Conservation of black rhinos

 

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A few weeks ago I watched a TV program on the conservation of black rhinos which I found really interesting as I feel very strongly about rhino poaching. Currently a rhino is killed every 13 hours for it’s horn which is believed to have healing properties (which there is no scientific evidence to support). Black rhino are particularly a concern as their population has dropped by 70 per cent in the last six years and is now so low that the species is facing extinction. So far the intensive conservation methods have increased the number of black rhinos from it’s lowest point, 2410, up to 4880. However this is a difficult battle as the rhinos are constantly threatened by poachers.

6WAZ_9993The documentary (flight of the rhino) followed the work of a conservation scheme which is a part of the WWF South Africa Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP). This project moved rhinos from Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in South Africa to a secret location which used to be home to many rhinos. This involved selecting a range of different rhinos, such as young rhinos as well as mothers and calves, to create a new population of rhinos in this area and to reduce pressure of large numbers in one area.

However movement of these rhinos was difficult as rhinos weigh around 2,400 pounds and live in some very remote areas. Therefore one of the techniques which the team developed was lifting the rhinos with a helicopter whilst they were tranquilised. This transportation would only last for around 20 minutes as the rhino cannot be monitored during this time, so any complications would be much more serious. Then the rhino could be loaded into a crate in a more civilised area for the next stage of it’s journey to the secret location. They would then walk the rhino out of the crate and then leave it to recover fully completely on it’s own.article-2240401-164AA36B000005DC-597_964x475

The importance of rhino conservation was recently also emphasised by the BBC’s Africa program where we were shown an insight into rhinos socialising. The rhinos, which people have always seen as very anti-social animals, were found to actually be gathering every night and enjoying the company of one another. So this new image of the rhino as a sentive animal which has lots of character conflicts even more with the brutal way many of them are destroyed by poachers.

Sblackrhinoo far the BRREP has created eight new black rhino populations in South Africa, which required nearly 130 black rhino being translocated to achieve. To date over 40 calves have been born on project sites and only 3 rhinos have been poached from these secure sites. So hopefully there is a future for the black rhino in Africa. But we still need to all keep trying our best to get rid of the main problem – the poaching – as the suffering and loss it has, and continues, to bring to rhinos is not something we should tolerate.

Thanks for reading!

Anna

 

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