2005/6 EAZA Save the Rhino
As you read this, four of the five species of rhino are classified as Critically Endangered: in other words, they are facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Save the Rhinos, the EAZA Rhino Campaign, was an excellent opportunity for European zoos and aquaria to contribute to the survival of these animals.
The news in 2005 of the likely extinction of the Northern white rhino and a dramatic reduction in the number of rhinos in Nepal, highlight how vulnerable rhinos across their range continue to be. However, whilst these are tragic events, there is encouraging news in many rhino range states. What is very apparent is that rhinos, wherever they exist, will be vulnerable to environmental change, whether it be human-induced or natural, and to hunting pressure as it seems that the demand for rhino horn will always be with us.
Three main campaign targets
- Increase public awareness of the desperate need for action to save rhinos in the wild
- Education focussing on rhino behaviour, ecology, morphology etc.
- Support conservation projects in rhino range countries (fundraising goal €350,000)
Where will the money go?
The need for money for in situ rhino conservation projects is enormous: Save the Rhinos received over 50 requests for support totalling up to 2.6 million euros. The fundraising goal for the campaign was set at € 350.000. Therefore a selection was made and thirteen projects targeted initially for Save the Rhinos support. The projects were chosen to cover the whole range of rhino conservation; for all five species of rhino, in different range countries and focussing on different aspects (e.g. translocations, anti-poaching, monitoring, community-based conservation, environmental education or research). If the target is reached, eight additional projects are on the waiting list that will receive support if more money is raised. The thirteen selected projects were:
- Rhino monitoring equipment for Kenyan National Parks
- Environmental education programme at the Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Kenya
- Re-establishment of black rhino, Zambia
- Lifting crane for rhino capture truck, Zimbabwe
- Rhino translocation equipment, Namibia
- HGR EAZA rhino security equipment, South Africa
- Rhino horn-fingerprinting project
- Combating the illegal trade in and demand for rhino horn in Yemen
- Indian rhino vision 2020
- Rhino Protection Units for Javan and Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia
- Establishment of two additional rhino protection units, Sabah, Malaysia
- Enhanced community outreach programme, Sabah, Malaysia