Rhinoceros are not just animals of savannah and desert as we established in the first two installments of this series (Pt. 1, Pt. 2).
These great animals inhabit moist forest and even highland areas in Africa and in Asia, most of the remnant rhino populations are in dense forest or mountainous areas.
African rhinos get a fair amount of mainstream wildlife coverage but their cousins in Asia get almost none which was a big inspiration for me to do this series.
The Javan and Sumatran rhinos are as on the edge of extinction as any animal on the planet, but not everything in Asia is bad.
In fact, in India, there has been quite a turnaround in the population of Indian or one-horned rhinos according to officials with the World Wildlife Fund.
Both range countries, India and Nepal, have been very successful in expanding greater one-horned rhino numbers from around 200 individuals at the turn of the 20th century to a total of around 3,500 today.
Vigorous anti-poaching patrols and successful translocations from one area to another has brought the species back from the brink of extinction.
In Africa, rhino farming has been extremely successful in South Africa and hunter-based iniatives including “green hunting” where rhinos are darted and sperm is collected to artifiically insimiate rhinos in other areas have proven successful especially for white rhinos.
But the situation is very serious out there on the poaching end. The Asian demand has not ceased. Here are a few standouts to show how much effort it takes to keep rhinos in existence.
*Zoo Poaching: A rhino was poached for its horns at a zoo in France in 2016. “Rhino poaching has historically targeted wild populations,” said Dr. Susie Ellis, Executive Director of the International Rhino Foundation in a 2016 news release.
“This is the first such known poaching incident at a zoo. Criminal networks fairly recently began targeting museum specimens in Europe. Zoos, as living museums, now are also at risk. In response to the Paris rhino killing, we urge all zoological facilities to take serious measures to keep their rhinos safe.”
Terror Cells: It is believed major poaching syndicates are in league with terror groups using funds from rhino horns and ivory to help fund their activities. If you think dealing with poachers is bad, think about it being tied in with terrorists.
Assasinations: Lt-Col Leroy Bruwer, 49, a top rhino poaching ring investigator died in a hail of bullets in Mbombela on the R37 connecting Mbombela and Lydenburg March 18, 2020.
The people protecting rhinos and working for their conservation are doing incredible work and deserve our prayers and support both in awareness-raising and finances.
Below are some groups doing great work for rhinos.
International Rhino Foundation
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