jeopardized by the introduction of, and investment in, technology for technology’s sake. Large sums of money and material gain are associated with the illegal rhino horn and ivory trade, and so a huge amount of trust must be placed in the rangers, who could easily sell inside information as to the whereabouts of both wildlife and fellow rangers and scouts. We firmly believe that investment in the rangers’ welfare, both financially, in terms of equipment and training, and personal investment in each man beyond his professional role, boosts morale and — most importantly — loyalty to the cause.
Thank you for Animal Friends Pet Insurance for generously giving a Christmas gift of £10,000 to Save the Rhino. Through a variety of exciting fundraising activities from Animal Friends Pet Insurance and their employees, they gave an incredible £16,000 in total throughout 2015. www.animalfriends.co.uk
For Rangers is a dedicated group of individuals who are raising money for the welfare of rangers who risk their lives daily to protect Africa’s endangered species. BEYOND THE ULTIMATE
wildlife; armed anti-poaching units are deployed at night when the threat is greatest. Over 1,000 rangers have been killed globally trying to protect what’s left of our wildlife in the last 15 years. Without denigrating the significance of either, these losses are comparable to the number of British soldiers killed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rather than just tell the story, the For Rangers team hope that by taking part in some of the hardest, most challenging ultraevents on the planet, they can draw attention not only to the plight of Africa’s wildlife and the poaching crisis, but to the hardships and dangers rangers are exposed to every day, and in doing so, raise funds that go directly to rangers’ welfare. In April 2015, a five-person For Rangers team ran the infamous “Marathon des Sables”, a gruelling six-day, 250-km multi-stage adventure race through a formidable landscape in one of the world’s most inhospitable climates, the Sahara Desert. In this, our first venture, our runners raised almost $120,000 for rangers’ welfare. As a result, new uniforms, socks, thermal imagers, First Aid equipment and hydration systems were bought for more than 200 armed rangers in the field. Funds were provided towards an anti-poaching vehicle in the Mara and towards snake anti-venom development in Kenya. For Rangers also recently contributed $10,000 to the families of the rangers killed in a recent contact with poachers in Garamba National Park in the Congo. The concept is growing. Aside from individuals running marathons and tough mudders this year, our team consists of nine individuals who ran the infamous 250 km jungle ultra in Peru (above), two ladies riding 1,000 km across Mongolia (above, top) and two men kayaking 1,000 km down the Yukon River. Every cent raised goes directly to the welfare of the men on the frontline of the battle that will buy us the time to win the war to save our wildlife – for posterity.
To support For Rangers please go to www.runningforrangers.com
Kenya The role of the new APLRS Administrator In Kenya, the number of black rhinos had rapidly diminished from around 20,000 in 1970 to fewer than 280 individual animals by the 1980s. Such low numbers risked the survival of the species; scattered across wide geography and struggling to breed. Jamie Gaymer| Chair, Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries
Left: Lincoln Njiru is based in the KWS headquarters in Nairobi but makes frequent trips to the field
Despite some significant successes, many targets had not been met. Poaching continued apace. The key issue identified — and something many of us have experienced — was the difficulty in finding the resources and time to actually implement many of the great ideas included in the Strategy. The challenges facing rhino conservation are many and diverse, but the APLRS hopes to be as dynamic as possible. Membership to the APLRS is mandatory by law for private rhino owners, yet representatives are all full-time employees from their respective conservancies working on the ground for long hours and in tough conditions. Taking forward joint actions can get stalled. Sometimes the unsung heroes in conservation are those helping with office administration, report writing, and helping push through the paperwork and other less glamourous activities that keep organisations and projects ticking over. To help in this respect, we proposed that funds were sought to employ a secretariat or administrator to help with everyone’s workload, and ensure that strategy recommendations become actions on the ground. The KWS supported this idea and the proposed role began to take shape. Financial resources were sought and Save the Rhino and its partner Chester Zoo were able to grant funds to employ
the position until the end of the Strategy term. This also included procurement of basic office equipment in order to facilitate the position and Lincoln Njiru was employed on 1 April 2016. So far, Lincoln has already completed reviews of actions agreed in the Strategy and the most recent APLRS and Rhino Steering Committee meetings. Most importantly, this gives an illustration of actions, actors and timelines that have been accomplished and those pending. He has created a master document that tracks all of this work, and is already enabling each member to see where we are moving ahead, and where we are falling behind. In the next few months, Lincoln will visit all areas covered by his work. We feel that it is important for him to be able to visualise these conservancies, and help him build relationships with our members so he can help get the best out of their work. Assuming its continued success, we hope to formalise the position in the next Strategy, which is due to commence from 1 January 2017. We thank those supporters who have contributed towards establishing this position, and the KWS for allowing a civilian employee to sit in its national office. We look forward to bringing added rigour to our work, continuing collaboration in Kenya, and — most importantly — saving more rhinos.
Grants Our thanks to Chester Zoo for its grant of £5,387 towards the Administrator post, to which we added £6,374 from our own core funds.
JANET & MIKE LYNN
Fast forwarding to the early 2000s, the black rhino population had seen a recovery, but around the corner a new poaching crisis loomed. As escalating poaching took hold, the Kenyan government developed its Conservation and Management Strategy for the Black Rhino in Kenya, 2012–16 (virtually all rhino range states have national five-year plans).
o tackle the looming threat of extinction, the Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries (APLRS) was registered in 1990, with the aim of improving rhino management on private land, and collaboration with the government authorities; the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). New, heavily guarded rhino sanctuaries were established, and the APLRS became a single body for dialogue between the private and government sector.
Championing conservation across zoos
DierenPark Amersfoort, the Netherlands
with Save the Rhino has worked closely ZA-member a large number of EAZA- and BIA g the zoos for over 12 years, recognisin in raising valuable contribution they make conservation. awareness and funds for rhino vide Some of our zoo partners also pro important technical expertise. partners who We would like to thank all our zoo es in Africa have kindly donated to programm partners and Asia. Below is a selection of zoo 0 in the last that have contributed at least €5,00 es, provided 18 months alone and, in many cas long-standing support: Beekse Bergen Safari Park herlands and Stichting Wildlife, the Net ting Beekse Bergen Safari Park and Stich Wildlife kindly donated £1,811.71 in 2015 and €5,000 in 2016 for anti-poaching and monitoring activities in uMkhuze of its keepers also climbed Game Reserve, South Africa. Four £19,000, from which a Mt Kilimanjaro, raising an amazing Sanctuary in Tanzania. grant was made to Mkomazi Rhino Zoo Berlin and TierPark Berliny Friedrichsfelde GmbH, German Zoo Berlin and TierPark Berlinted Friedrichsfelde GmbH generously dona Jogi Ol in ing train er €8,000 towards rang to mobilise Conservancy, Kenya, and €10,000 rhinos. ect prot to n actio take to Nam young people in Viet
Chester Zoo Act for Wildlife, UK £6,212 Chester Zoo Act for Wildlife donated , and India and atra Sum in to protect rhinos the for r rato inist Adm an for £5,387 Association of Private Land Rhino nal black rhino Sanctuaries in Kenya to help the natio also donated Zoo ter strategy in 2015. This year, Ches private- and ss acro hing poac £12,000 to combat rhino a. Keny in ncies erva cons community-owned Wild, UK Colchester Zoo’s Action for the donated Colchester Zoo’s Action for the Wild rangers for t men equip ntial esse for £5,309.41 ms and syste solar for 3 48.2 £5,4 and 2015 in in equipment for the tracker dogs in 2016 a. Afric h Sout , Park Hluhluwe-iMfolozi
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and €6,248 Dublin Zoo kindly donated €5,000 Zimbabwe. t, Trus o Rhin in 2015 to the Lowveld weekend, rhino a ugh thro d raise The team fund ion, as auct t silen a and es raffl s, bake merchandise sales, cake ride. cycle a marathon and well as taking part in the Dublin City
Krefeld Zoo, Germany to Save Zoo Krefeld kindly donated €5,000 hosted a and year this ibia Nam t, Trus o the Rhin s about enes conservation week and raised awar the ting mee yed rhinos. Cathy, our CEO, enjo oo. eld Z Kref at talk team and giving a
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Parc de Lunaret Zoo de Montpellier, France 2015 Parc de Lunaret donated €2,500 in lozi -iMfo luwe and €2,500 in 2016 for Hluh vital their ort supp to a Park, South Afric ities. anti-poaching and monitoring activ
Wilhelma der Zoologischbotanische Garten, Germany Wilhelma Zoo Stuttgart generously donated €10,000 in y, hosted a talk at their o 2015 for the Sumatran Rhin Sanctuar on World Rhino Day. d raise fund and t even ‘Wild Weekends’ Woburn Safari Park, UK Woburn Safari Park raised a fantastic £9,354 for the Rhino Dog Squad campaign in 2015. This year, Woburn held a Rhino Charity Weekend and rve, South Africa by raised £2,300 for uMkhuze Game Rese holding a raffle with and ies baking cakes, selling rhino good their visitors. fundraised for Save One of the Park’s team, Kevin, also Prudential Ride the in team our of the Rhino as part 100. y urre London-S
rts, rting in situ rhino conservation effo If your zoo is interested in suppo .org for more information email josephine@savetherhino 39
Improving technology and building morale SRI
A command and control centre is crucial to any anti-poaching operations in a conservation area. Lewa’s former operations / radio room had served the organisation and the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) community conservancies for more than ten years, acting as the communications hub for a region with a huge radius of more than 300 km. Wanjiku Kinuthia | Communications Officer, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
engineers, communities and law enforcement agencies.
his room, equipped with radios for various functions and control and monitoring screens, traditionally used different technologies to facilitate communications and transfer of information across different groups in Lewa and the NRT landscape. The radio room is where field rangers across Lewa called in to report on rhino and other animal sightings, unusual occurrences, and alert the team when they have found injured or unwell wildlife.
While the new JOC will significantly augment the operations and efficiency of our rangers, on the ground, thanks to the Anna Merz Rhino Trust’s support, we have also been able to greatly improve the morale of the team by upgrading their accommodation. Our rangers now have clean and comfortable rooms, sufficient cooking areas, and better sanitation due to new water tanks and bathroom facilities.
T Top to bottom: New ranger accommodation and ablution blocks, fitted with solar power and rainwater catchment tanks have greatly improved living conditions, while the enhanced Joint Operations Centre aids rhino security
Additionally, rangers patrolling NRT community conservancies called the radio room to report incidents such as road banditry, stock theft, raiding, and elephant poaching. Moreover, Lewa’s neighbouring communities, on sensing potential danger to wildlife from suspect individuals or during cases of human-wildlife conflict, could reach out to the Conservancy through the radio room.
ALL IMAGES LEWA CONSERVANCY UNLESS NOTED
In partnership with USA-based Vulcan Inc., a Paul G. Allen company, and other conservation organisations in the region — including NRT, Save the Elephants and 51 Degrees — Lewa has now evolved its operations room into a Joint Operations Centre (JOC), a communications hub that will not only help oversee wildlife security operations across the vast landscape, but also combine all the technologies used by conservationists in the region to monitor and protect wildlife. The new JOC will enhance the efficiency of anti-poaching operations in the Lewa and NRT areas by creating a centralised and integrated system. All the radio operations, wildlife reports, poaching threats and human-intelligence operations will be fully integrated with technology newly developed by Vulcan. Our new technology will be fully secure, with extremely limited user rights due to the highly sensitive information available. As conservation methods and practices continue to evolve, technology demonstrates its ability to help us protect wildlife, and this new Centre and its possibilities are very exciting. They certainly signal a future of collaboration between conservationists,
Upgrading our team’s standard of living has been a priority for Lewa Conservancy, recognising that little or no success can be achieved if the men and women on the ground are not well taken care of. As a result of a motivated team and many other factors, Lewa has been able to fully protect its rhinos from poachers for the third year in a row — with no successful poaching attempts — and provide support to fellow antipoaching operations across the vast northern Kenya landscape.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent $25,848 from the Anna Merz Rhino Trust to cover the construction costs of a ranger accommodation and ablutions block, and £20,035 from our Rhino Dog Squad appeal for Lewa’s canine unit.
With the help of Save the Rhino International, Borana Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya, has embarked on a massive upgrade of its ranger accommodation. Borana places great emphasis on the welfare of its rangers, who are charged with protecting and monitoring its most valuable asset – the rhinos! Sam Taylor | Chief Conservation Officer, Borana Conservancy
ALL IMAGES SAM TAYLOR
A DAY IN THE LIFE
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A RANGER
day in the life of a ranger is arduous to say the least. A rhino scout may cover upwards of 25 km on foot, through thick bush in testing, hot conditions. Looking after rhino on a day-to-day basis often means looking for rhino. The importance of seeing each animal every day, if possible, cannot be underestimated. Sadly, rhino succumb to more than just poachers; their poor eyesight makes them susceptible to falling down holes and banks; injured or sick rhino go down hill very fast and quick action needs to be taken should they lose condition or eat unpalatable browse (particularly in a new and alien environment); predators are a constant threat — particularly to young; and, of course, when establishing a new population of these animals and trying to boost breeding rates, seeing couplings is of crucial importance to us.
Each day, the patrol scouts set out into their patrol zones. The terrain is vast and diligent tracking is necessary. Each rhino is identifiable by its unique tracks. Subtle differences distinguish this rhino from that, and the men know them well. They may get a helping hand from a supervisor who, with the aid of telemetry points them in the right direction, but tracking on the ground is crucial. They might pick up tracks of poachers. They might find tracks of an encroaching male, in which case it’s possible that there may have been some territorial fighting. Finding that rhino is crucial. Trying to make time to get visuals on each rhino is time consuming but rewarding. Following rhino down the path less trod can lead to exciting and unexpected discoveries. The peripheral scouts are also on patrol. They too are on the lookout for tracks and signs, all the while repairing and measuring fence voltages. Their job is crucial. They are protecting our neighbours and their crops from elephants and their livestock from lions. The fences they maintain also keep our rhino protected. These are the men who are charged with saving a species. The long days and nights they spend in the field are the key to keeping rhino alive. Rhino on Borana are often hard to find and extensive tracking is both mentally and physically draining. Having warm, comfortable accommodation to return to each evening, to rest and recharge is much needed after a long day. Borana has upgraded three scout camps in various corners of the Conservancy, all with lovely new ablution blocks, so as to get a good shower in to wash off the day’s dust. The armed team, which operates almost exclusively at night, also now has a dedicated headquarters separate from the rest of the Conservancy staff. This ensures our nocturnal protectors can get some peace and quiet away from all the noise of daily life on the Conservancy. A kitchen, and mess
Left, below: Thanks to your support we have upgraded rangers’ accommodation
area have also been built so that can get some downtime, but also plan operations discreetly and privately. Borana is hugely grateful to Save the Rhino’s supporters help in funding this critical infrastructure, which helps us look after the men who look after the rhinos!
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent: $20,048 from the Anna Merz Rhino Trust, $5,000 from the Lubin Family Foundation and $78,341 from USFWS RTCF for ranger accommodation; £1,295 raised at our Sundowner dinner auction; $11,875 from donations to SRI Inc.; £7,000 from the estate of Anne Speight; £1,150 from the Kiboko Trust and misc. donations; $20,000 from the Charles Engelhard Foundation; and £10,657 from Sporting Rifle Magazine.
Thank you to Sporting Rifle and their readers for their continued support for Big Game Parks, raising essential funds through its auctions for vital equipment such as bullet-proof vests and bikes, and enabling essential upgrades to remote ranger outposts – including protecting water tanks from elephants and providing elevated roofed sleeping quarters, solar charging units for lighting as well as radio and torch batteries, equipment required for firearms handling, and basic ranger-training courses for 51 rangers and ten police officers from the Operational Support Services Unit. Recently, Sporting Rifle has also provided much appreciated support to Borana Conservancy, too. www.sporting-rifle.com
India LIFE AND DEATH DURING , KAZIRANGA S MONSOON FLOODS Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India, is known worldwide for its population of Greater one-horned rhinos. Spread over an area of 429.93 km2 in the flood plains of Brahmaputra, the Park harbours the world’s largest population of the Asian rhino species Rhinoceros unicornis, with 2,401 individuals making the Park their home in 2015. Whilst annual flooding can decimate The Park’s rhino population; monsoons are also a regenerative seasonal event. Bibhab Talukdar | Chair, Asian Rhino Specialist Group; Asia Rhino Program Coordinator, International Rhino Foundation; Secretary General, Aaranyak
ALL IMAGES BIBHAB TALUKDAR UNLESS NOTED
In the past, adjoining forests of Karbi Anglong and grasslands At the onset of monsoon, of Kaziranga National Park animals in the low-lying southern formed one single ecological boundary start migrating to unit of ideal wildlife habitat with very few human habitations. the Karbi Anglong Hills, while Today, however, the Park has those of the central and northern seen human settlement and tea parts seek shelter in the forested plantations move into its ambit highlands of the Park after a road — National Highway No.37 — was constructed. Some challenges to managing Kaziranga’s rhino population are, sadly, universal. Poaching is an ever-present threat and human populations are increasingly putting pressure on diminishing rhino habitat. But others are unique to this beautiful landscape. In particular, Kaziranga sees annual floods during the monsoon season, with low-lying areas hardest hit. At the onset of monsoon, animals in the low-lying southern boundary start migrating to the Karbi Anglong Hills, while those of the central and northern parts seek shelter in the forested highlands of the Park. Animals, especially deer, living in the river islands along the northern boundary can be washed away by the current of the turbulent Brahmaputra River. Some animals migrating to the Karbi Anglong Hills through the populated villages and across the highway are killed by poachers and fast-moving motor vehicles. However high-profile, such incidents are sporadic. During the flood season, communication between ranger camps and Headquarters becomes very difficult. Some
FABIAN MÜHLBERGER WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY
aziranga’s conservation value was internationally recognised in 1985 when it became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kaziranga represents the single largest protected area within the north east of India to provide long-term viable conservation. Formed by the alluvial deposits of the Brahmaputra river and its smaller tributaries, which carry a great amount of silt during the rainy season every year, the riverine landscape is colonised by Saccharum and other grass species as soon as the landmasses are stabilised over the course of time, silt deposits and the changing course of the Brahmaputra river have formed into beels (water bodies / lakes) of various sizes and depth. This process of erosion and deposition is still going on along the northern boundary of Kaziranga National Park.
camps can be reached by boat by long detours, while others can only be accessed reached with the help of both boat and elephants or only on foot; swimming across the nallahs and other low-lying areas. During such time patrolling is done mainly by boat. Many camps situated in strategic and low-lying areas of the Park are submerged by water during high floods, forcing rangers to vacate their posts. While floods can destroy, their ecological importance needs to be underscored too. The floods bring new nutrients, which rejuvenate the ecosystem and help new grasses to grow .The floods maintain vegetation profile and help in soil formation. The numerous beels and similar water bodies in the Park are replenished by the floodwaters and serve as havens for wildlife, especially migratory birds. Fish use the new floodwater to start breeding and also move out into the main channel of the Brahmaputra River, thereby maintaining the rivers’ fish stocks. However, the increasing intensity of flooding is posing huge challenges to the ecosystem. Every year, large chunks of land on Kaziranga’s northern boundary are washed away by the Brahmaputra River. The points of erosion change according to the River’s varying course. Sometimes areas previously eroded are restored by heavy silt depositions. But the overall trend is worrying: from the early 1900s until 2021, 83,385 km2 of land in Kaziranga has been eroded by the Brahmaputra River, leading to severe losses of wildlife. A continuous process of siltation and invasion of weed species like Eichornia, Mikenia, Mimosa etc., have posed a big problem to the region’s wetlands; integral for survival of the many important fauna such as rhinos, wild buffalo and myriad bird species.
Opposite, top to bottom: Greater one-horned rhinos are semi-aquatic; Annual floods force animals to migrate to higher ground; Calves are particularly vulnerable to losing their mothers during monsoon season; Flooding is not all bad since monsoons help keep the region fertile
Increased human-wildlife competition also plays a role. The inhabitants of villages adjoining the National Park sometimes illegally fish in the numerous beels of the Park, and heavy traffic on National Highway No. 37, as one of the major links connecting the north east to mainland India, often results in road kills, particularly during the flood season. Increasingly, wildlife and livestock are coming into closer contact, risking the transfer of disease. Corridors for migrating wildlife have also been stymied by unregulated construction. This is of prime concern, as Kaziranga has one of the highest concentrations of rhinos per km2 of any rhino range state, with just 0.2 km2 per rhino, compared with a recommended 1 km2 per animal. Even with planned expansions of the Park’s boundaries, this ratio will still be below recommended levels. As the custodian of world’s largest number of Greater one-horned rhino, the Park acts as a major donor site for the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 project to replenish other rhino-bearing areas in Assam by translocating rhinos. So far, Kaziranga has moved eight rhinos to Manas NP and two rhinos to Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary through IRV2020.
The very fact that Kaziranga National Park is the home to the single-largest population of Greater one-horned rhinos makes it attractive to poachers. To combat this threat, the Park authorities are working with a network of intelligence gatherers, usually local villagers or poachers who have turned over a new leaf. To further involve local communities near the Park, its management is focusing on ecodevelopment activities such as eco-tourism. To improve the tracking of poachers who do enter the Park, new vehicles and boats — especially during flooding — have been procured and new watch towers constructed alongside improved accommodation for rangers.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent £911 from West Midland Safari Park, €2,500 from IDEXX, £5,000 from core funds, £500 from Assam Rhinos Cricket Club and £302 in miscellaneous donations.
Thank you to Victor Stationery and its Rhino Stationery for their incredibly generous support in raising more than £68,000 since 2006 to help Save the Rhino in our work to protect all five rhino species across Africa and Asia. www.rhinostationery.com
A 10-year plan for recovery Fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos survive on Earth, restricted now to Sumatra’s Bukit Barisan Selatan (perhaps 24 animals), Gunung Leuser (approximately 24–30 animals), Way Kambas National Parks (perhaps as many as 35 animals), and a tiny handful of animals in central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Susie Ellis, PhD | Executive Director, International Rhino Foundation Kambas, Gunung Leuser, and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Parks) and the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), relative to baseline data from the 2015 Population Viability Analysis (Miller et al., 2015) and confirmed by surveys to take place in 2016–17 ■■ From 2016 to 2025, no additional forest
STEPHEN BELCHER IRFT YABI
cover is lost in rhino habitat, including park lands (including Intensive Protection Zones) and in rhino habitat outside of national parks in Aceh
oaching for horn for use Intensive Protection Zones are meant in traditional to be ‘no go’ zones, where people Asian medicine are not allowed to enter. Such caused the initial decline areas have significantly enhanced of the species, but now security and monitoring populations are primarily threatened by small population effects, human encroachment, the potential for catastrophic events and increasingly, invasive plant species. And, the threat of poaching still looms large. The 2013 estimate of Sumatran rhino numbers, based on surveys and density data, is now down to around 100 from an estimated 413-563 in 1995. A small population was lost from Kerinci Seblat National Park as recently as 2001; in Bukit Barisan Selatan, the range distribution has collapsed with the rhinos occupying no more than 30% of their former area. Only the population in Way Kambas appears to be slowly growing, but that is speculative and needs to be verified by surveys. The 100 remaining Sumatran rhinos are distributed within 10 subpopulations; four of these number only between two and five animals, and none is thought to be larger than 35 individuals (Miller et al., 2015). No population is out of danger. Concerned over the future of the species, over the past one-and-a-half years, stakeholders have convened a series of meetings to develop a ten-year strategic plan for the recovery of the Sumatran rhino in Indonesia, its last stronghold. The meetings were funded by Disney’s Reverse the Decline fund. The plan lays out ambitious goals: ■■ By 2025, Sumatran rhinos will have experienced no
net loss to the meta-population and the population is increasing at the three Intensive Protection Zones (Way
Achieving those goals will involve a range of activities, including developing an alliance for Sumatran rhino conservation that works together to implement the strategy. A first step has been the development of a Sumatran Rhino Consortium, which meets quarterly, either in person or by telephone, to apprise all parties of progress and new developments. The partners are also raising funds to conduct intensive surveys in all the rhino areas. A communications campaign has just been launched with the aim of building a constituency for rhino conservation in Indonesia. The campaign, targeting millennials, was launched by Disney ‘Makers’ visiting the SRS to see Sumatran rhinos, including new calf Delila (‘Gift from God’), pictured above with Ratu. The Makers took lots of photos and recorded videos about rhinos that are posted on Instagram (see links opposite). A critical part of the Sumatran rhino strategy is to continue and amplify protection and to try to reduce threats within the Parks, particularly the potential for poaching and human disturbance. Currently, Rhino Protection Units are operative in Way Kambas and Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park under IRF’s partner Yayasan Badak Indonesia, and in the Gunung Leuser Ecosystem under Forum Konservasi Leuser and the Leuser International Foundation. There is a need for more protection units throughout the rhinos’ range. A fourth component, no less critical, is the need to manage Sumatran rhino
Rhino Goodies populations to optimize breeding and to produce as many babies as possible. This includes a range of activities from expanding the facilities at the SRS, utilising natural breeding and, as appropriate, artificial reproductive techniques, and enlarging the captive programme. It is also essential to monitor populations and translocate animals living in fragmented populations into larger populations or, if animals show a high reproductive potential, moving some individuals to the SRS to increase the programme’s genetic diversity.
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This is a critical time for Sumatran rhinos, and their future will be determined within the next decade. None of the activities laid out in the strategy will be sufficient on its own to recover the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhino. But if we can implement the plan as designed, we have a good shot at beginning to reverse the decline. It’s an allhands-on-deck crisis, requiring cooperation among government and private sectors, NGOs, local people, and utilising a wide variety of disciplinary expertise. Building on lessons learned in the recovery of other rhino species, such as the white and greater one-horned rhino, we know what must be done. Now, we just need the commitment of the Indonesian government and the international community, as well as the funding to implement the strategy.
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Using lessons learned in the conservation of African rhinos, creating Intensive Protection Zones within existing parks will also be critical for the species’ recovery. Intensive Protection Zones are meant to be ‘no go’ zones, where people are not allowed to enter. Such areas have significantly enhanced security and monitoring systems in place, and would allow animals to live undisturbed and unharmed. In addition, the strategy calls for developing and implementing national and landscape level standards and capacity for rhino and forest status monitoring.
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References Makers Links on Instagram: www.instagram.com/p/ BIra04uAooy/?hl=en www.instagram.com/p/BIpTJFegye-/?hl=en www.instagram.com/p/BIo9h__ gZJM/?hl=en www.instagram.com/p/ BIoLmhjAmsN/?hl=en Miller, P.S., Lees, C., Ramono, W., Purwoto, A., Rubianto, A., Sectionov, Talukdar, B., and Ellis, S. (Eds.) 2015. Population Viability Analysis for the Sumatran Rhino in Indonesia. Apple Valley, MN: IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.
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Indonesia Creating space for Sumatran rhinos The Sumatran rhino is arguably the most endangered large mammal on Earth, with fewer than 100 individuals surviving in four fragmented populations on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra and in central Kalimantan, Borneo. Susie Ellis, PhD | Executive Director, International Rhino Foundation
he decline of the species was initially caused by poaching for its horn for use in traditional Asian medicine. Poaching remains a threat today, with the risk of extinction exacerbated by habitat fragmentation, human encroachment, small population effects, and potential natural or human-caused disasters.
Throughout its 25-year history, the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) has supported and managed rhino conservation projects in Africa and Asia. In Indonesia, with our implementing partner, Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI or the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia), we operate a multi-faceted Sumatran Rhino Conservation Programme that includes anti-poaching patrols that protect Sumatran rhinos and their habitat, research on and propagation of the species at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS), and outreach and livelihoods work with local communities.
Thank you to creative agency Twogether for generously providing probono expertise to develop a number of campaigns, including the Rhino Dog Squad, ‘It’s a Rhino!’ for the new arrival Delila the rare Sumatran rhino and Save the Rhino Viet Nam www.wearetwogether.com
There are only 10 Sumatran rhinos in captivity in the world: three nonreproductive animals in Sabah, Malaysia and seven at the 250-acre Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary (SRS) in Indonesia. Decisions concerning management of the Indonesian population are an integral part of discussions among the Sumatran Rhino Consortium, a multi-national stakeholder group that is heavily involved in the species’ recovery strategy in Indonesia.
The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) built and has funded the SRS through our local partner, Yayasan Badak Indonesia (YABI or the Rhino Foundation of Indonesia) since 1996. The SRS is a 250-acre complex located within Way Kambas National Park, where Sumatran rhinos reside in large, natural rainforest habitats and receive state-of-the-art veterinary care and nutrition. The SRS rhinos are part of an intensively managed research and breeding programme that aims to increase the population of captive rhinos as a contribution to the metapopulation management strategy being developed for the species. The SRS currently is at capacity and cannot hold any more animals. Recent meetings of the Sumatran Rhino Consortium have focused on developing a multi-faceted recovery strategy designed to increase the population of Sumatran rhinos. An important part of the recovery strategy is to consolidate animals into two to three populations, and to add more animals to the SRS to augment and maximise current captive breeding efforts. Key to the success of this initiative is the expansion of the current SRS facility so that it can hold more animals. In February 2016, the IRF and YABI developed an SRS Expansion Plan. This includes doubling the Sanctuary’s holding space; building permanent quarantine, maternity and ambassador animal enclosures; improving infrastructure with solar power, energy efficient generators, additional wells, staff and guest quarters, laboratory space, equipment, and other improvements. Partial funding has recently been secured to begin the expansion, and work will begin in early October. If all goes as planned, the facility will have room for at least five more animals by the end of 2017. Achieving our shorter-term goal of expanding the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary will catalyse its longerterm development into a true Centre of Excellence for Sumatran rhino propagation and research, allowing us to more fully understand this enigmatic and magnificent species while further contributing to its long-term survival.
Grants Since November 2015, we have sent €5,000 from Wilhelma Zoo Stuttgart, £1,200 from Horst and Jutta Lubnow, £1,000 from Keith Richardson, £500 from Vijay Rajan, £5,000 in core funds and just over £3,000 from our “It’s a baby” appeal, marking the birth of Delila earlier this year. IRF
OUR THANKS GO TO... We would like to express our warmest thanks to the following individuals, companies and grant-making bodies for their generous support for our work over the last year. We could not achieve all that we do, without the time, goodwill, and financial and pro-bono support of you all. Individuals Julie Addison, Michael Alen-Buckley, Benedict Allen, Clive Anderson, Luis Aneas, Katrina Annan, Anne Anwyl, Spencer Austin, Andrea Axon, Andrea Bailiff-Gush, Michael Banes, Alexandra Barron, Stephen Bason, Julie Bateman, Elizabeth Berry, Rohan Blacker, James Boyd, Graeme Bradstock, Iona Brandt, A J Brear, Stephen Breed, Jane Bristowe, Rachel Britt, Rosalind Britz, Charlie Burrell, Fiona Burrows, Peter Butler, Vanessa Buxton, Giacomo Caleffi, Peter Carr, M J Childs, Michael Colclough, Louis Connor, Susan Considine, Harry Cory Wright, Simon Cox, Ian and Jane Craig, Heather Crawford, James Crosland-Mills, Amy Crowsley, Paul Cuddeford, Rob Cuthbertson, M Darlington, Abigail Day, Irma Debeer, John Densmore, Tamar Di Franco, Naomi Doak, Michael Dobson, Kenneth Donaldson, Karen Donaldson, Nigel Drury, Jake Dudman, Petra and Jacob Ehrnrooth, Victoria Elliott, Sophie Elliott, Georgina Enthoven, Rod Entwistle, Frances Kate Ewer, Jack Fairhurst, Colin Fallon, Fiona Fergson, Kevin Firth, Chase Franklin, Lionel Friedberg, Christopher G Williams, Sarah Gaunt, Kirsty Giles, Benedict Glazier, Abby Gould, David Gower, Luke Grad, Ryan Grant, David Gray, Scott Green, Anthony Gregory, Colin Groves, Alice Gully, Andrew Gush, Keith Hamilton, M Harris, Lois Hastings, Alex Hearn, Ronald Helder, Jonathan Heley, Bryan Hemmings, Rebecca Heywood, Jim Higham, Ines Hillermann, Julian Holden, Trevor Holliday, Tim Holmes, Alan Holroyd, Christopher Howe, Liam Humphries, Mark Hunter, Andrew Jackson, Derek Jackson, David Johnston, Bryony Jones, Mark Jones, F E W Karle, Shelley Keable, Elspeth Keating, Simon Keeping, Nicola Kerridge, Sam Kiley, Ivan Knezovich, Emily Knott, Emma Knott, Magnus Konow, Stuart Kramer, Jason L Savage, Joanne And Chris Lapin Thorpe, Peter Lawrence, William Lear, Vicky Lee, Antonia Leech, Chin Ling, Sam Lipman, Horst Lubnow, Abel Lugar, Catherine MacNaughton, Emily Major, Ian Marshall, Bob Martini, Lucia Mastromauro, Julie Mathers, Colin Mattingley, Patrick Mavros, Steven McGee-Callender, William McKeown, Kyung Mee Min, David Middleton, Tatiana Mountbatten, Jim Mowatt, Caroline Mulvin, Emma-Louise Nicholls, Ed and Polly Nicholson, Andrew P Nisbet, Christopher Noon, Esther Norris, Sara Oakeley, Aaron O’Callaghan, Jonathan O’Donoghue, Bridget O’Keeffe, Vincent O’Neill, Guy Ottewell, Lauren Palmer, Julie Papay, Alexandra and Andy Parker, Russell Pearce, Sandy Perera, John Phaneuf, Venetia Phillips, Juliet Pierrot, Ritchie Piessens, Richard Porter, Samantha Potter, John Punnett, Duncan Purchase, Hilary Puxley, John Pye, Victoria Rees, Katy Revett, David Rice, Keith Richardson, Alice Roberts, Aimie Robinson, John Robinson, Lizzie Roe, Thomas Ropel, Paul Rose, Andrew Rosindell, Andrew Ross, Tangi Salaün, Abi Salmon, Antoinette Sandbach, Edmund Saul, Philip Saxby, Sandra and Josef Schieferl, Bradley Schroder, Gary Scofield, Adam Sebba, Joth Shakerley, Neville Shaw, Elizabeth Sheehan, David Sheldon, Andy Sidwell, Gillian Silverthorn, Christopher Sims, Gary and Chrissy Slaight, H H Smith, Mona Smith, Stuart Spray,
Sasha-Lee Stander, Malcolm and Sue Stathers, Justin Steel, George Stephenson, Henry and Jessica Stratford and Cairns, Peter Sturman, Matthew Sullivan, Nick Sweeney, Peter Taylor, Sam Taylor, Cuan Taylor, Julian Tolan, David and Elizabeth Trevis, Abraham Truter, Hannelie Turner, Andy Ure, Tristan Vince, Edward Walker, David Walsh, Carli Watson, Ales Weiner, Berry White, Aron White, Frithiof Wilhelmsen, Nick Williams, Elizabeth Winton, Andrea Yancey, David Yarrow, John Zurbriggen
Companies, charities, trusts and foundations and other grant-making organisations Aardvark Safaris, Alex Rhind Design, Animal Friends Pet Insurance, Anna Merz Rhino Trust, Artillery, Aspinall Foundation, Assam Rhinos Cricket Club, Baxter Hoare Travel Ltd, BBC Radio 4 Appeal, Berlin Zoo, Bioparc Valencia, Black Rhino Wheels, Blair Drummond Safari Park, Borås Djurpark, Bright Spot Fundraising, Bytes Software Service, Chester Zoo, Colchester Zoo Action for the Wild, Condé Nast Traveller presents The Luxury Travel Fair, Cotswold Wildlife Park, Darwin Initiative, Dierenpark Amersfoort, Disney Conservation Fund, Dublin Zoo, EAZA, Ecko Unltd 72 Fragrance, Enzemvelo KZN Wildlife, Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust, Expert Africa, Folly Farm, For Rangers, Fundacion Parques Reunidos, Gameloft, Gaucho Productions, George Cadbury Fund, Glen and Bobbie Ceiley Foundation, Google, Hamilton Zoo, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hip Hideouts, Holmes Wood, ICAP, IDEXX GmbH, Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, International Elephant Foundation, International Rhino Foundation, International Rhino Keepers’ Association, Investec, Jacksonville Zoological Gardens, JO Sims Ltd, JWK Solicitors, Kiboko Trust, Kinetic Six Ltd, Knowsley Safari Park, Knuthenborg Safari Park, London Speaker Bureau, Longleat Safari Park, Mahlatini Luxury Travel, Marjorie Coote Animal Charity Trust, Mark Coreth Sculpture Club, MEC Global, Microgaming, NCM Fund Services Limited, OAMC , Ol Jogi Ltd, Opel Zoo, Paignton Zoo, Parc de Lunaret — Zoo de Montpellier, PAT, Real Africa, Rhino Aluminium, Rhino Fund Uganda, Rhino Rails, rhino’s energy international GmbH, Roland Michener School, Saffery Champness Chartered Accountants, Save the Elephants, Save the Rhino Inc, Saville & Co., SEA LIFE: London Aquarium, Secret Me, See.Saw, Simon Gibson Charitable Trust, Sporting Rifle, Steppes Travel, Steve and Ann Toon Photography, Stichting Wildlife, Swire Charitable Trust, The Children’s School, Atlanta, The London Speaker Bureau, The Rogue Gentlemen, The Safari Store, Tierpark Berlin-Friedrichsfelde GmbH, Treasure Charitable Trust, Twogether Creative Limited, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Victor Stationery, West Midland Safari Park, Wildlife Worldwide, Woburn Safari Park, World Odyssey Ltd, WWF-Eastern Africa Programme Office, Zoo Aquarium Madrid, Zoo de la Barben, Zoo de la Boissière du Doré, Zoo du Bassin d’Arcachon, Zoo Krefeld, Zoo Salzburg, Zoo Zlin, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Zoologisch-Botanischer Garten Wilhelma (Stuttgart), ZS East Anglia Africa Alive (Banham Zoo and Africa Alive), Robert Cave Memorial Fund.
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Published on Nov 23, 2016
Learn about the day in the life of a rhino ranger, find out how Hollywood star Paul Blackthorne uncovered rhino horn for sale in Viet Nam, a...